French schools in Seine-et-Marne vote for uniform

The uniform will be a simple selection of blue and white pieces

Six elementary schools in Seine-et-Marne have voted to introduce a school uniform for pupils after almost two thirds of parents came out in favour of the move.

Over 62% of parents voted their approval for the proposal, which was suggested by the town’s mayor, Olivier Levenka - who is himself in favour.

The vote took place yesterday, on Saturday June 2.

From November onwards - after the Toussaint holidays - school children in the town of Provins will now have to wear items including a polo shirt, a sweatshirt, and a contrasting "sweater" jacket. Girls will also have the option to wear a skirt (shown below).

One parent, who supported the change, explained to news source FranceInfo: "I know school uniforms well, because I grew up in the Soviet Union and we always wore a uniform. It is about equality between pupils, and it represents discipline, too."

However, some parents are not happy with the decision.

One mother, Isabelle, explained that she would not be buying the new uniform for her daughter.

She said: “This was only a consultation, the law is the real legitimate rule. We are talking about public schools, let us not forget. Public schools, free schools. A parent should be able to put their child into a free, public school, without having to first put their hand into their wallet to pay for a uniform.

“This vote means that to put a child into school in Provins, we either have to pay for a uniform, or pay for private school.”

Some pupils are similarly less than thrilled.

One pupil said: “It’s rubbish, it is as if we are going back in time. We are in 2018, not 1900-and-I-don’t-know-when.”

But mayor Mr Lavenka defended the move, especially from a financial point of view.

He said: “We made a proposal to the parents of the pupils, which seems completely honest and reasonable. We are suggesting a selection of 10 items of clothing for €145.

“This would equate to four polo shirts, plus a jumper, a sweatshirt jacket, trousers, shorts, and for little girls, trousers or a skirt. That seems completely reasonable to me.”

The town will offer financial support to families who need it, from the second child onwards, he added.

He said: “We will intervene for families who really need the help, and we are also suggesting payment plans spread over three, six, or ten payments. This seems reasonable and we do not believe that cost will be a critical issue.”

The Mairie is now seeking a supplier, in the hope of providing the uniforms so pupils can wear them after the Toussaint holidays.

Yet, the Sud Education union has already called on local school authorities to challenge the result of the vote.

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