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School operations

Student Dress Code

Policy

This policy sets out requirements for schools and school councils to develop, implement and review their student dress code policies.

Summary

  • All school councils have the authority to develop dress codes for their students, should they choose to do so.
  • School councils must work with their school communities in developing and reviewing dress codes.
  • School councils are responsible for deciding on arrangements for the supply of school uniform items.
  • The principal may determine the consequences to be imposed on an individual student for not complying with the student dress code, in accordance with the relevant school and Department policies.
  • All student dress codes must:
    • meet human rights and anti-discrimination requirements
    • include an exemption process
    • include health and safety considerations 
    • explain requirements relating to uniform supply arrangements
    • be communicated clearly to students and parents or carers

Details

School councils have the authority to develop dress codes for their students, including:

  • whether or not the school will have a school uniform, and whether or not any such uniform will be compulsory
  • clothing for specific activities (such as sport, laboratory experiments, bags)
  • exemption grounds
  • methods of enforcement (provided they are consistent with the Department and local school policies on discipline and student engagement)

Dress code consultation

If a school council decides to develop a dress code, they must work with their school communities in developing and reviewing dress codes. The school council should carefully consider the forms of consultation that will be undertaken in developing or reviewing a dress code. Please refer to the Developing and Reviewing Dress Codes section of the Guidance tab for further advice regarding modes of consultation.

Compliance with human rights and anti-discrimination law

Student dress codes must comply with human rights and anti-discrimination legislation.

Refer to Human Rights section in the Guidance tab for further explanation of these requirements.

Implementing and enforcing dress codes

If a student dress code is developed, schools must:

  • communicate their dress code to the school community. Refer to the Implementing and Enforcing Student Dress Codes section of the Guidance tab for guidance on ways to communicate dress codes to the school community
  • assist families having difficulties with uniform costs. For more information about assisting families who may have difficulty meeting the cost of uniform requirements, please refer to the State Schools' Relief program.
  • ensure that measures used to enforce the dress codes are consistent with the Department’s Student Engagement Policy and Guidance and the school’s Student Engagement Policy. Refer to the Implementing and Enforcing Student Dress Codes section of the Guidance tab for further advice

Health and safety considerations

Student dress codes must take into account health and safety considerations relating to sun protection and risks from jewellery, cords, chin straps, drawstrings or school bags. Refer to the Health and Safety section in the Guidance tab for further advice.

Exemptions

Schools must have an exemption process in their dress code policy and must follow the exemption process contained in the Exemption Procedures in the Guidance tab.

Uniform supply arrangements

School councils:

  • are responsible for deciding on arrangements for the supply of school uniform items
  • must comply with written agreements with clothing suppliers and may be subject to legal proceedings if a dispute arises between the parties
  • must not make any misrepresentations while making agreements with suppliers (for example, misrepresenting the number of students at the school)

For further guidance on uniform supply arrangements, refer to the Uniform Supply Arrangements section of the Guidance tab.

Policy template available

A Student Dress Code Policy template is available on the School Policy Templates Portal (login required). Schools can modify the template to suit their local circumstances

Definitions

Dress code
A written statement of school council expectations regarding student appearance. A dress code applies during school hours, while travelling to and from school, and when students are engaged in school activities out of school hours.  A dress code may:

  • define standards for the general presentation of students
  • set out broad guidelines about student appearance
  • require students to wear a school uniform
  • define expectations for garment design and colour

Relevant legislation

Department policy on developing, implementing and reviewing student dress codes

Reviewed 02 March 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools
  • School councils

Contact

School Operations and Governance Unit

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