When I was at junior school, although we had a uniform, shoes were practical and comfortable, with black plimsolls (or daps) for games.
We could wear lace ups, buckles, or slip ons, and at one stage I wore a bright red pair of patent leather shoes for almost a term and the teachers didn’t bat an eye. In the winter, we were also allowed to wear fur lined boots rather than wellies.
At grammar, it was a little different.
We had a Summer and Winter uniform plus a PE kit (grey flannelette shorts which rubbed your legs raw if you were chubby, a yellow shirt, black plimsolls for gym, athletics and netball, white plimsolls for tennis, and full hobnail hockey boots for the Game of Sticks).
The school had its own outdoor swimming pool, 50m by 25m with a deep end of 4 feet, so for that, we had to have a black one piece costume with a yellow cap which made me look like some species of deformed bumble bee!
Shoes were ‘regulation’ and like our uniform, only available from one outlet.
In fact, they had a list of what style Winter or Summer shoes (black or brown) were reserved for The Grammar School girls !
My parents never had a lot of money, but they NEVER skimped on shoes for us kids.
We were measured for each new pair and my Dad showed me how to clean and polish them so that they always looked smart, would keep my feet dry, and more importantly, would last until I grew out of them.
The above are styles that would have been acceptable. Big choice eh?
Times have certainly changed, but perhaps this is going just a little too far? (link)
Now I can agree that flip flops, heels, and open toe sandals are not a good idea for school footwear, but trainers?
There are some pretty robust and sensible style trainers available, as well as slip ons or shoes with straps that have velcro fittings instead of buckles.
And we mustn’t forget cost.
Shoes are dear enough for adults, but kids shoes can be horrendously expensive, and having to shod just one child is difficult on a low income, so imagine a family with 2 or more kids all needing shoes at the same time.
It is only natural then that parents will be looking for value for money, practicality and that all important growing room for young developing bones.
Yes, it would be nice for schools to encourage our young people to take a pride in themselves and their attire, but to go to the extreme of sending them home for wearing ‘the wrong shoes?’
That only promotes negativity in my book, that and being singled out as a potential target for bullying.
I remember reading something years ago about the introduction of a dress code for pupils who rebelled about wearing a uniform. It was decided that Black and White would be their primary colours, but it was up to the individual what they actually wore. It worked anyway.
So why not have something similar for shoes Mr Headmaster?
The article says your uniform policy is for Black Leather Shoes.
Something in black leather which is affordable, practical and comfortable, with girls having heels of no more than an inch.
Unless of course you are personally prepared to subsidise those families who cannot afford the designs you wish to promote.