These procedures must be read in conjunction with the Dress Codes for Students in Public Schools Policy.
These procedures apply to all principals.
3.1 Developing and changing dress codes
The principal will work with the school council or board to develop and regularly review, in consultation with the school community, a dress code that:
- is similar for all students, as far as is practicable;
- takes into account religious and cultural requirements;
- includes gender neutral options such as shorts and pants;
- provides suitable clothing for sport or physical education, including supporting informal and incidental physical activity;
- does not include clothing made from denim, (refer to 3.2.2 Exemptions from the Requirement to Exclude Denim); and
- includes procedures to change the school’s dress code.
Procedures for developing and changing the dress code are approved by the school council or board and include a consultation process that:
- provides an opportunity for the views of parents, teachers and students to be expressed;
- seeks out and considers the views of different cultural, religious, ethnic or special needs groups within the school community; and
- allows for careful consideration of the practicality of garment design, materials and the cost implications of items.
Information on providing supportive and inclusive school environments for transgender and intersex students is available from the Department’s Teaching and Student Services website (staff only).
The principal will consider individual circumstances and manage needs on a case by case basis.
Gender neutral options include items such as pants, shorts, shirts and jackets that can be worn by all students irrespective of their gender or gender identity. Similar items for all students may not necessarily be identical for all students; for example, shorts and pants may be slightly different based on gender.
For more information refer to Appendix A.
3.2 Support and assistance
The principal will:
- develop procedures, in consultation with the school community, for supporting compliance and providing assistance; and
- provide parents with information regarding the conditions for financial assistance, including pension and health care cards that attract direct assistance at the secondary level.
Support and assistance are effective ways of achieving compliance.
Procedures for supporting compliance with the dress code are approved by the school council or board.
Details of the secondary clothing allowance can be found in the document Student Allowances on the Department’s Policies website. Parents may need to be made aware that there are deadlines for submitting applications for secondary assistance and late applications are usually not successful.
School management of the dress code is a balance between establishing standards, allowing reasonable opportunity for individual self-expression, and accommodating diversity. Non-confrontational approaches assist in clarifying the reasons for objections to complying with the dress code.
Support may be available in the form of clothing exchanges and loan schemes.
The schools may choose to fund outfits for use on school outings or for daily wear as appropriate.
3.3 Exemptions from compliance with the dress code
The principal will:
- develop procedures, in consultation with the school community, for considering exemptions from the dress code;
- take into account the School Education Regulations 2000 (reg 35) when considering applications for exemptions from parents, adult students and independent minors;
- apply the procedures when considering an exemption; and
- provide full details of an exemption to the students concerned, their parents (if applicable) and their teachers (reg 35).
Procedures for considering exemptions from the dress code are approved by the school council or board.
For further information refer to Appendix B.
3.3.2 Exemptions from the requirement to exclude denim
The principal will:
- submit an application from the school council/board to the Director General to seek an exemption for senior students (Years 11 and 12) from the requirement for no clothing made from denim, prior to the end of the preceding academic year; and
- demonstrate that clothing made from denim is the most appropriate option.
A senior college may include clothing made from denim in their dress code without the need to apply for an exemption.
Denim may be an option because of a significant vocational education and training emphasis including ‘on and off the job’ training.
Where an exemption from the requirement to exclude denim applies, students should still be neat and dressed in accordance with other provisions in the school’s dress code.
3.4 Non-compliance with the dress code
The principal will:
- develop procedures, in consultation with the school community, for managing non-compliance, including exemptions and sanctions;
- arrange for students who do not comply with the dress code and their families to be counselled and their concerns resolved where possible;
- apply only those sanctions prescribed in the School Education Regulations 2000 (reg 36) where all other avenues for achieving compliance are unsuccessful, and provided it can be demonstrated that financial reasons are not a contributing factor to non-compliance;
- not apply suspensions, exclusions, or prevent non-complying students from attending or participating in any school activity where the activity, in the opinion of the principal, is an essential part of the student’s educational program (reg 36); and
- not apply sanctions that might damage later career prospects (such as negative mentions in references or school reports).
Procedures for managing non-compliance with the dress code are approved by the school council or board.
A school dress advisory panel may be convened to provide assistance and support with addressing a student’s non-compliance with the dress code.
Under the School Education Regulations 2000, Regulation 36, if a non-complying student is enrolled in a primary program, sanctions will be limited to the following actions only:
- preventing the student from attending any activity in which the student would have been representing the school; or
- preventing the student from attending or participating in any school activity which, in the opinion of the principal, is not part of the educational program.
Under the School Education Regulations 2000, Regulation 36, if a non-complying student is enrolled in an educational program other than a primary program, the principal of the school may apply the following sanctions:
- prevent the student from attending any activity in which the student would have been representing the school;
- prevent the student from attending or participating in any school activity which, in the opinion of the principal, is not part of the educational program; or
- any other sanction that is part of the school’s behaviour management plan.
Document providing standards of what is acceptable in relation to the clothing worn by students at the school including headwear, footwear and aspects of personal presentation.
Clothing of specific colour and/or design worn by students of the school as a means of identification, as specified in the school’s dress code.
Sub-group of the school council or board, including at least one school staff member, with the specific role of providing assistance and support in relation to compliance with the dress code.
A student who:
- does not comply with a requirement of the school’s dress code;
- has reached the age of 5 years and 6 months at the time of the alleged non-compliance or would have reached that age during the calendar year in which the alleged non-compliance occurred; and
- has not reached the age of 18 years at the time of the alleged non-compliance.
5. Related documents
6. Contact information
Director, Teaching and Learning Services
Policy contact officer:
Senior Policy Analyst, Teaching Area Support
T: (08) 9402 6106
7. History of changes
|Effective date||Last update date||Procedure version no.|
|1 January 2007||29 November 2013||1.0|
|Updated contact information. D13/0573788.|
|1 January 2007||19 March 2015||1.1|
|Contact information updated to reflect change in position from Director, Office of the Director General to Executive Director, Organisational Governance. D15/0085666|
|28 April 2015||2.0|
|Major review undertaken and split into policy and procedures. Endorsed by Corporate Executive 13 February 2015.|
|28 April 2015||28 April 2015||2.1|
|Updated contact information. D15/0147219. Version 2.1 updated prior to version 2.0 becoming effective.|
|28 April 2015||4 August 2015||2.2|
|Updated contact information D15/0260244|
|28 April 2015||2 August 2017||2.3|
|Updated contact information D17/0045097|
|1 January 2018||1 January 2018||2.4|
|Amendments to mandate gender neutral uniform options for all students. Endorsed out-of-session and ratified by the Director General at Public Schools Executive on 27 October 2017.|
Appendix A: Developing and Changing Dress Codes (PDF file - 47.5kB)
Appendix B: Exceptions (PDF file - 19.6kB)
9. More information
Please ensure you also download the policy supported by this procedure.
Procedure review date
28 April 2018