The first week of a new school year inevitably brings its traumas and uniform merely adds to them.
As the Tories contemplate a return to Grammar schools in England, so more Comps in Wales make their pupils wear blazers in a throwback to the 1960s, ironically an era when brutality was rife and almost every teacher had their own torture.
Branding uniformity on our children is a legacy of public schools and their intrinsic militarism.
If there was one thing we should've learnt from the Continent, it was that you aren't what you wear.
People actually perform better when they are relaxed and comfortable and for me ( with protruding Adam's apple) that is definitely without tie and unnecessary and expensive suit.
One Head in Kent sent 50 pupils home on the first week of term for petty reasons, while another in north Wales managed to send 70 packing!
The confusion of discipline with standards of dress code is laughable.
The amount of time and energy wasted admonishing and punishing pupils for minor transgressions is absurd and only leads the more rebellious ones - who are often the more creative as well - into disillusionment with the system.
Every summer there are news stories about pupils coming to school in shorts and skirts ( yes , boys and girls) as a protest against ridiculous rules banning them.
When I taught in Germany the vast majority chose t-shirts and jeans and very few showed off their wealth or fashion consciousness. It was just plain practical.
As a teacher I was once threatened with being called in front of the Governors for not wearing a tie.
From that moment, I religiously refused to comply.
As teachers were promoted to Head of Year or senior management you could see their dress alter : suits replaced jumpers and black shoes shone as if ready for inspection.
Sixth formers are now increasingly being forced to wear blazers,while their peers in colleges are allowed to choose their own clothes.
If schools really want to retain their 6th form, why do they treat them so disdainfully?
The blazer itself is akin to cap and boater in its sheer impracticality and archaic nature.
It is too hot for summer and not hot enough for winter.
Just because pupils sport a school badge, it does not ensure their loyalty or sense of identity.
A school needs to encourage this vital feeling of belonging by caring for and developing every single pupil, not by stamping them with funereal black or embarrassing red.
The militaristic nature of schools is reflected in their hierarchy, with the Head as Commander-in-Chief.
As I got older as a teacher, so I felt less compelled to go along with the status quo. However, I had no ambition to move into management and if I had then it would've required a different attitude.
The future seems to be one of reactionary policies and uniform plays its part in this.
As testing increasingly dominates the curriculum, coursework is phased out and all creative subjects marginalised ( or, in the case of Literature, made optional), so progressive ideas are demolished one after another.
If schools are viewed as microcosms of society, then the outlook isn't promising.
Parents and pupils may occasionally rebel against the absurdity of rules, but there's no concerted movement for change.
Ultimately, what we're saying to our children is - ' As long as you conform, you'll succeed.'
Yet, the greatest contributions to our world generally come from those who do the opposite.
Till schools become arenas of co-operation where everyone involved determines their philosophy and running, they will surely mirror the values of an oppressive society and expose democracy's illusion.
UNIFORMS GET YOU GRADES
It's uniforms not brains
that end up getting you grades.
It's ties not imagination,
black shoes not inspiration.
White shirts write essays on their own,
long skirts answer all the questions.
Jumpers are experts at hurdling,
and badges give presentations.
It's the correct dress code
that determines future success :
just think of all our bankers
with immaculate suits to impress.