School shouts pupils uniforms

Free uniform . . . Silverstream School principal Greg Hurley puts a new school jacket on pupil Dexter Smeaton and Mirna Al Issa (both 5) in Mosgiel. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A Dunedin school has shouted every pupil a new uniform in a bid to install “pride and a sense of belonging”.

Silverstream School principal Greg Hurley said the board of trustees of the Mosgiel school bought new uniforms for the 240 pupils enrolled at the school for the start of this year.

Each child received two polo shirts and a lined soft-shell jacket – mostly in dark blue with some silver and red.

The new uniform was given to install “pride and a sense of belonging” in the children.

“Every child deserves to be happy and confident at school.”

He had never heard of another school buying uniforms for its pupils.

“We are potentially the first school to do this – it’s a brave move from our board.”

Parents were still required to provide all other cheaper uniform items such as shorts, pants, socks and hat in dark blue – the same colour as the same items of the old uniform.

The old uniforms included a red polo shirt and a red polar fleece jacket.

The new uniforms were better quality and the blue material held its colour better and would “look sharper” for longer.

The old red uniform often turned pink over time.

The board bought the new uniforms because they wanted to spare families the expense of buying new uniforms in a tough economic climate.

Families had already invested in a red uniform so it would be unfair to ask them to invest again.

“A roll-out over several months or years was not an option as this would most likely affect those in most need, especially when the major focus for the uniform upgrade was to further boost the children’s pride, confidence and mana.”

The initiative was a “one-off” and families of new pupils starting at the school would need to buy a new uniform.

The feedback from the community on the new uniforms had been positive.

“It’s been huge . . . the pupils love them.”

The money used to buy the uniforms was from capital reserve remaining when the school was formed by the merger of Reid Park, Arthur Burns and North Taieri Schools in 2004.

Otago Primary Principals’ Association president Chris McKinlay said he was not aware of every pupil at another school being given a new uniform.

“It’s great they are in a position to do that.”