A SCHOOL says it will continue to ban skirts despite a large protest earlier this month.

Lewes Priory School announced all students would have to wear a gender neutral uniform shortly before the summer holidays, causing anger among parents and pupils.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the schools’ gates on the first day of term to express their outrage at the decision.

Students wearing skirts were sent home and at one point school officials decided to lock the gate on its own pupils – some in the correct uniform – leaving more than 100 outside.

But the school has said it has upheld the uniform change and has not had any protests since then.

A spokesman said: “Priory School uniform is designed to be a practical uniform which encourages students to be ready to focus on their school work and activities.

“Our uniform also helps us to dilute the status placed on expensive clothes or labels and challenge the belief that we are defined by what we wear. Instead, we encourage individual beliefs, ideas, passions and wellbeing and an ethos of camaraderie that is reflected in this shared experience.

“We believe that a uniform worn without modification is the best way to ensure equality.

“We do not want children feeling vulnerable and stressed by the pressure they feel to wear or own the latest trend or status symbol.

“Priory school is not unusual in having a trousers as the uniform item for all students.

“There are at least 40 other schools which have a similar uniform requirement. Our core purpose remains the quality of teaching and learning and we aim to achieve this by maximising the time spent on planning, delivering and evaluating the quality of provision.”

Sussex Police said they attended the protest as they had been made aware of its existence in advance. But they said they had not taken part in the locking of the school gate or admission to the school.

A spokesman said: “Police attended Mountfield Road in Lewes on the morning of September 6 where a group of about 100 adults and children were protesting outside Priory School. Two PCSOs engaged with the protesters and they left the area shortly after. Sussex Police were not involved in the decision process of who or who was not admitted to the school premises.”