Blue Socks - The School Uniform Debate

Your Voice

This page looks at the pamphlet "Children have rights: no.1 Children in schools", published by the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) in 1970.  According to the first extract (top left image), it was unheard of for students to be consulted when it came to writing school rules.  The idea that children and young people should have a say at school and in other areas of life was still quite radical.  The NCCL was amongst those trying to change attitudes towards, and laws about, children's rights.  The Blue Socks case reveals that it was also a radical idea for parents in the 1970s to have any right to challenge a school or to have a say in how it was run.


Do you think that school students should work with staff in writing school rules?

Should you be able to have a voice in the way your school operates?

Read the second extract on Personal Appearance and Clothing (bottom left image). 

This tells us that boys at a certain school are being fined for having the “skinhead” style haircut. It also tells us that parents are required to sign a form of consent, stating that regulations regarding uniform are adhered to.


Do you agree with the statement that the headmaster makes that the “skinhead” haircut signifies anti-social behaviour?

Should everyone who has this haircut be tarred with the same brush?


Read the extract about Corporal Punishment (top right image).
School students in the 1960s and 1970s were still subject to Corporal Punishment for breaking rules. This often meant being beaten or caned as a punishment. The student in the above article refused to be caned.


Do you think the student was right to resist the punishment?

Would you like to see corporal punishment brought back into schools in Britain?

Throughout this learning journey we have seen cases where students have come under attack for breaking rules, in some cases in very minor ways. In the 1970s there appeared to be no way for the students to have a say in school. It appears that it was the press that eventually gave them a chance to express what they (and their parents) thought about the rules and their school’s conduct.

How do you think students like yourselves have “a voice” in the early 21st century?

Does it matter if students are not listened to?

Document icon Learning article provided by: Hull History Centre | 
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