Wearing School Uniform builds self respect

School uniform“My school are wearing school uniform” said my friend, a head teacher of a boys’ school. I looked surprised! He qualified the statement by saying that the school he recently became head teacher of, had previously had no uniform, and despite cynicism from his staff, there had been a remarkable change in the boys’ attitude and self esteem.

The school my friend is a head teacher at is a special school for boys with specific challenges in the classroom. The school is small and was a failing school until my friend took over. In 3 terms he has dragged it out of special measures and the results for GCSEs are significantly better with many boys getting A*s. Previously C grades were celebrated.

When my friend, started at the school, the pupils wore scruffy jeans and no formal uniform. There was an unwritten agreement that a specific coloured sweatshirt could be worn. This was changed to a blazer, grey trousers, white shirt and a school tie. Within days boys were coming to school with pride. They LOVED wearing a blazer and tie, and looking smart. The staff ate their words, acknowledging their surprise and delight that wearing a uniform had such a significant effect on the boys.

I should say that these boys were all excluded from mainstream education for disruption in the class. As with some pupils that are disruptive, further tests revealed that these boys had specific learning difficulties, such as very low reading levels; dyslexia and other challenges. They had been labelled and in all honesty, didn’t DREAM they could be wearing something smart like a collar and tie and a blazer. The pride they have in their uniform has meant they hold their heads up and look more confident.

I am not an image consultant: i.e. I don’t suggest what people should wear, but wearing something that makes you feel good; confident and proud of yourself has an impact on your body language; charisma AND your voice. If you are standing upright with your head held high, your voice is more confident, and that has an impact on how others perceive you.

I was so thrilled to hear that a small detail like wearing school uniform could have such a positive impact on my friend’s school. So what can you do to create a positive impact when you meet your clients? Do leave your ideas below.

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Susan Heaton-Wright
About the author

Susan Heaton Wright is a former opera singer who works with successful individuals and teams to make an impact with their voices and physical presence. Using her experience in using the voice and performing on stage, she works with people to improve their performances in a range of business situations; from meeting skills and on the telephone, to public speaking, presentations and appearing on the media.

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