A HIGH school has defended its trousers-only uniform rule for girls after criticism of the policy from a national group.

All Saints’ Catholic High School in Rawtenstall introduced the rule after a uniform review in 2005 and head teacher said the ban on skirts has continued ‘without incident’ since.

Newly launched website www.schoolskirtban.co.uk has claimed there are 41 schools nationwide with a trousers-only rule for girls.

In East Lancashire, only All Saints is named as having such a policy.

Head teacher Tim Beesley, said: “It was before my time here but I’m told the there was a uniform review in 2005 which brought in other changes such as getting rid of school ties and introducing polo shirts and fleeces.

“There has been another comprehensive review since then and the policy was retained. We have an excellent record of consultation at the school and parents were fully involved in the process.

“The issue has not been raised while I have been head.”

A spokesman for the anti-skirt ban group, which is campaigning for girls to be given the choice of wearing skirts, said schools were being ‘hypocritical’.

He said: “Were a company to threaten to sack female staff that would not wear a shirt, tie, jacket and trousers on a daily basis, it would lay itself open to prosecution for indirect sexual discrimination.

“Yet a growing number of secondary schools impose just such a restriction on their female pupils, while hypocritically exempting their female staff from having to comply with the same dress code as male teachers. “ In November, All Saints’ was praised by inspectors for making ‘significant improvement in many areas’.

An Ofsted report rated it as good for the majority of areas, including curriculum, pupil safety, behaviour and contributing to the wider community.