2nd July 2018
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education brought to you by Education Advisers...
Leading private school brings in make-up experts to teach girls how to apply cosmetics
Make-up has been granted a reprieve at one leading private school, with experts being brought in to teach pupils how to apply it.
The lessons at Immanuel College in Hertfordshire are believed to be the first of their kind in the country.
They have been introduced after one 15-year-old pupil revealed that she was suffering anxiety over a skin condition and wanted to learn how to use beauty products.
The co-educational school, which has 570 pupils, has also lifted a ban on make-up for under-16s.
The 40-minute sessions with a qualified make-up artist cover good skin care, hormones and diet, as well as how to apply products. Deputy head Beth Kerr said: ‘The lessons start with a bit about good skin and taking care of yourself with sleep and good hydration.
‘Then there are tips about how to apply cover-up products as too much can be bad for the skin.’
The modules are part of personal, social and health education lessons (PSHE) at Immanuel and Ms Kerr said she had been affected by the pupil’s account of how her self-confidence had been undermined by her spots.
And she claimed that the rise of smartphones had increased pressure on teenagers desperate to be accepted by their peers. Pupils had welcomed the lessons, and parents had been supportive of the change in policy, she added.
A growing body of research suggests school uniform has a positive impact on pupils' wellbeing.
School pupils may occasionally be criticised for flouting school uniform rules, but deep down it seems they value wearing one more than we perhaps think.
Back in 2007, in a study commissioned by the Schoolwear Association, researchers from Oxford Brookes University ran a series of focus groups with students aged 13–17 to uncover their perceptions around wearing a uniform. Feedback from the teenagers revealed that a consistent dress code meant they didn’t have to decide what to wear each day or worry about whether they would be bullied or criticised by their peers. The study also found that a uniform promotes commonality among pupils, improves concentration and fosters a sense of pride, especially when they wear it in public.
The advantage of wearing a school uniform has become more pertinent at a time when many fear our young people are unhappier than ever before. Last year, over half a million young people under the age of 18 were referred to mental health services, although there are likely to be many more who are experiencing difficulties without treatment. There are also those who, while not suffering from a diagnosable condition, feel the unrelenting pressure to look a certain way or fit in at all times – heightened, I’m sure, by the widespread use of social media.
Of course, nobody is suggesting that a school uniform is a silver bullet that will alleviate the complex issue of poor mental health among young people overnight. Nevertheless, the role it plays in promoting pride, self-confidence through achievement and a feeling of belonging cannot be underestimated. At the very least, it means pupils have one less thing to think about when they are caught up in a whirlwind of exams, coursework and navigating friendship groups.
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