Principal’s Assembly 26 Sept 2018

Does it matter what we wear?

Hands up if you think our clothes are important? Hands up now if you think not?

I’m going to give you 30 seconds to think about the question, then some time to talk to your partner about your ideas and then we’ll share some ideas as a group.Think really carefully about the question! How important are our clothes?

(In italics below are some of the many ideas raised by our Key Stage 2 children:

  • If you’re homeless or cold, having clothes really matters.
  • Who makes the clothes or how expensive they are doesn’t matter.
  • Making sure we are smart is important so people don’t think the school is scruffy.)

Quite rightly, you’ve taken the question to many different levels. On many levels, what we wear doesn’t matter at all. However, we can learn a lot about people and their personality through how they dress.

I’ve brought along a few items of clothing that might tell you more about me. Sometimes it will be superficial – what do we mean by that? – and sometimes it will tell you much more about me as a person.

(In italics are some of the thoughts of our children.)

Burnley FC shirt

Is it West Ham? You like football. You’re from Burnley?

In fact, my family comes from Burnley. For me, it is important to remember where we come from. For some of the children in the room, your families don’t come from Leeds, Pudsey or Bradford. When you get home, ask about where your family does come from.

Running shoes

They smell! You like running. You like keeping fit.

All three of those ideas are correct. Staying fit and healthy is so important. Look at the name of the manufacturer. I’ve worn the same brand for 20 years. This allowed us to discuss the importance of loyalty in friendship.

Wedding Ring

Why do people of many faiths wear a ring when they get married? What is it about the shape of a ring that’s symbolic?

It didn’t take long for the pupils to work out the symbolism of the never-ending circle!

Rugby shirt

More sport! Rugby?

Yes, definitely rugby. The shirt comes from the time when I had a boarding house of 50 teenage boys in York. Can you guess the name of the school from the badge? This proved tricky but we eventually worked out the cross keys of St Peter.

More importantly, I was wearing this shirt when I had my first photo taken with baby Megan!

Big chorus of “Aaaahs” from the children.

Dog walking coat

Everyone knew this and most have met my daft Cockapoo, Hetty. We did have a useful conversation about how the dog walking helps me get fresh air but is actually necessary to meet the basic needs of a dog!

England cricket sunhat

You really do love sport!

Yes, and I really love cricket, but I chose this hat because I always go to a day at the Headingley test match with a friend I’ve known for 20 years. It’s the only time I wear the hat and it reminds me of him. Hopefully we’ll still be going in another 20 years!

USA tie

You love America! Yes, and I even taught there in 2006.

Everyone knows the Stars and Stripes tie but does anyone know why there are 13 stripes and 50 stars on the flag? We got there in the end!

Democrat donkey and Republican elephant

Not clothes, I know, but cuddly toys. They represent the two main groups of people who want to be American President. Next time I am here for Assembly, I want to talk to you about one man who did become President – and he has an incredible story.


These are my cufflinks with the crest of my university on them. I went to university in a place called Durham. At university, you just get to study the one or two subjects that you really love. What do you think I studied? Politics. Why do you think I wear these cufflinks? To remind you of Politics? Yes, I loved every minute of studying it. To remind you of a long time ago? Cheeky, but, yes! To remind me of all the amazing people I met and I’m still friends with.

Final thoughts:

What we own or what we wear are not really important.
Who we are and how we treat other people are very important.

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