No school uniform and pupils call teachers by their first name

(49 Posts)
rumtumtugger Mon 04-Mar-13 13:31:13

We've put an offer in on a house that's in the catchment area for a good school that's very popular with the local parents. I think one of the reasons for its popularity is it is seen as a learning environment that suits creative children - no school uniforms, teachers are called by their first names.

DH and I are a bit more traditional in our thinking - I would prefer dd to go to a school that is a bit more formal and structured. We're not artists or musicians and I don't think dd's interests lean that way - she seems pretty academic.

Please tell me about your experiences (positive or negative) of informal schools and how your child has fared at one.

MammaMedusa Mon 04-Mar-13 13:33:31

I went to a school that combined no uniform and first names with being academic. They don't wear uniforms at Oxford!

I think you need to find out more about the school before you jump to any conclusions.

OutsideOverThere Mon 04-Mar-13 13:36:14

Oh God I want a school like this. Can you say roughly where you are? Don't worry if you prefer not smile

mimbleandlittlemy Mon 04-Mar-13 13:42:28

My nieces went to a primary school in east London and it was like this. Both went on to get 12 A* GCSEs each and 4 A* A levels each (from the non-uniform but slightly more structured comp they went on to in Islington) and they are both at Russell Group unis so it obviously didn't do them any harm!!

rumtumtugger Mon 04-Mar-13 13:47:01

It's East London...!

sanam2010 Mon 04-Mar-13 13:47:58

Sounds great to me! UK is one of the very few countries in Europe with a school uniform anyway. There are more and more schools like the one you describe. If the academic results are good I wouldn't have any concerns.

claraschu Mon 04-Mar-13 13:48:19

My son transferred to a school like this in year 11. He was so relieved to be treated in a more grown up way (and he has all the A*s and offers from Oxford, etc.to prove that the school was academically up to snuff).

He had much more respect for teachers who weren't constantly fussing about uniforms and wanting to be called "Sir".

rumtumtugger Mon 04-Mar-13 13:53:53

Good experiences so far, that's great. The results are ok/good, and getting better - there's a new executive principal in place who seems to be improving things. I worry about the transition to secondary - won't it be even more overwhelming if she suddenly has to wear uniform and call the teachers by their first names?

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 04-Mar-13 13:55:42

I worked in a school with no uniforms and first names for staff, I was very nervous about it before I started but soon realised that respect and a love for learning is not based on what children wear or how they address the teaching staff.

MarthasHarbour Mon 04-Mar-13 13:57:29

Not at all OP. I went to primary school in the 70s and we didnt wear school uniform. It just made it all the more exciting when we went to Middle school (tertiary system in NE england) and started wearing our uniforms. It made us feel more grown up.

I think primary school uniforms is a fairly modern (ie in the last 30 years) thing. Although we did call our teachers by Mrs/Miss/Mr

claraschu Mon 04-Mar-13 13:57:40

I don't think it will be an issue at all. In Holland, primary schools are usually first name basis and secondary often use last names.
I wouldn't give it another thought-

catinhat Mon 04-Mar-13 13:57:49

I went to primary school like the one described. We did the most amazingly creative stuff and learned tons. I was so happy at the school. Unfortunately, we then moved house and I had to go to a really old fashioned school where we learned nothing!

I am academic, studied engineering at Oxford.

I would like to think I'm a bit creative still!

catinhat Mon 04-Mar-13 13:59:49

to add

Secondary school was very strict on stuff like uniforms - thought it was boring.

Then went to a wonderful sixth form college with no uniforms and that was great. We loved our teachers and respected them much because they didn't woffle on about things like uniforms.

We could concentrate on work because there was nothing to rebel against!

Startail Mon 04-Mar-13 14:03:42

DD1 said they got 25 minutes more teaching on non uniform day.

HT is having a crack down and every lesson starts with wasting 5 minutes on ties, black shoes and skirt lengths.

It makes no odds, it's an ordinary comp, the DCs aren't ever going to do perfect.

Paleodad Mon 04-Mar-13 14:10:15

School uniform has never made any sense to me, i'm sure it's some sort of conspiracy to get parents to buy more yet clothes that will never get worn out.

On the other hand, our PTA meetings would only last about 10 minutes without the constant discussion of uniform suppliers, second-hand uniform sales etc. etc.

As for calling teachers by their surnames and titles: it all seems a bit Dickensian to me. Why do we still have this tradition, and what purpose does it serve?

FWIW this school sounds great!

Levantine Mon 04-Mar-13 14:14:43

Very few state primary schools in London had uniforms when I was at school in the seventies so yes, it is relatively new. My ds is at a school like that at the moment - it is a great school

Blu Mon 04-Mar-13 14:17:35

DS was at a non-uniform, first name school, and our experience could not have been better.

The discipline within the school was brilliant, and roundly praised in successive ofsted reports. The clothing / first names ethos was in support (I think) of mutual respect between all staff and pupils, and between pupils. The motto was 'one big happy family'. The school did lots of things to support this idea - lots of situations in which older children were partnered with younger to help them, excellent policies around bullying (there was none - a few incidents where children were picked on were sorted out immediately - and the Head used assemblies to publicly praise children who had stuck up for children being picked on. Without naming names of victom or the incident).

All this was backed up by a non-nonsense and consistent range of expectations and sanctions for beaking them. It was a caring nurturing school but also strict.

If your children manage to obey you and behave well while wearing a T Shirt and jeans, and call you Mummy rather than Mrs Tugger, then I think you can rest easy.

On the other hand if the behaviour in the school is terrrible, it would probably be the same if they were wearing matching sweat shirts.

Paleodad Mon 04-Mar-13 14:18:47

Blu: that sounds like a lovely school

Blu Mon 04-Mar-13 14:19:21

Oh, and DS's transition to a secondary with a zero-tolerance approach to uniform compliance has been trouble-free.

SaladIsMyFriend Mon 04-Mar-13 14:19:45

Hi OP, my DD has just started in a primary school like this in SE London - no uniform and pupils call teachers (even the HT!) by their first name. I was a bit suspicious of it before she started (it was not my first choice of school) as I am a bit more traditional too, and was worried it might be too bohemian grin

But now she has been there 6 months and I can see that it is a great school. DD loves it, is learning so much so fast, and the school is very highly regarded locally.

It seems you have a great school near you - you are very lucky and don't worry at all about the uniform/names!

MadCap Mon 04-Mar-13 14:22:22

I have got dd down for school like this. Its also a brand new school with NO classrooms. I really hope she gets in. I'm excited about it.

I'd love an option of no school uniform and calling teachers by actual names (rather than titles). I recoil every time I hear DS1 referring to his teachers as 'sir' or 'miss'. The best option we have locally are school without the dreaded tie and blazer. I loathe the young conservative look for school children.

Haberdashery Mon 04-Mar-13 14:23:00

This sounds brilliant! I would love to be able to send DD to a school like this. Hers had no uniform when we picked it but has since introduced one.

I want to know exactly where all these lovely schools are - I would seriously consider moving!

rumtumtugger Mon 04-Mar-13 14:32:34

Ok, overwhelmingly positive! Lots of things to think about, and lots of points to consider when we visit the school to have a look around. Thank you all for posting.

Haberdashery Mon 04-Mar-13 14:36:46

Oh, one more thing - DD's school also values creative stuff highly and she is quite academic. It's been very good for her to be stretched sideways in that way, I think. They've studied loads of different artists (she's in Y1), done plays, are currently making their own stop-motion animations, stuff like that. It gives her masses to think about.

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