British schoolboys don skirts in heatwave to protest shorts ban

Isca Academy boys in skirts
Isca Academy boys chose skirts over the heat. Photo credit: Twitter/Simon Hall

"You can wear a skirt if you like."

That's all the encouragement dozens of boys at a school in the UK needed to ditch their trousers in the country's hottest heatwave since the 1970s. 

Boys at Isca Academy in Exeter asked if they could wear shorts, but were told it was against school policy, Devonlive reported earlier this week.

"The weather has been so hot recently and it's got to the point where my son is suffering," mother Clair Reeves told the website.

"I have called the school several times and they have told me that if I send my son to school in shorts then he will be sent to the isolation room all day, and if I keep him off school then it'll be an unauthorised absence."

Girls at the academy are allowed to wear skirts, but boys have to wear long trousers.

"My 14-year-old son wanted to wear shorts," another mother told Devonlive.

"The head teacher told them: 'Well, you can wear a skirt if you like,' but I think she was being sarcastic.

"However, children tend to take you literally, and because she told them it was okay, there was nothing she could do as long as they are school skirts."

On Tuesday, three boys showed up wearing the tartan skirts, borrowed from sisters and friends. On Thursday, there were 30. On Friday, it's expected more than 100 will show up sans-pants.

"Children don't like injustice," one mother said. "The boys see the women teachers in sandals and nice cool skirts and tops while they are wearing long trousers and shoes and the older boys have to wear blazers. They just think it's unfair that they can't wear shorts in this heat."

Only two of the boys have been reprimanded. One was wearing his skirt too short - luckily, he was wearing shorts underneath. The other's legs were too hairy, so on Thursday the boys bought razors before class and shaved.

The head teacher says no change to the school's uniform policy will be made without consultation with the boys' families first.

"With hotter weather becoming more normal, I would be happy to consider a change for the future," said Aimee Mitchell.

Even then many of the boys say they may stick with skirts, finding them "much more comfortable", reports Devonlive.