Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Childhood - Schools


Year: 1935         Item #: 1741         Views: 173,686         Comments: 865

Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Image scaled down from 1000px to 740px wide. Click the image to view the original.

Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team of Atherton, Greater Manchester.
Source: G. Smith.

865 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by Mr Dando on 24th March 2020  

No boy should be forced to ever have to do barechested PE and I'm glad my campaign stopped this school from having a shirtless rule for males. Here are the old rules:


PE Indoor
• Girls R-Y3 - Navy/black leotards
• Girls Y4-Y6 - Navy/black leotards or white T-shirt and dark shorts
• Boys R-Y6 - Dark shorts and white T-shirt /bare chest

Here is the new gender neutral kit


PE Kit
White round neck cotton t-shirt
Black shorts
Optional plain black tracksuit (to be worn during winter if needed)

It is optimistic to see that now children are self-isolating and doing PE from home pupils are no longer forced to have school showers or wear discriminatory PE kits.

We must use this hiatus in institutional schooling to repeal all mandatory shower rules such as this one:

Corbridge Middle School maroon shirt with school logo (compulsory)
Corbridge Middle School maroon shorts (compulsory)
Corbridge Middle School outdoor rugby top (optional)
Corbridge Middle School blue base layer top (optional)
Long socks for outdoor lessons
Strong footwear (boots or trainers) for playing rugby/soccer/hockey (pupils should bring both types of footwear to outdoor lessons)

Towel (showers will be taken if the weather has been inclement or the ground muddy)

Please note. Earrings must be removed during P.E. lessons and sporting activities

Together we can make schooling a better experience for all kids!

Comments by Rachael on 24th March 2020  

Hi Simon, Although we had separate lessons we could still see boys in the gym due to the reinforced windows that ran the length the of the corridor so we were treated to a good view either of boys exercising or stripping off their vests at the start of a lesson. We did have a boys vs girls basketball and netball game each year normally in May. The boys always played as skins, it was a laugh but always was competitive. I always enjoyed seeing boys go topless for PE/Games lessons but it was good to see boys being able to demonstrate their masculinity. It's something that is sadly lacking in today's world.

Comments by John on 22nd March 2020  

I was 9 when the stripped to the waist for boys PE rule was introduced at Primary School. I felt self conscious just wearing shorts and pumps but after the second lesson I forgot that I wasn’t wearing a top and with the rest of the lads actually preferred it. At Senior School indoor PE was topless for gym, basketball was played with both teams shirtless and wearing different colored bibs.
Football was occasionally played shirts vs skins outdoors in winter if the PE teacher ran out of colored bibs, we were lined up and half of us told to take our shirts off. I got to enjoy playing football shirtless in winter, the skins team always seemed to gel better and work harder than the shirts.
For cross country some PE teachers made us run in shorts and trainers, but even if we were allowed to run in t shirts or vests many lads used to go topless anyway.

Comments by Simon on 22nd March 2020  

Hi Rachael, I was one of those boys who wore a vest under my school shirt during the 80s although not everyone in my class did! Interesting to hear your perspective on boys' PE kit,  I wasn't clear whether boys and girls did PE together at most of the schools you attended?
At my school it was usually separate PE classes for boys and girls, alternating between the gym and outdoors. Boys and girls wore the same kit outdoors - T shirt and shorts - but in the gym it was shorts only for boys. We did team games in coloured bibs or skins.
On occasions when the weather was really bad, outdoor PE was cancelled and we all had to squeeze into the gym together. Of course that meant us boys all had to take our T shirts off with the girls looking on and they certainly seemed to enjoy the spectacle! I remember feeling self conscious at first, along with many of the other lads, but as I grew into my mid teens I wanted to look good in front of the girls and having to go barechested probably made me work harder in PE.

Comments by Rachael on 22nd March 2020  

John, I hope you don't mind me asking at what age did you first start to be stripped off for PE, what sports did you play when you were skins and did you not mind being topless when it was cold? Thanks for your time.

Comments by John on 21st March 2020  

I think that it was good discipline and character building for lads to be stripped to the waist for PE/games, the policy didn’t do my brother and I any harm.

Comments by Andrea on 21st March 2020  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Yes, at Primary both girls and boys wore T shirts and shorts for PE, with our normal underwear beneath.

Did the girls who had just started to develop get any comments / teasing from the boys (or the other girls for that matter)?

Comments by Danny on 21st March 2020  

Andrea, I don't remember any girls wearing bras in primary school, even in last years at age 10-11.
A few may have had small breasts at that age but I think they were too small to require a bra.
As I said before we all wore vests under our shirts at school, both boys and girls, so girls with even small breasts could be seen under their vests when we changed for PE.
We all wore the same PE kit at primary school, both boys and girls, white shorts and white vest or t-shirt.
Did you have the same PE kit as boys in your primary school?

Comments by Rachael on 21st March 2020  

Hi Danny, I attended mixed secondary schools though due to my parents work we moved around quite a bit. One thing was constant though and that was boys doing PE/Games stripped off to the waist. My last school had lads from 13 to 18 stripped off both indoors and outdoors often when it was cold. Again teams of vests vs skins and just plain skins were very common. It must have been tough doing sit ups and other exercises on a bitingly cold winters day stripped off to the waist.

Comments by Andrea on 20th March 2020  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

When you say that both girls and boys wore shorts and vests for PE, do you mean your normal underwear vests or ones specifically for PE.

Although most of my classmates only started to wear bras when they were at secondary school, a few wore them during our final year at primary. Was this the case at your school too?

Comments by Danny on 20th March 2020  

Rachael, you are right, most boys and also girls wore vests under their school shirts when I was at school in the 60s.and it remained so till at least the 70s and 80s from what I remember.
The girls only started wearing the more loose t-shirts in secondary school when they started to wear bras.
So the other posters must be talking about today or more recent times. In which case I want to ask them what the kids wear today under their shirts.

I also wanted to ask you if you had mixed PE classes at school since you say that you girls preferred to see the boys doing PE bare chested and whether this was in primary or secondary school.

Comments by Rachael on 19th March 2020  

Back in the mid 80s a lot of boys wore vests under their school shirts. I remember at one secondary school I was at, boys were split into teams of vests vs skins, quite often the teacher had the whole class stripped to the waist for PE. I preferred to see all the boys be made to strip down, I imagine they'd prefer it too.

Comments by Bernard on 17th March 2020  

Sarah - Yes, I'm sure many kids would have stopped wearing vests before they start school but I wouldn't have thought it need be a problem for either boys or girls to do p.e. in just pants at that age.

Comments by Sarah on 17th March 2020  

The only downside of infants doing PE in vest and pants is that many kids have stopped wearing vests long before they start school.

Comments by Jim on 16th March 2020  

"INDOOR - Infants
The children change down to vest, pants and bare feet for indoor P.E."

Mr.Dando, what is so outrageous in infant kids doing PE in vest and pants?
Little kids that age don't care what they are wearing and feel more comfortable doing indoor PE that way, which is also probably safer and healthier.
In primary school we did PE in just underpants till age 8 or 9. After that age in the last years of Primary we wore white shorts and vest, both boys and girls.

Comments by Mr Dando on 14th February 2020  

I remember back in the 1980's if a boy did not have his kit some were forced to do PE in just vest and knickers or they had to get something filthy and mouldy from the "lost property" box.

It is unbelievable that there are still some schools that degrade children by forcing them to do gym in just their underwear. Here is one such institution:


INDOOR - Infants
The children change down to vest, pants and bare feet for indoor P.E.

This is cruel to force kids to PE in such a manner and bare feet where they can get verruca and other foot diseases. Lets us stop this outrage!

Comments by Andrea on 12th February 2020  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Did your PE teachers give any reasons as to why they didn't allow girls to wear any tops for PE?
Also, did any parents object?

With regard to vests, mum usually insisted I wore one, except in warm weather. The styles didn't change much from when I started school (just before I was 5) until I started to wear a bra (at the start of my second year at secondary school).
Teen bras then were just scaled down versions of what our mums wore, so going from a vest to a bra seemed like a big step.

As I mentioned, by niece didn't want to wear a 'childish' vest by the time she was about 8, possibly influence by some of her friends, whose mums had bought them the half-vest styles. The first ones Sis bought for her looked just like half a vest, with elastic round the bottom, but subsequent ones became shorter, with thinner, adjustable straps, but still a pull-on style.

Comments by Anna on 12th February 2020  

I remember a little teasing, but as everyone was in the same boat it was minimal. Yes, it probably was a little easier for the boys to be in their pants than it was for us, given that we didn't wear tops.

At middle school I think we all wore vests, bras or nothing under our uniforms. I don't recall seeing anyone in a "half bra", though wearing one wouldn't have made any difference to our PE teachers.

Comments by Mike on 10th February 2020  


We all got changed together in the classroom for PE.

As far as I remember most of the girls did wear vests, though might've been more like half vests as you mentioned. My memory's gone a bit fuzzy on that part.

Swimming lessons were at a local public pool so obviously we got changed separately for them.

Comments by Andrea on 9th February 2020  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Did boys and girls get changed for PE together when you were at primary school and if so did most of the girls wear vests?

When I was at primary in the 1960s, we did change together and I did wear a vest.
By contrast, when my son was at primary, boys and girls started to change in separate areas from the age of about 9 and he rarely wore a vest.

When my niece was about 7 or 8, her mum (my sister), bought her some half vests as she didn't want to wear a vest (which she regarded as childish).

Comments by Danny on 9th February 2020  

I am also surprised that there were schools like Anna mentions where they made boys and girls do mixed PE at age 12 and 13 in just pants, which I assume to mean just normal underpants,
Even as a boy I would have felt embarrassed at that age wearing just underpants for mixed PE class, which were normally cotton or nylon briefs in those days and I was in secondary school at that age. We just wore the normal white vests and shorts for PE.

Anna, was there any teasing between the boys and girls about doing PE in just pants?
I assume it was more embarrassing for the girls being seen by the boys in just underpants at that age, though not much less so by the boys.

Comments by Andrea on 7th February 2020  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Hi Anna,
I remember our teacher telling a few of my classmates that they should start to wear bras for PE, so it seems ironic that yours made girls remove theirs!

Comments by Mike on 7th February 2020  


I'm surprised they made girls take bras/vests off in mixed classes. Can't imagine how embarrassing that would've been.

You also mention your mum insisted on you wearing a vest. Mine did as well (I was at primary school early to mid 1990s). Brings back memories of how embarrassing it was getting changed and often finding myself the only boy wearing one. Haven't worn them since.

Comments by Anna on 7th February 2020  

Hi Mike and Andrea

I don't know what my old school does these days but I'd e shcoked if they still make the pupils do PE in just their pants! Like you say, I don't think even many infant schools do it now. I left middle school in 1995.

Yes, when I say "just in pants" that's literally what I mean - we weren't allowed vests even if we wore them (I did, my mum insisted!), an even the girls who had started wearing a bra had to take them off and do the lessons in JUST their pants! I didn't wear a bra at middle school, I didn't habve anything to put in one! But quite a few of the girls in my year, especially in our last year, did, and I guess for them it was uncomfortable as well as embarrassing as it was for us all. Even though I didn't need a bra, I had started to develop a bit and I was always really aware of my nipples standing out as I ran around the gym topless!

Comments by Andrea on 6th February 2020  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Like Mike I would be surprised if any schools made pupils do PE in just their pants nowadays. The only exception may be children in reception class, but even this must be rare.

When were you at middle school?
I'm assuming that when you say "just in pants", you weren't allowed to wear a vest or similar? That must have been both embarrassing and becoming uncomfortable by he time you left Middle School at 13?
Although I was still flat-chested when I left Primary School at 11, I was wearing a bra when I started my second year at Secondary (which would be the same as your last year at Middle School.

Comments by Mike on 6th February 2020  

Wouldn't have thought any schools would dare make kids do PE in just their pants these days

Comments by Anna on 5th February 2020  

I don’t know if many schools now make boys and girls do PE together in just their pants, but as your say or used to be quite common. I went to infants school then onto middle school until age 13.

At middle school we were basically treated in PE as though we were still at infants. Although we had bigger and more impressive apparatus, were still did lessons in mixed classes and we still had to do them in just our pants! The rule applied to all our indoor lessons so it included gymnastics, dance, circuits and even occasionally things like volleyball.

Comments by Mr.Curious on 17th January 2020  

I agree that it is no big deal for boys to be topless for PE, especially if it is just a boys class.
They usually showered naked all together after PE class anyway.
But do you think that it is OK to make boys and girls in primary school do PE in just underpants, which was very common in many schools?
I wonder if this is still allowed today.

I also agree that a school is a safe place if they have the proper supervision at all times.

Comments by Emma A on 15th January 2020  

John, You are absolutely right. Schools are the safest places to give the boys experiences they may not otherwise get. The boys are in a protective environment in the gym so exercising topless shouldn't cause any issues, anxiety or fear. It's not unjust, sexy or anything like it, going topless is simply the most effective way for boys to exercise in the gym throughout school.

Comments by John on 4th January 2020  

Mr Dando,

Schools have a duty to educate children and teaching the importance of good personal hygiene is essential for a child’s wellbeing. After doing gym or playing sports children will have become hot and sweaty and will require a shower in order to maintain their personal hygiene.

Your suggestion that children should be able to opt out of taking a shower after sports is a bad one. You will create a division between those children who are perfectly happy to have a shower after sports and those who choose to opt out. That situation could provide an environment for bullying to take place, bullies have a tendency to pick on children that they consider to be vulnerable and those who do not conform.

Parents are not forced to send their child to a school with rules that they disagree with. Headteachers and School Governors should be able to formulate policies and rules which they consider to be in the best interests of their children. there is no need for every school in the country to be exactly the same.

Comments by Mr Dando on 3rd January 2020  

John it is time to end Mandatory ablutions in our dismal educational institutions. Hygiene is a poor excuse for compulsory nudity in schools!

The time has come to name and shame these schools until they promise voluntarism and privacy as part of their new year resolution!

PE Kit
Compulsory Sportswear:
Boys/Option 1:
White shirt with gold band
White shorts
Pale blue socks
Football/rugby boots
Swimming trunks or shorts (not Bermuda Shorts)
Shower towel
Girls/Option 2:
Blue polo shirt with school logo
Pale blue socks
Navy blue shorts
Hockey/football boots
One piece swimsuit
Shower towel
Optional Extras:
Athletics vest, white with yellow bands and school logo, dark blue sweatshirt with school logo, cotton training top and dark blue tracksuit bottoms.

Each individual item must be clearly marked with the student’s name.

Cross Embroidery
Units 5 & 6 Lower Cherwell Street
Oxfordshire OX16 5AY
United Kingdom
Tel: 01295 270555


It is time to learn from past sins and abolish the school shower forever as part of our 2020 vision for effective child protection.

Comments by John on 27th December 2019  

Mr Dando,
What on earth is wrong with having a shower after getting hot and sweaty playing sports?. Surely it is unhygienic to return to the classroom without having had a shower?

Comments by Mr Dando on 26th December 2019  

The next school term is fast approaching and there are still some pupils who will have to return to the dreaded shower in January.


Physical Education takes place both on and off site. The PE kit consists of a white tee shirt, white shorts, white socks and trainers. Students should have additional games equipment including footwear and should not wear any part of their school uniform during PE. In winter a track suit of any colour is advisable. All students are encouraged to take part in PE and showers may be required at certain times.

The school has representative teams in a number of sports – the school has some special kit for these or parents/carers will be advised accordingly.

Let it be our New Year resolution for 2020 to ban mandatory school showers.

It is time to get modesty done in all UK institutions!

Comments by Andrea on 23rd December 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Hi Claire,
How annoying! At least my dad never commented on my bra (if he noticed it).

I don't have any brothers and was at an all girls school by the time I started wearing a bra, so I guess I got off lightly compared to some. I recall the boys at Primary school taking an interest when a few girls started to 'develop' during our final year there.

Comments by George Spelvin on 22nd December 2019  spelvin545@gmail.com 

Michael, where is your school located?

Comments by Mr Dando on 21st December 2019  

Doctor J Wallace we must act to end forced nude showers in all educational institutions. I had to undergo this state sponsored humiliation between September 1985 to April 1987 for football, rugby and cross country.

Some UK state schools still carry out this barbaric practice. Please see below:


Physical Education Clothing

Physical Education is an integral part of the curriculum and it is essential that students change for the lessons. The clothing listed below is required by all students taking part in PE/Games: Please ensure that all items of uniform and PE kit are clearly marked with your child’s name.

PE Kit for all Years 7—11 students — boys and girls (which can only be purchased from Barnums)

Black tracksuit trousers with School logo
Black rain jacket with School logo
Black Mid-layer with School logo
Red polo shirt with School logo
Black shorts with School logo
Black socks with red top
Girls can also wear a Black Skort which is embroidered with the School logo
All students should have a pair of clean indoor trainers to use in the indoor facilities (gymnasium, sports hall, climbing wall, fitness suite). Plimsolls or similar flimsy cloth or canvas shoes are not suitable for PE lessons as they offer no foot support. Students must have appropriate trainers or running shoes.

A pair of outdoor trainers and/or football boots are required for outdoor lessons.
Shin pads are advisable for football and hockey.
A gumshield is advisable for hockey and rugby.
Showers: A towel will be required when a shower is necessary.

Swimming: A costume will be required for students involved in swimming during PE lessons.

It is essential that students bring their PE kit to change into even if they are not taking part in PE lessons

Comments by Claire on 19th December 2019  

Oh Andrea don't! I had 2 older brothers who could be real nightmares and for a laugh would move my bra right to the front of the clothes line so as many people as possible could see it! When I protested to my mum she simply told me to get on with it. Looking back she was right.

Comments by Doctor J Wallace on 15th December 2019  

I got to Teagle Hall (Cornell), where the pool was. They said “strip, shower, and go to the pool to take the swimming test.” And they handed me this piece of paper. So me and this other guy were wandering around naked, trying to find the pool without our glasses, and hoping that we wouldn’t accidentally find the women’s gymnastic team or something.

Eventually we found the pool. People swimming. An official-looking guy sitting at the table. We said “well, obviously, we’re not going to swim while carrying this paperwork, we’re clearly supposed to hand it to him for safekeeping while we do the test.”

So I handed it to him, he stamped “swim test passed” on it, and handed it back to me.

So that was it. Never went in the pool.

I now teach at North Eastern University Massachusetts and students are still required to strip nude before using the pool.


Pool Rules

Use of the pool during open swim hours is permitted only in the presence of a University employed lifeguard.
All pool users must take a nude shower before entering the pool. (this is mandated by the State of Massachusetts)
All hairclips, pins, and jewelry must be removed before entering the pool.
All male pool users must wear a conventional one piece swimming suit. All female pool users must wear a conventional one piece swimming suit or a moderate to conservative cut, 2 piece suit. (Cut-offs, running shorts, gym shorts,running tights, or any other clothing, are prohibited).
Safe lap swim will be in effect: Lane 1 & 2 slow; Lanes 3 & 4 Fast; Lanes 5 & 6 Medium.
When more than 3 swimmers are in each lane, please swim in circles. Remember, be courteous with your fellow swimmers.
Swimming under the bulkhead will not be permitted at any time.
Use of the starting blocks will not be permitted at any time.
No diving into the shallow end of the pool.
Use of diving boards will not be permitted at any time.
Only flip flops or bare feet are permitted on the pool deck.
Face masks and snorkels will not be permitted at any time. Only short training flippers will be permitted.
Eating, drinking, and smoking are prohibited anywhere in the building.
Glass containers should not be brought into the pool ares, bleachers or locker rooms.
No horseplay or running on the deck will be permitted at any time.
Only lifeguards and Northeastern University swimming and diving coaches are allowed on the bulkhead.
Lifeguards reserve the right to administer a swim test to any individual, any time they think it necessary. They may remove any individual from the pool from the pool at any time.
Leave all personal belongings locked in a locker. The pool deck must be kept clear at all times.
Lifeguards may prohibit any activity they deem hazardous. They may remove any individual from the pool at any time.

Comments by Andrea on 6th December 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Talking about being embarrassed about being seen in your bra, I felt the same the first time my mum hung one of mine on the washing line when my dad was at home!

Comments by Claire on 30th November 2019  

Hi Andrea, I forgot to add I was 15 and 16 when this happened. But being the same for everyone was a big leveller

Comments by Claire on 30th November 2019  

Hi Andrea, I didn't mind going to my bra. I'd have likely died if there had been boys around. I'm with you, I certainly would not have gone braless, though there wasn't much to show anyway. Most of us got caught out at some point and rules were rules. I would have enjoyed seeing boys go topless to exercise though, it would've been something different!

Comments by Andy on 29th November 2019  

The comments about the girls being amused reminds me of a similar experience at junior school. In the last year of junior school I had some shorts that where a little transparent and the girls used to comment that they could see the colour of underpants I was wearing. A few months later at senior school we had a fire drill during PE, outside standing around the same girls where commenting they couldn't tell what colour underpants I had on - I answered we weren't allowed to wear any and from then on the comments where always I can see you've got no underpants on..

Comments by M Tyce on 28th November 2019  

I started school in the mid 1960's, we were lucky in that my Infant and Primary school had a proper gym, changing rooms and showers, rather unusual at Primary schools in those days! Right through Infants (age 5 to 8) and Primary (age 8 to 11) Lessons were always 'mixed' and we all had to wear the same for PE. There was a 'single layer rule' for PE, none of us (boys or girls) were allowed to wear any underwear, and we didn't wear socks or shoes.

Boys wore very thin white nylon shorts which, (to the amusement of the girls) were almost completely transparent! Also we weren't allowed to wear any 'tops' in the gym. When we had outdoor PE we wore socks and shoes and in cool weather we were allowed to wear t-shirts or vests (but we were still not allowed to wear anything under our shorts!)

The girls wore black 'PE knickers' and white tops for PE and like us they had to go barefoot in the gym but wore socks and shoes outside.

After the lesson we all had to take our PE kit off and go in the showers together naked, in Infants the classes were smaller and the boys and girls shared one changing room and shower, but once we reached 8 and were in the Primary school the boys and girls had separate changing rooms and showers, however even the boys were supervised in the changing rooms by female teachers who made sure we all took our shorts off and went in the showers naked, even when we were 11 years old!

I confess that I hated PE, but loved going in the shower with the other boys, we didn't have a shower at home (they were quite unusual in those days) and it was a real treat to use the one at school!

Comments by Andrea on 25th November 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Hi Claire,

Like you I went to an all girls school, but was used to seeing boys without their shirts on during hot weather in the summer holidays and they didn't seem to mind!

Although I never had to do it, I suppose doing indoor PE in bra and knickers wouldn't have been too bad, especially with no boys around. On the other hand, I would have thought that having to do it topless, as described by Laura, would have been both embarrassing and uncomfortable, especially in year 9! By then we were all wearing bras, and some of my classmates were quite well endowed!

Wat year were you in when you did PE in bra and knickers?

Comments by Claire on 24th November 2019  

Hi Laura, I've found this while looking for something totally unrelated. May I ask if you got to see the boys go topless often? What did you think about it, did they mind? I went to an all girls school but did 2 PE lessons and a detention in just a bra after getting my days muddled I deserved it and didn't have any complaints, rules were rules.

Comments by Mr Dando on 27th October 2019  



A towel for use after taking a shower and changes of underwear and socks, are essential. All

games and PE kit should be taken home after use for washing. Pupils should be reminded to bring

it to school on the appropriate days and should not wear their day clothes for PE. A gum-shield is

recommended for hockey (boys and girls) and rugby (boys) but is not compulsory. In Year 11 both

boys and girls are allowed to wear plain black tracksuit bottoms or dance trousers for their PE

lesson, if they wish.

Girls’ PE Wear:

Plain black polo shirt from the school supplier or plain black T-shirt

Black reversible Rugby shirt with red band from the school supplier, or a plain black sweatshirt (no


Black shorts

Black or white trainers (no plimsolls)

Long red sports socks or short plain white sports socks (depending on the activity)

Football boots (metal studs are not allowed on the synthetic pitch) and shin guards

Boys’ PE Wear:

Plain black polo shirt from the school supplier or plain black T-shirt

Black reversible Rugby shirt with red band from the school supplier, or a plain black sweatshirt (no


Black shorts

Black or white trainers (no plimsolls)

Long red sports socks or short plain white sports socks (depending on the activity)

Football boots (metal studs are not allowed on the synthetic pitch) and shin guards

(Boxer shorts must not be worn during PE lessons; tighter fitting underpants should be worn.)

Comments by Mr Jones on 27th October 2019  

Sir Alexander Fleming School in Sutton Hill said it had given the seven-year-old pupils, who had no PE kit, the chance to take part in the session in underwear, or to remain in the classroom instead.

The school said the pupils had voluntarily taken part in the lesson, which happened last Wednesday.

But one parent, Dorcis Kimani, said her daughter was upset and felt she could not say no to taking part.

"It's ridiculous. I now want to take my children to another school," she said.

"I was in the wrong not to make sure she had a PE kit, but my daughter is very upset."

Mrs Kimani met the school's headteacher, but said they had disagreed over the approach.

She said: "I spoke to the headteacher and was told that my daughter was very happy in the session, but they don't know how my daughter was feeling. She didn't feel like she had an option. The teacher is an authority and the authority was telling her what to do."

“It was boys and girls mixed, I need an apology.”

Ms Kimani said that up to 10 other pupils had forgotten their PE kits and were still involved in the session.

Jan Cousins, head teacher of Sir Alexander Fleming Primary, said: "There were many children who had no PE Kit on Wednesday afternoon.

"These children were given the option of remaining in class or, for health and safety reasons, removing their trousers and shoes in order to take part. All of the children who had no PE kit voluntarily decided to take part in the PE lesson."

Mrs Cousins said that there was no option to hand out spare kits. She said: “Unfortunately all of our spare PE Kits had been previously issued to children and had not been returned.“ Telford & Wrekin Council claimed that getting children who have forgotten their PE kit to do the class in their underwear happens every day across the country.

Council spokesman Russell Griffin said: “This was a decision taken on the day by staff at a particular school based on the fact that the pupils in question had indicated they did want to take part in the PE lesson.

“I understand that all the pupils concerned enjoyed the lesson

“There is no national guidance on the subject but pragmatic decisions like this are taken every day in schools up and down the country.”

Comments by Andrea on 26th October 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

When were you at secondary school?
It sounds incredibly harsh having girls of up to 14 or 15 having to take part in mixed PE lessons topless!

In my school, if we forgot our PE kit, we had to borrow some (usually rather dirty and smelly) from the lost property cupboard. We were also still expected to shower afterwards, borrowing someone else's already wet towel.

Comments by Laura on 25th October 2019  

I thought my secondary school was horrible when I first went mainly because of the PE department but maybe it wasn't so unusual. It was a co-ed school and PE, Games, Swimming were all mixed.
There was a simple rule regarding PE lessons. If you were well enough to be at school and didn't have a note from home or your doctor to say you couldn't do PE, then you did PE whether you had brought your kit or not.
If you didn't have kit (or even just one item missing or incorrect style or colour etc.) then you did the lesson in your panties or knickers. Barefoot and topless, boys and girls alike. Once in year 10, girls were allowed to keep their bra or vests on (most girls chooses to kept their vests on) as well if they wanted to, but before year 10 this was strictly forbidden.
We also had PE Detentions. Anyone who misbehaved or didn't try hard enough would get given a PE detention and have to turn up after school to a PE Detention session, held once a week. The session had strict discipline (absolutely no talking) and consisted of a very tough workout. There was no PE kit for those taking part in these sessions, and everyone did it in their underwear, barefoot and topless, with the same exception for girls once in year 10 who could choose to wear bra or vests and knickers instead of just their knickers.
What is particularly harsh I think is that for those girls who were well developed by the end of year 9 it was especially embarrassing and, for some, uncomfortable to not be allowed to cover their breasts.
On the other hand, being the only girls wearing just a pair of briefs in a class where everyone else is wearing full kit is a powerful reminder to bring your kit next time. Also, the PE Detentions were so tough and horrible that everyone hated them, again given an incentive to try harder, not mess about or misbehave.

Comments by Peter J on 12th October 2019  

I agree with the latest posting by Petra. It is ironic that women's sports clothing has become less as seen in the latest sorts championships. Then on the football pitch for males, some times the shirt shorts and socks nearly cover all. Same with swimwear. It is ok for ladies to wear bikinis but there is a stigma when men wear "speedo" swimming briefs. Men are expected to wear stupid board shorts when swimming or on the beach which I find very uncomfortable. I know that some men look horrendous in swimming briefs, but in the same way some ladies figures do not suit minimalist swim suits but they still wear them. Having said the above I notice that when abroad i.e. Spain in particular, many men wear swimming trunks(briefs) without any inhibition. that is the only time I can also wear them.