Queensland schoolgirls will have the choice to wear shorts or pants at state schools from next year following an overhaul of uniform policy.
State education minister Grace Grace announced changes to the student dress code on Sunday following a review which found 40% of government schools in Queensland required girls to wear dresses.
“We know around 60% of state schools are already offering these uniform options for girls, but we found that some schools had not updated their student dress codes in many years,” Grace said.
“All Queensland girls should be able to engage in active play and classroom activities or ride their bikes to and from school without being restricted by what they’re wearing.
“At the beginning of the year, I heard loud and clear from students, parents and carers that it was time for a change to reflect community expectations.
“I asked the department to update the uniform policy to ensure we have 100% of state schools offering the full range of options, including pants and shorts for girls.”
The change to the state’s dress code rules follow similar changes in Western Australia and Victoria last year. In New South Wales individual schools are responsible for setting uniform policy.
Research on girls’ activity levels and school uniforms has shown they did less physical activity and play at school when wearing a dress or skirt.
A 2012 study by the University of Wollongong found girls deliberately sat out lunchtime games because they were worried about their skirts flying up.
The executive principal of Stretton state college Jan Maresca has already introduced changes to the school’s uniform policy to include greater choice for girls.
“Following consultation with our whole school community, we found that around half of our primary school girls did not want to wear a skirt to school,” Ms Maresca said.
“We listened to our girls and made changes so they can be comfortable in their uniforms.
“Come into our school now and you’ll see girls kicking a football, playing handball, lying under tree reading a book and hanging from monkey bars unrestricted.
“The changes to our dress code have been fully supported by our school community and the girls themselves were heavily involved in the process.”