PARENTS have criticised a school which has banned girls from wearing skirts.

Priory School in Lewes says from now on, all new Year 7 pupils must wear trousers.

Headteacher Tony Smith brought in the measure to deal with complaints from parents about short skirts and to make the uniform gender neutral for transgender students.

Instead of wearing a grey skirt, girls must now must wear grey trousers.

But some parents feel angry trousers have been enforced at the school, which is rated good by Ofsted.

One mother, who did not want to be named, said: “My daughter and her friends are appalled by this.

“The school is creating a hostile environment for girls by treating their views with contempt: there was no consultation. It was just imposed by the head.

“The hypocrisy is what gets me the most.

“If girls dressing differently than boys is now to be considered sexist, then it is equally sexist to have female teachers wearing skirts and not wearing ties. If they want this, they must live the values they force on others and go fully gender free.”

The Argus visited the school in Mountfield Road, Lewes, yesterday and found parents in favour of skirts.

Mother-of-four Lara, who did not want to give her surname, said: “My daughter said she has got a gender and it’s female so being gender neutral when she has got a gender is a big deal for her, as she proud to be a girl.

“I’m not saying the skirts being worn last year weren’t obscene, but it hasn’t stopped the issues as those children are in the school for the next four years and are not being made to wear trousers.

“If the headteacher was going to bring this in, he should have done it across all years.

“As a mum I feel girls should be allowed to wear skirts if they want to.

“For me it’s not gender neutral because they are not allowing boys to wear skirts.”

Her daughter Tilly, 11, wrote a letter to the headteacher asking him to explain the changes.

She said: “Girls have different bodies to boys and we should have the right to wear skirts. I think girls should have a choice.”

But some parents backed headteacher Mr Smith.

One woman who was picking up her daughter said: “I don’t mind. I’m not in favour of uniform at all, but if you’re going to have a uniform I think it is great it’s gender neutral.

“I know other parents feel it’s a boys uniform that has been imposed on girls and a real gender-neutral uniform would have choice.

“But I personally don’t mind.”

Matthew, the father of new Year 7 student Paige, who declined to give his surname, said: “Woman have died and fought for the right to dress the way they wanted to and it seemed to us their rights were taken away.

“But when it was explained to us, it was about inappropriate dressing, I think it was the right decision to make.”

The new uniform only applies for Year 7s but students in Year 8 to Year 11 are welcome to adopt the new uniform.

Year 7 boys and girls also no longer wear blazers as these have been replaced by navy jumpers, which they will continue to wear with ties and white shirts.

Explaining why he brought in the uniform change headteacher Mr Smith said: “Pupils have been saying why do boys have to were ties and girls don’t, and girls have different uniform to boys.

“So we decided to have the same uniform for everybody from Year 7.

“Another issue was that we have a small but increasing number of transgender students and therefore having the same uniform is important for them.”

Speaking about concerns raised by parents over how skirts were being worn, he said: “We know the current uniform is not necessarily worn as respectfully as it should be.

“There were problems with decency and a number of issues raised by people in the community about how students were wearing uniform.”