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School's U-turn on PE uniform amid revealing leggings row at Goodwin Academy in Deal

A school has withdrawn new guidance on what girls should wear to PE lessons after being criticised over its requests to cover up.

Emails went to parents at Goodwin Academy in Deal on the last day of term telling them that those pupils who wear uniform leggings must also wear shorts or a skort - a skirt/short garment skirt and shorts - over the top.

Goodwin Academy in Hamilton Road, Deal
Goodwin Academy in Hamilton Road, Deal

The letter did not elaborate on the reasons behind the decision but it has since emerged this was because the uniform leggings were see-through on some wearers.

One mum, who emailed the school for answers as soon as she received the email, still has not heard back with reasons for the change.

She said: "Other parents have gone to or called the school regarding this and have been told verbally that it is to keep girls covered. I was hoping to have an email response back from the school before contacting the press but they seem to not want to put it in writing."

Another mum went to social media and said: "Could someone please tell me how wearing a black pair of leggings for PE at Goodwin affects them from doing PE? The school is a joke. Inconsistent rules to suit them. Fuming."

But yesterday (Wednesday) the school did a U-turn, with a spokesman telling KentOnline: "We are always keen to listen to parents’ and students’ constructive views.

"We are always keen to listen to parents’ and students’ constructive views..."

"As a result, we are happy to allow students to wear leggings without a skort, skirt or shorts for the time being, while we work with the uniform supplier to address the issues raised.”

One of the parents who contacted us said her objection was because the school leggings, worn on their own, had not been a problem for the three years her daughter has attended the school.

She added: "Girls should not be made to feel that how they are dressed (in something like school uniform leggings) is wrong or that because other people were finding them distracting it was their fault.

"They should be educated in respecting each other and appropriate behaviour, not punish the girls, especially in these temperatures, making them wear an additional item of clothing, especially for PE."

Girls are historically more reluctant to engage in school sports.

Goodwin Academy principal Simon Smith
Goodwin Academy principal Simon Smith

According to the Girls Active Survey by the Youth Sports Trust, girls identified low confidence and a dislike of being watched as significant barriers to doing PE at school, particularly in the 14-16 age group.

The 2016 study also identified menstration and 'not being good at it' as reasons they dread it.

The survey, published in 2017, surveyed more than 26,000 boys and girls from 138 secondary schools in England and Northern Ireland which had signed up to the Girls Active programme.

Goodwin Academy has invested heavily in sporting facilities at the Hamilton Road school.

Its prospectus says it has a sports hall, a fitness studio, dance studio and 4G Astroturf pitch.

Covid regulations mean that the changing rooms cannot be used until regulations are lifted, so pupils are attending school in PE uniform on the days they have fitness lessons.

Read more: All the latest news from Deal

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