Social mobility tsar: Pupils will bring knives to school if you don't enforce uniform code

24 January 2022, 10:54 | Updated: 24 January 2022, 11:31

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Social mobility tsar Katharine Birbalsingh has claimed that without strict uniform policies children in inner city schools would bring in knives.

The chair of the Social Mobility Commission, appointed in October last year, told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast "the reason we have rules that can sometimes seem a bit pedantic to the public is so the children don't misbehave in big ways".

Ms Birbalsingh has been dubbed the UK's "strictest headteacher" after setting up Michaela School in Wembley, London, in 2014.

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She explained that when these rules are in place it allows pupils to "rebel” by pulling "their shirts out" and making "their ties fat and short".

She said: "That's what children do, they rebel, and you want them to be able to and you want them to do it with things that don't really matter because at the end of the day whether their tie is long or short isn't really going to make a big difference.

"But they feel they are rebelling, you tell them off and you make it into a big deal and say 'come on now make that tie long' and that's the thing you argue over.

"Depending on your intake or where you are, so in the inner city for instance, if you don't have uniforms then they rebel by bringing in knives."

Ms Birbalsingh said while some people may find this an "extreme" view, "I promise you if you don't have rules about the little things the big things become an increasing problem".

She added: "It's like how you look after the pennies and pounds take care of themselves, it's the same issue here.

"It's broken windows theory... if a derelict house doesn't have any broken windows, it will continue not having any broken windows, you just need to break one window and the rest of the windows will get broken within a week.

"It's the same idea, you're looking after the tiny things so the big things don't become an issue."

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