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11th May 2023

Gender neutral uniforms introduced in school as it welcomes girls for the first time in 135 years

It is the first time this is happening in over 100 years.

St. Joseph’s in Fairview, Dublin is opening its doors to female students in September for the first time in 135 years, and along with it comes the introduction of gender-neutral uniforms.

Out of the 50 new first year’s arriving for the next academic year, there will be 18 girls.

When it comes to the uniform, it’s set to bring in a rule that will see students be given the option of wearing either a skirt or trousers.

The school isn’t the first in Ireland to implement this policy, so this shows further progression when it comes to diversity in Irish education.

The uniform policy was created in collaboration with existing students – who offered their input in the process.

“They wanted a shirt, but not a tie, and they wanted open collars. They also wanted a jumper. The girls very much wanted to have the option of both a skirt and trousers,” Principal Séan Stack told The Irish Independent.

It was later decided that boys should also have some input in the decision and visits were made to local primary schools to ensure incoming students’ needs were met.

This also included subject choices and sports, with plans for a home economics room coming – but this decision was not solely down to the introduction of girls to the school.

“We’ve life skills classes and students are already doing cooking in a kitchenette, so we already see a demand for home economics,” Mr Stack added.

The decision to allow girls to attend the school came after a lack of second-level places for local girls was identified, with many parents wanting to keep siblings in the same school.

St. Joseph’s also has a strong STEM focus, with robotics, coding, and a PTech programme available to study there – subjects many all-girls schools don’t have.

The PTech programme allows students to gain certain aspects of degree-level learning as well as paid work experience.

The applications for the upcoming school year received double the number of available spots, seeing a huge increase in interest since before it was co-ed.


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