SCHOOL uniforms have always been a vexed issue. School pupils always like to bend and break the rules so guidance in black and white is necessary.

Schools have a right to set down the basic principles of their uniform, of its colour, of the length of skirt, of size of tie knot. And, as uniforms are designed to be smart but not showy, for tights to be plain black and not patterned.

But should it be right for tights to be mandatory for girls “for modesty and decency purposes”, as the headteacher of Darlington’s Longfield School says in a text?

On what grounds is it judged that it is indecent for girls not to wear tights? Most western societal norms nowadays have no problem with females having uncovered legs – indeed, when Labour’s Angela Rayner was accused of distracting Boris Johnson by showing a bit of leg at the Despatch Box, it was ridiculed as an out-of-date notion.

All of society’s recent movements have been towards allowing girls and women to wear what they like, and for males to moderate their behaviour accordingly. Are female pupils to be told what to cover up for the sake of modesty – doesn’t that sound like the beginning of restrictions imposed on women elsewhere in the world?

Finally, a school uniform should above all be practical and comfortable. Is obliging girls to wear black tights in the height of summer acceptable when cool legs are acceptable in practically every walk of life from primary school onwards?

The text message is apparently part of a consultation. It will be fascinating to see what uniform guideline that consultation creates.