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Reply To: Staff Dress Code Policy

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Lauren McKendry
Forum Participant

Hi Nicole,

I have copied and pasted below our guidelines for staff dress. For context we are a K-12 independent girls’ school in Essendon, Melbourne. The introduction below sums up our thinking behind the guidelines.

(Also, ps, our “customer-facing” admin staff (ie all those who work in Admissions or in our reception areas) are offered the opportunity to be provided with a corporate uniform, which is a pre-selected range of garments that are emblazoned with our school logo/crest, and which we order through the company NNT.)



The objective of these guidelines is to provide specific advice to staff as to the most appropriate way in which they can dress so as to project the professional image appropriate for the Lowther Hall context and safely carry out the work they are undertaking. Lowther Hall demands high standards of dress from students and promotes values of excellence, pride in personal presentation and attention to detail. These values should also be reflected in high dress standards in staff. Staff are role models for students in the way they present themselves and can also assist to promote the Lowther Hall brand as one which has strong attention to detail, is modern and understands what it means to be fit for purpose.

General guidelines
 Clothing should be neat, clean, professional and fit for purpose.
 Clothing should not be wrinkled in appearance (unless specifically designed to be so). Torn, dirty, worn or frayed clothing is unacceptable. All seams must be finished.
 Clothing that reveals a significant amount of cleavage, your back, your chest, your stomach or your underwear is not appropriate for the Lowther Hall environment.
 Any clothing that has words, terms or pictures that may be offensive to others is unacceptable.
 It is the School’s preference that tattoos are not visible and that facial piercings are removed while at work.
 Footwear should be as professional as possible within the context of the role being carried out. High stiletto type heels are highly impractical for the school context and are not recommended. For OH&S reasons, “thong” type footwear without a back is also not recommended. Staff working in Science laboratories or any other area with specific regulations must wear closed toe shoes. Sport shoes would usually only be worn by staff delivering sport programs or staff with a documented medical condition.

• Between August and April, staff should consider the need to protect themselves from harmful UV exposure by applying sunscreen and wearing clothing that covers the skin.
• When outdoors, between August and April, staff are strongly advised to wear a hat to protect themselves from the sun and sunglasses.

Guidelines for classroom teaching staff and support staff working directly with students
In addition to the above, classroom teaching staff and support staff working directly with students should consider the following:
 Students in Years 2 to 12 are required to wear a uniform with a blazer to and from School – this is an indication of the dress standard at the School – for teaching staff, somewhere between smart casual and business attire is usually the right mark.
 Male staff would generally wear a business shirt or other shirt with a stiff collar. A tie is not a formal requirement but would not be out of place.
 Staff working in classrooms where they are often on the floor with groups of girls should select attire that will facilitate this kind of work whilst offering an appropriate level of modesty.
 When presenting formally to parents, staff dress might lean more towards business than smart casual.

Academic dress
On certain formal occasions, teaching staff are expected to wear academic dress: both an academic gown and the appropriate hood. The attire (including footwear) worn under the hood and gown should be appropriate for the formal occasion taking place. If borrowing academic dress from others, staff should ensure that the hood that they wear is reflective of the qualification that they have earned.

Guidelines for Physical Education and Dance teachers and coaches
Staff involved in teaching or coaching sport or physical education as part of a timetabled class, or undertaking sporting activities during their workday, may wear the Lowther Hall Sport Uniform. If NOT wearing the Lowther Hall Sport Uniform, staff should select navy track pants or shorts and an appropriate polo style top. Thin silk running shorts, match-wear (such as a netball dress) or crop tops are not appropriate for the school context.
Active wear such as lycra leggings and leotards should not usually be worn as a top garment outside the sports field, dance or drama studio unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Guidelines for classroom teachers who supervise sport
Where a classroom teacher has a sport supervision which involves minimal participation, it would be appropriate to change into runners for the duration of the supervision, but to remain in the attire generally worn for classroom teaching.
In the event that more active participation is required (such as in the case of Years 4, 5 & 6 teachers or as advised by the Director of Sport), the School will provide a Lowther Hall Sport polo top and jacket to be worn. This will be replaced as needed (usually every 3 to 4 years). This should be worn with navy tracksuit pants or shorts.

Guidelines for Food Studies and Science Teachers
In addition to the above guidelines, staff teaching Food Studies and Science should wear footwear that has closed toes if teaching practical classes.
For OH & S reasons, long hair should be tied back in practical classes.

Guidelines for Facilities Maintenance staff
Members of the Facilities Maintenance staff are required to wear Lowther Hall branded work wear. Footwear should always be sturdy steel-capped safety shoes.
A navy beany may be worn outdoors on prohibitively cold mornings.

Guidelines for administration and support staff
Staff in many administration roles are the “face” of Lowther Hall, providing first or frequent contact with parents and caregivers or the general public. For this reason, the way in which they dress is important as it sends a message about the values of the School. Professional business attire is usually the right mark for administration staff.
Staff in administration roles are invited to purchase and wear items from a corporate wardrobe embroidered with the Lowther Hall logo. The uniform is a “mix and match” style incorporating skirts, pants, shirts and knitwear. Although the uniform is optional, if a staff member chooses to wear it, it must be worn each day whilst at work and cannot be combined with items outside the corporate wardrobe. To view the uniform range, please contact NNT Uniforms ( or visit the Business Office.

Casual clothes days
There are some days in the school calendar which are designated as Non Nobis Solum Casual Clothes Days. These days give students the opportunity to pay $4 to come out of uniform in order to raise funds for charity.
On these days, staff who wish to participate in the fundraiser may participate by making a donation and wearing more casual attire. It would be expected that staff making formal presentations to parents on these days would either change into usual attire for the presentation or not participate in the casual clothes fundraiser.

Student free days
Whilst a more relaxed standard of dress is acceptable on days when no students are at school, increasingly, parents and other visitors are on site during these days which makes it desirable that a professional standard of presentation is maintained.
It is expected that the general guidelines are still followed on student free days if there are students coming in to the part of the School in which you work on a student free day (for example, Year 7 Orientation Day) staff should dress as for a regular school day.
It would never be appropriate to wear: tracksuit pants, footy jumpers, grunge-wear, singlet tops or thongs.

Staff Sport Uniform available for all staff
Staff may wish to purchase items from the Lowther Hall Sport Uniform range to wear on less formal school days or at active special events (such as sports days). Please contact the appropriate Head of Sport for an order form if you require items of uniform.

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