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Principals highlight problems with implementation of Education Ministry school uniform rules

Cayman’s schools have been back to the business of the new term for three weeks now and while the new school uniform measures have been largely welcomed by the Principals at Clifton Hunter and John Gray, the implementation of the new rules has not all been plain sailing.

The new term brought with it new guidelines from the Education Ministry, which were aimed at delineating exactly how students should dress for school.

Headteachers know how important dressing for success is and, by and large, have welcomed the new policy. But Ms. Pauline Beckford, the Principal at CHHS, questioned why school leadership teams were left out of the consultation process.

She said she agreed with the uniform policy, but added: “I think it was disappointing that principals were not consulted prior to the policy becoming enforceable in schools.”

While frustrated at the lack of engagement, she said that, overall, the policy was pleasing.

“There’s a school of thought that the way you look doesn’t matter as long as your education is being addressed,” she explained, before emphasising, “I think they both go hand in hand… it’s a very important part of learning for young people.”

Her counterpart at John Gray praised the way students have engaged with the new policy.

“We greet the students off the buses in the morning,” Principal Jon Clark said, “and the majority of them are looking incredibly smart now.”

Among the new changes, pupils are no longer permitted to wear any jewellery, except for a watch.

Haircuts for boys have to be “short”, the interpretation of which has caused some problems, Mr. Clark said.

Cayman 27 has also learned of some students resorting to an unusual means of circumnavigating the new rules: a sudden conversion to Rastafarianism.

Mr. Clark laughed as he said that had not been his experience at John Gray, but said he was pleased to engage with students who “questioned the reason behind the rules.”

As the year progresses and schools get used to the new rules, we will see if the pupils can make the cut.

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