Day 19 of the Shoe Challenge – Back to School Shoes

Has anyone else out there ever been a student at a private school? For the first five years of my secondary schooling, I had very little difficulty with the dress code. Here is a picture of me and my best friend E, in Fifth Year at a Catholic Comprehensive . I am the one on the left, messy hair, wearing a denim patchwork jacket belonging to my dad in lieu of a blazer.

Sadly, my marks after 5 years were shocking, possibly as a result of the lackadaisical approach to uniform enforcement. In order to get into University, desperate measures were required and my parents enrolled me in H Grammar, known for producing the greatest number of university entrants in Scotland.

After my first day at H Grammar my mother received a telephone call from the Head of Year 6 Ms M.

Teacher:

It is your daughter. We have a problem with your daughter.

Mum:

What on earth has she done? Has she been cheeky to the headmaster?

Teacher:

It is not so much what she has done, more her .. appearance. She is entirely non-regulation. School uniform should be worn by all pupils representing the school unless specifically informed otherwise.

Mum:

She is wearing school uniform. At least she was when I dropped her this morning. Unless she has changed into her jeans. In which case I will talk to her very severely.

Teacher:

The prescribed uniform for girls is very clear. May I refresh your memory?

Mum:

If you must.

Teacher:

Secondary Girls must wear:

One Skirt: Mid-grey skirt with two inverted pleats back and front with or without pockets or mid-grey skirt with no  more than eight box pleats all round.

Mum:

She is wearing a pleated skirt.

Teacher:

It has seven pleats, is light grey and ankle length. Ergo your daughter is non-regulation.

Also  tights: these must black tights, plain or ribbed only.

Shoes must be plain, flat, school style all-black shoe.  She may wear training shoes  in the playground.

Mum:

My daughter does not consider training shoes to be shoes. The silver grey ballet pumps looked very smart I thought,  although I did have my doubts about the lacey tights. But other than that, I thought she looked smart.  Not to worry, we  will revisit the  Uniform List and make sure that my daughter looks entirely regulation tomorrow.

Teacher:

Can you do anything about her hair? It is very curly, long and frizzy. Can you cut it off, make it look tidy?

Mum:

(growling) My daughter has Ashkenazi hair. Do you have a problem with ethnic hair? If so, I think that the Race Relations Board would like to hear about it.

I managed to get through the school year with no other uniform infractions and my non-conforming ethnic hair. I even managed to get good enough marks to get into the Law School at the University of Glasgow so the regulation shoe privation of one year was worth it.

I have one grey wool skirt in my wardrobe – with no pleats whatsoever. I match it exclusively with these little Italian made black leather and grey wool heels. It is like giving my form 6 teacher the Vicky fingers on my first day at H Grammar every time I wear them together.


4 thoughts on “Day 19 of the Shoe Challenge – Back to School Shoes

  1. oh I love that – especially the photo of you 🙂
    My school uniform was insane – prescribed underwear for crying out loud, and skirt length that was measured on a regular basis…Sigh…and then when we DARED to wear navy blue bike pants (part of the sport uniform) under our summer dresses (mainly white with light blue check – hence see through, and prone to blowing upwards in the slightest breeze) oooh we were in massive amounts of trouble…
    (Oh and I love your shoes 🙂 )

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