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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


If you must.


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.


She is wearing a pleated skirt.


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.


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.


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


(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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