At Ran­dom

The Oban Times - - Districts - MARTIN LAING mlaing@oban­times.co.uk

Is school uni­form pol­icy too strict?

THERE was gen­eral amuse­ment in The Oban Times of­fice last week over the story about the boys who wore skirts to their school in Ex­eter.

They were, of course, protest­ing at a rule that for­bade them from wear­ing shorts, even as the mer­cury rock­eted up into the 90s (or 30s for those of you of a more mod­ern bent).

The story had me think­ing about schools’ uni­form poli­cies and how strict - or oth­er­wise - they should be. This is all by way of an in­tro­duc­tion to the Oban High pol­icy, which smacks loudly of sex­ism. A col­league for­warded on to me an email she had been sent from the school on pre­cisely this sub­ject. It reads: ‘Boys and girls ‘Stan­dard plain white shirt and school tie, black trousers and plain black footwear (Black train­ers are fine – no white logo or trim al­lowed)

‘A plain black v-neck jumper or v-neck cardi­gan is op­tional. The v-neck al­lows the school tie to be vis­i­ble. ‘Girls ‘Skirts can be worn but must be no shorter than ‘mid thigh.’ A rea­son­able guide­line would be that the skirt should be no shorter than the fin­ger­tips when your arm is fully ex­tended down by your side. Plain black tights must be worn with skirts. ‘Not per­mit­ted ‘Coloured footwear (black train­ers must not have white trim or lo­gos.) ‘Leg­gings and “jeg­gings”. ‘Plung­ing neck­line shirts (the tie should sit in the colour at the top but­ton next to the neck.) ‘Sleeve­less tops. ‘Coloured jumpers or hood­ies are not per­mit­ted as an al­ter­na­tive to a coat. Please just wear a black jumper. ‘Short skirts / shorts ‘Foot­ball strips / of­fen­sive ca­su­al­wear in PE.’

Now, I’m all for school uni­forms and would praise the ap­pear­ance of the young peo­ple I see in Oban on a daily ba­sis.

But I have to ask why girls are sin­gled out for strin­gent guide­lines.

Break­fast event is just the busi­ness

WHILE I’m on the sub­ject of Oban High, the school ear­lier this month a ‘busi­ness break­fast’ event that was a huge suc­cess.

Dozens of pro­fes­sion­als from a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent sec­tors ac­cepted Oban High’s in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend the in­au­gu­ral event, which saw former pupils dis­cussing their cho­sen ca­reers with cur­rent pupils.

What an ex­cel­lent idea. With a bit of luck, this will be­come an an­nual event to il­lu­mi­nate young minds as to the re­al­i­ties of the world of work.

Sport­ing stars are great am­bas­sadors

IT HAS been fan­tas­tic to see three Oban rugby play­ers in­volved in three dif­fer­ent Scot­land team this month.

Mag­nus Brad­bury played for the Scot­tish test team, his brother Fer­gus rep­re­sented his coun­try at the World Rugby Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onship in Ge­or­gia, and Abi Evans has been in the Scot­land women’s sev­ens squad in the Czech Repub­lic and Hun­gary.

They are all splen­did am­bas­sadors for their home town and ev­i­dence of the vi­brant rugby scene in the area.

Rugby de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Al­lan Wright does a great job en­cour­ag­ing young peo­ple into the sport, but there are many oth­ers - too nu­mer­ous to name, un­for­tu­nately - who are cru­cial to keep­ing in­ter­est lev­els high.

Pats on the back all round to ev­ery­one who coaches, ca­joles or car­ries out un­sung work to fa­cil­i­tate youth sport.

Not let­ting weather rain on her pa­rade

I WAS busy im­bib­ing in an Oban wa­ter­ing hole the other day when I fell into con­ver­sa­tion with an Amer­i­can cou­ple here for the Clan Ma­cLean gath­er­ing on the isle of Mull.

Be­yond the doors of our hostelry, the rain was whistling hor­i­zon­tally and heav­ily, a sit­u­a­tion which be­came a topic of con­ver­sa­tion dur­ing our bad­i­nage.

The woman sur­prised me by say­ing it wasn’t both­er­ing her in the slight­est. ‘I come from Cal­i­for­nia,’ she elu­ci­dated, ‘and we get far too much sunshine.’

What was that old quote about the grass al­ways be­ing greener?

What do you think?

Write to me at The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB, or by email to mlaing@ oban­times.co.uk.

Abi Evans.

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