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UMP wants return of school uniform

Sarkozy party plans to 'rub out social inequality' and 'show that school is an important place'

SCHOOL uniforms could be making a comeback as part of proposals from President Sarkozy's UMP party to "rub out social inequality".

The plan is included in a package of 15 measures being considered as part of Sarkozy's presidential campaign for next year.

Prime minister François Fillon has backed the plan which, rather than being a strict rule bringing back school blazers and ties, would see a "dress code" for French education.

It could mean that the wearing of jeans, mini-skirts and trainers could be banned or that a pinafore, apron, tabard or school jumper would be demanded.

Parents have long bemoaned the "tyranny of designer labels" that makes children demand expensive schoolwear, but many also fear the cost of an imposed uniform.

At the moment each school decides what is allowed and few schools have an obligatory uniform, but UMP national secretary Camille Bedin said the new plan would "show visually, that school is an important place, different from the rest of society and where one learns the rules of citizenship".

However, schools administrators union general secretary Michel Richard said: "Social differences exist and we are not going to erase them by wearing a pinafore. Frankly, we have other priorities."

The plans follow a call by education secretary Luc Chatel in September for a return to the teaching of a "moral code" in schools.

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