THE first detailed dress code for more than 70,000 NSW public school teachers has been met with scepticism from some in the community and the education sector, who would rather see the government put its energy and money into schools and the teachers rather than what they wear.
According to the Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli, the dress code will benefit teachers’ status in the community.
“While the vast majority of teachers dress professionally it is important for the Department of Education and Communities to detail the dress standards it expects its staff to follow,” he said.
The state government claimed the dress code was part of improvements to the status of the profession.
“Principals have asked me to provide greater clarity about what is acceptable,” Mr Piccoli said.
“Teachers should not come to school wearing T-shirts, rubber thongs or clothes displaying alcohol advertising and we have made this clear in the dress code.”
Former teacher Tim Montgomery said the announcement sounded like a distraction tactic to cover a possible budget change.
“This is a state government announcement. If it was coming from federal Minister for Education Chris Pyne, I would definitely suspect it to be a distraction,” he said.
“It still might be some sort of distraction.
“I don’t think there has been a public outcry over what teachers wear.
“It’s not something I had ever encountered in my career,” he said.
Bomaderry High School principal Jill Appleton said she was pleased with how her teachers dressed but thanked Mr Piccoli for the reminder.
She said, however, it could prove difficult to impose the code on staff because teachers weren’t paid enough to go out and update their wardrobe.
“My staff and, I’m sure staff in other schools in this area, dress appropriately. They are adults,” she said.
“I think the items he was mentioning would be the exception throughout NSW.
“When my teachers are in front of the students or meeting parents, yes I am happy with the dress code they have imposed on themselves.
“Of course PE teachers are going to be wearing tracksuits and shorts.
“Just because you are wearing a tie doesn’t mean you are effective and efficient.
“In 21 years I’ve only had to speak twice to someone about what they were wearing and one wasn’t actually a teacher but here in a support role.
“They took it on board, no problem.”
Independent Education Union general secretary John Quessy said if Minister Piccoli was unsure of the real issues the union was happy to provide him with a list and teachers’ attire was not on it.
“Everyone is talking about the intensification of teachers’ workloads and it’s seriously compressing teaching time, yet the Education Minister chooses to focus on their clothing.
Career development on the agenda
THIS week’s announcement of a dress code for teachers has been labelled by Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli as the latest element of plans to improve the status of the profession.
The NSW government has announced changes that will mean: students entering teaching degrees straight from school must have at least three Band 5 results, one of which is English; current teachers will have to gain accreditation from the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES); all teachers will have to undertake at least 100 hours of professional development every five years; and highly accomplished teachers will be eligible to earn more than $100,000 a year by 2016.