Parents and principals are welcoming a state change to uniform policy which will include an option for girls to wear shorts and pants.
While several Orange schools already give girls the option, parent Hilary Smith said she backed the decision to outlaw a skirts-only policy in public schools.
“It’s an important decision – they (her daughters) were wearing the same dress I wore and the same dress my mum wore and I don’t think we’re living in that era anymore,” she said.
“If we want our kids to be active and healthy we need to encourage the clothes for them to do so.”
Introduced this term, the new policy requires all public schools to include items which are affordable, comfortable and made from easy to care fabrics.
Ms Smith said she was really impressed with the work the national Girls’ Uniform Agenda did at lobbying for the changes.
“I think it’s important to stand up for something you believe in, especially if it’s something that is plainly right and essential in our modern world,” she said.
“Girls should have the option to dress just the same way boys do.”
Bletchington Primary School principal Craig Booth said while he supports the decision, he is conscious of the extra cost that could be incurred by parents.
“It’s a good move from the department [NSW Department of Education],” he said. “Having said that I’m very conscious of the changes we’ve already made to uniforms recently.”
Mr Booth said the school uniform has already had three updates in the past two years including a new sports uniform, a change to the winter jumper and a new winter coat.
He said female students already wore shorts sometimes which he didn’t “come down too hard” on.
“We support equity for girls,” Mr Booth said.
He said the next step for Bletchington was to consult with parents with an aim to start the process of change in term four.
While it does not fit under the public school framework, Orange Christian School will also introduce shorts for girls in term four.
Public school parents will be given a three-year grace period between change notification and enforcement, when it comes to more costly items.
Education Minister Rob Stokes said the government recognised families buy items to last several years, so the notification period had been increased from the previous policy to prevent them being caught out.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said affordability for parents was a primary concern.
“For families we know every dollar counts and we want to do everything possible to drive down cost of living pressures,” she said.