We don’t need to go into the array of reasons why the male population of North Korea wear their hairstyles in such a way that pleases their leader Kim Jong-un. Nor do we need to go into too much detail as to why Enver Hoxha, the nationalistic leader of Albania for over four decades, 1944 to 1985, if you’re interested, banned hairstyles for men that resulted in their beautiful locks of hair exceeding anything longer than 4cm in length. Also, let us not forget our Iranian friends who from 2010, banned all hairstyles that represented anything close to a Western-style type of cut. The 1980’s footballers favourite, the ‘Mullet’ was included in that list, and I’ll be honest; the Iranians may have been on to something there. I remember those haircuts. How often would we return from the match discussing the horror show we had just witnessed on the field, and we weren’t talking about the football. The thing is, Kim Jong-un, Enver Hoxha and the Iranian Culture Ministry held or hold a collective concern – Western imperialistic influence, or as Hoxha described it in his speech to the party faithful, the threat of the degenerated bourgeois culture.
We, as a country of sensible beings, can sit back and share a giggle or two over such subversive measures to rule countries and keep their populations in check. Heaven forbid that such outrageous rules and regulations could ever happen here – could it! Ah, well, yes, I’m afraid it could, and it does.
Headteachers across the land continue to send children home if their hairstyles do not meet the requirements of the school’s uniform policies because, according to the vast majority of those Headteachers, unruly hair results in unruly behaviour and disrupts lessons and learning. Please – What utter tripe! I echo the written words of Ross Morrison (TeacherToolkit) shouting from the rooftops – show me the money, or in this case – show me the evidence. There is no evidence. How could there be when the claims are so highbrow and ridiculous in the extreme.
The advent of academies and free schools have helped flood the field of reported draconian measures in controlling children, and so-called ‘hair control’ expresses the worse of them. At a time when we are trying to encourage children’s creativity in the classroom, we need to have a better understanding of what makes children tick. There is a reason why many children dislike school, and it’s not that there are too many rules. Rules are essential – but stupid rules, those same rules as they have in North Korea, Albania and Iran, prevent amongst other things, creativity. They prevent young people standing tall and screaming out to the world, Hey, this is me, and I feel good about myself.
At my school, there is indeed a uniform policy. We make no profit from it, and we subsidise those parents and carers where needed. It shows the local community that, here, we are a family, and it is our uniform that binds us together as one. But that is as far as it goes. I don’t give a damn what type of hairstyles my children decide to display. The funkier, the better.
As educationalists, it’s important to prepare our children for the world that awaits them. Maybe the ‘hair control’ headteachers are aware of something we aren’t! Are the worlds leading countries in anti-hair styling, about to launch an unprecedented invasion onto our shores. If it happens, I shall bow down on my knees and pay homage to their gifted hindsight, the Headteachers, not the North Koreans. Or maybe they’re merely preparing the children under their care to be worldly travellers. They wouldn’t want any of their ex-pupils languishing in a foreign jail hosted by those pesky hair control freaks…such bad publicity for the academies. Better to prepare them sooner rather than later.
Allow the children under our care to express themselves. Draconian policies across our schools produce socially inept and robotically taught young adults. What we should be doing is facilitating opportunities for our children to express themselves. As a bald man of some years, it pains me to say this, but, we should allow them if they so choose, to let their hair down.