Make Up and Nails: FAQ

The school has specific rules regarding the wearing of make-up, nail varnish and nail extensions.

We want students to focus on their learning, and to get on well with others in their classes and at social times.  We do not want to encourage an environment where students are competing in terms of their appearance or how “fashionable” they look. 

Make-Up (Years 7-9)

Make-up is not permitted in Years 7- 9 (without exception). It is not deemed appropriate or necessary for students aged 11-14 to wear make-up in the school work environment for the reasons stated above.  We also know that make-up could provide a distraction during lesson time given that younger students may be tempted to remove items from their bags to ‘top up’ or ‘reapply’.  This would affect the learning and concentration of others. 

As make-up is not permitted, tutors are provided with make-up wipes and will ask students in Years 7-9 to remove make-up during tutor time.  Students will be sent to the Year Team or school office at other times of the day if they are found to be wearing make-up.  If make-up is applied during the day, other sanctions may apply such as detentions. For repeated offences, this will be treated as defiance and the appropriate disciplinary measures taken.

If students are found to have items of make-up in their bags or on their person, the Year Team will remove these so that students are not tempted to use the items during the school day. These may be kept until the end of the day or until the end of the week (depending on the individual case).

Make-Up (Years 10 -11)

Years 10 and 11 students may apply ‘light touch’ make-up if they wish to do so.  This follows requests from school council and supported by parents/carers during consultation through the school flyer.  This means Years 10 and 11 students can wear make-up that is not noticeable to the observer e.g. light moisturising foundation, light mascara, clear lip balm.  This concession is to recognise them as senior students in the main school and to support the transition to post 16 education or work.
However, where a student abuses this privilege and wears too much make-up, then sanctions will follow and the student’s concession will be withdrawn. False eyelashes are not acceptable for school.

Nail Varnish and Nail Extensions

Students will often say that nail varnish is a way to express individuality and/or enhance the attractiveness of their hands. Many would like to wear bright garish colours as fashions change.
This is, like eye-catching make-up, not appropriate for the working environment in school.  We do not want to encourage an environment where students are competing in terms of their appearance or how “fashionable” they look. 

In addition, we are aware that nail varnish or extensions can pose risks for students undertaking practical work in certain subjects. 

Students wearing nail varnish/extensions involved in food preparation and cooking in technology lessons can (especially when inexperienced and learning “how to”), contaminate food with chippings of nail varnish or parts of nail extensions.  Long false nails or extensions can be trapped or ripped moving round the school through doors and corridors, causing considerable pain and upset.  They can cause harm to others in eg PE games or drama practical work.  These are situations which are easily avoided.

If a student comes to school wearing nail varnish, they will be asked by their tutor or their year team to remove it immediately with nail polish remover.
If a student comes to school with nail extensions they will be isolated during break and lunch time to minimize risk until the extensions are removed.

Post 16 students

There are no restrictions on post 16 students wearing make-up or nail varnish reflecting their extra freedom and responsibility as young adults within the school.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why can’t my child use make-up to express his/her personality and individuality?
School is a formal setting (just like a place of work or business) where students should be treated equally and have equal access to attention and support from staff.   We do not want to encourage an environment where students are competing in terms of their appearance or how “fashionable” they look.   We have agreed light touch make up in Years 10 and 11; however, if students abuse this privilege and start using this for "fashion" purposes, then this privilege is withdrawn for these individuals.

Students very often claim that their make-up sets them apart from others and is an expression of individuality when actually they are simply conforming to the expectations of their peer group. Many teenage boys and girls use make-up as a mask to hide their true features and feelings. This is not something that can be encouraged by the school; we want to build the confidence of young people so that they do not feel the need to ‘hide’.

My child has bad spots and wears make-up to hide it. S/he’s self conscious without it. Can exceptions be made in these cases?
Make-up is not accepted within school for Years 7 - 9, and for those with a skin problem, can compound the problem. However, ‘cover-up’ or other cream that is not readily detectable as make-up but helps the student feel that teenage acne is less obvious may be worn after consultation with the Year Team. Please note that such concessions will be removed should an individual abuse this.

Why can’t my child wear nail extensions/varnish when s/he says everyone else is doing so?
Students often use this as their first defense with parents/carers and members of staff. Invariably, the truth is that everyone else is not being allowed to break the rules that also apply to your child.  Where there are students wearing nail varnish/extensions then they will also be dealt with.

However, the school is not at liberty to discuss the sanctions and issues regarding another child with you or your child.  In the same way, we will not discuss issues to do with your child with others. 

Why can’t my daughter have clear/polished nail extensions?
As previously stated, long nail extensions pose a risk when a student is engaged in physical activity or taking part in specific subjects within the curriculum. If one is ripped off or brushes another student, this can result in painful cuts and rips to the skin.  In addition, the school does not want to encourage an environment where such “additions” to appearances are taken as the norm.