Wednesday, 24 February 2010

No more skirting the issue

A new set of guidelines published ahead of the Equality Bill by the Equality and Human Rights Commission may see a ban on forcing school girls to wear skirts.

Schools that make skirts a compulsory part of their uniform may come under fire when the Bill is enforced this autumn for breaching the rights of pupils who are uncomfortable with their gender. The guidelines state that "pupils born female with gender dysphoria experienced great discomfort being forced to wear stereotypical girls' clothes – for example a skirt."

However, a government spokesperson said: "Schools decide their own uniform policy, the Equality Bill will not change this at all, it's nonsense to suggest we're banning skirts.

"However long standing Government guidance states that schools need to be careful that any blanket uniform policy does not discriminate against someone because of e.g. their religion, gender, or sexual orientation."

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Paramedics told to put a sock in it

Ambulance chiefs at the North West Ambulance Service have threatened paramedics with the sack if they continue to wear novelty socks.

Bosses have insisted that the socks are unprofessional, and have threatened staff with discipline and even the sack if they do not comply with strict dress codes.

However, not everyone has welcomed the news. Jonathan Fox, a spokesman for the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel, told the Telegraph: "I am a firm believer in having a dress code but this is stretching the rules too far. The majority of staff wear boots so their socks can't even be seen.

"North West Ambulance Service should be addressing more important issues like why paramedic training has been stalled for months.

"We have been fighting to have knee pads in our work trousers, which has been a sad omission, and pushing forward the provision for frontline staff to have body armour. "To concentrate on socks seems fairly innocuous - it's not like there's been an epidemic of novelty sock wearing! Perhaps this is just something to divert our attention from the bigger issues."