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New dress code for support staff?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Bexiloumoon, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. Bexiloumoon

    Bexiloumoon New commenter


    This year the school I am at has decided that EVERYONE must dress in "business" wear, that means support staff, TA's, Science technicians, everybody must dress as If we were a private business, blazers, smart suits ect for everyone. My question is, can they enforce this new dress code at the expense of everyone else? A lot of support staff complaints come from the fact that they would have to fork out a fair bit in order to buy the new trousers, new skirts, new blazers and blouses and tops/work dresses that would be needed to comply with this? I should say its not a case of just getting something from asda, the school have made It clear they mean PROPER business wear, even the dresses should be those very smart looking suit dresses. I myself am a part time single parents on a pittance so getting this new wardrobe wouldn't be possible for me to do immediately, i'd have to put money aside every month? Should the school be allocating a portion of budget for this or are we to fork out ourselves?
  2. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I have no advice, but am bumping this up....
  3. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Look round the charity shops to see if you can find something suitable.
    In addition to looking smart, teachers need robust and WASHABLE clothing.
    I have always found that expensive jackets or trousers attract ink, leaky board markers and sulfuric acid from large distances.

    My main workplace (non-mainstream) is gloriously relaxed.
  4. mothergoose2013

    mothergoose2013 Occasional commenter

    I would go and have a chat with your line manager or the head. Just explain that the unexpected expense is not manageable for you at such short notice. They probably just haven't realised this fully. Most people would understand, and therefore work with you to find find a realistic solution if it's put to them the right way. If they don't understand and are unrealistic after being approached then that is a separate issue. In the interim, or even long term, the charity shops and ebay are a pretty good source of work clothes.
  5. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Or buy the required clothes and pass on the receipts for reimbursement? :D
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You can buy cheap business wear clothing from matalan, pimark, etc, or from any of the main supermarkets.
    There is no way SLT are going to ask to check your labels and see where the clothes are from.

    If you want something better, then wait for the sales and buy then. Many online places have permanent 'clearance' sections, so look there as well.
    Pomza, saluki, pepper5 and 1 other person like this.
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I hope you are in union.... If so contact them. If not, join one!!
    tall tales likes this.
  8. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Ridiculous rules!
    However H and M have some fab looking suits, stretchy waists, stretchy jackets with no lining, so like wearing a cardy really. £40 total.
    They are not going to check material and labels.
  9. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    I'm not 100% sure where the issue is. While a blazer/jacket may be unusual, they are quite easy to buy cheaply in charity shops, supermarkets, other clothing stores etc. Other items of clothing, such as smart trousers/shirts/blouses are very easily bought at supermarkets etc, and I would have assumed even support staff are dressed at least smartly already? So in essence, are you not just being asked to buy an extra item? Surely people aren't rocking up in leggings or jeans at the moment?

    Most of my work wear is bought at ASDA, two or three pairs of smart, plain trousers, and 6 or 7 basic shirts, costs very little and can be cycled through over the year. Maybe a new pair of trousers and 1 or 2 shirts at the end of each year to replace the ones which got a bit worn out. As a senior middle leader that gets me through most days (with a tie, I hate my tie...), and now and then I dust off my actual suit for events such as annual reviews or if I need to show up in court etc.

    In short, while having a dress code imposed is probably a shock, I am not sure that it needs any particular over reaction? In some respects I would have thought it a good thing that support staff appear similar to teaching staff, to create a similar expectation for children/students regardless of which adult they are addressing.
  10. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    What was everyone wearing previously? :confused:

    Did they all dress like beach bums?

    I suspect that means "professionally dressed."
  11. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Why would science technicians need to wear business suits?
    Seems very impractical.
    I doubt people working in science industries do.
  12. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    'As if we were a private business'. My husband and three sons all work in private businesses, in a professional capacity, with some customer facing. The smartest they get is a shirt and chinos. One of my husband's offices is permmanetly 'dress down' and practically anything goes as long as it's decent. This is normal for a huge swath of professional workers in private businesses these days. SLTs should know this, but most of them probably went straight from school to college and back to school and have only the haziest idea of what a business is, never mind what happens there. (One of my boys even works for an exam board, and I can promise you that he has never ever worn a suit or a blazer to work. I doubt he even irons his shirt, and if he owns a tie then I've never seen it. He does lots of work with examiners and so on, so it's not even that he's hiding in the office all day. This is NORMAL now. Tell your SLT they are thirty years out of date and probably shouldn't get their intel from old BBC sitcoms).
  13. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    Sainsbury's. Plain black trousers. Plain black cardi. They have lots of business type tops. Jackets are hot and unnecessary. Even people like Christine LaGarde wear cardis.
  14. Ms_Love_

    Ms_Love_ Occasional commenter

    eBay is also your friend here, there are some good bundles to be had on smart clothing. Charity shops in posh areas always have good clobber. Smart doesn't have to mean unfashionable or expensive.

    Having said that, I'm also SO glad I now work in an international school where cardis, sandals and summer dresses are the norm every day. I always bemoaned the imported corporate Apprentice-style wardrobe that the UK was adopting in schools. So unnecessary! Especially when parents turn up to the school with their tattoos and housepants covered in last night's dinner medals.
  15. friedgreentomatoes

    friedgreentomatoes Star commenter

    All my work clothes come from Sainsbury's, with the addition of a couple of suit jackets I got from a charity shop. Our dress code is also "business professional" and no-one has ever commented on my clothes.
    caterpillartobutterfly and nomad like this.
  16. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    I agree.

    Anyone sporting a white lab coat is either:
    • A school lab technician,
    • Dirk Bogarde in a 1950s "Doctor in Trouble" film, or
    • A bloke trying to sell washing powder on a tv advert.
    agathamorse and chelsea2 like this.
  17. Bexiloumoon

    Bexiloumoon New commenter

    Thanks for the advice everyone, you would think it would be as easy as going to sainsburys ect but in fact I have a friend who was wearing work trousers, brought from the work section, with the creased line down the front, all very professional looking....and she was told that they were too baggy and not smart enough.......cardigans have been vetoed as a no no as well as these aren't smart enough either. The issue is they aren't accepting the generalised "just get a shirt and a pair of trousers"...nothing seems to be "smart enough" at the minute, people are going out and buying new clothes from these "work wear" sections only to come to work the next day to be told "nope not smart enough, try again"..
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    I think some people here are being a bit careless with their thoughts.

    £40 is a lot of money if you don't have it. And one outfit doesn't last long. Would you really wear the same outfit every day for a week? Cheap clothes wear out incredibly quickly too.
    I can see why this is an issue. Talk to the boss, explain the situation and that you will do your best but won't be able to comply immediately.
    Ezzie, agathamorse and sparkleghirl like this.
  19. ABCCBA123321

    ABCCBA123321 Occasional commenter

    You missed "on their way to go see Rocky Horror"
  20. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    I agree. Can't the school provide support staff with a school sweatshirt like the one issued to PE staff? if you are earning less than £10 an hour an outfit is a day's wages.
    agathamorse likes this.

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