Innaloo Catholic school gives girls short option

Josie Moran (y4), Arya Sims (y4), Charlotte Ryan (y4), Imogen Atkins (y4), Saige Riolo (y4), Harriette Berg (y6) and Ava Corke (y6). Photo: Martin Kennealey
Josie Moran (y4), Arya Sims (y4), Charlotte Ryan (y4), Imogen Atkins (y4), Saige Riolo (y4), Harriette Berg (y6) and Ava Corke (y6). Photo: Martin Kennealey

AN Innaloo Catholic school is the latest to offer an alternative uniform for girls as part of a growing national movement.

St Dominic’s School has introduced an option for female students to wear shorts for the first time.

Parents and Friends Association secretary Leesa Moran was inspired by the Girls’ Uniform Agenda, which aims to ensure girls at all schools have the choice to wear shorts or pants, and took the idea to the association.

President Helen Riolo knew first-hand how it would benefit students after a conversation with her daughter Saige last year.

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“She told me she forgot her bike pants under her skirt and couldn’t do cartwheels or play in the playground,” she said.

“I thought it was long overdue.”

Ava Corke, Olivia Hilderbrandt and Josie Moran spearheaded the campaign among fellow students.

While it was not financially viable for the school to offer the choice as part of the uniform process, Mrs Riolo said they overcame this by allowing parents to buy the shorts upfront.

She believed girls at the school were now feeling more confident and comfortable, including Saige, and encouraged other schools to follow suit.

“She said it’s much cooler for her when it’s hot and more importantly she has a choice,” she said.

“Even if it seems so hard, we need to do it for the next generation of girls.”

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Principal Leon Bolding said he was proud of the school community.

“Collectively, with the support of the parent community and the school board, we were able to overcome the challenges and find a way to provide our girls with a modern option that gave them an alternative choice to the traditional uniform,” he said.

A Catholic Education WA spokeswoman said it did not have figures on how many schools offered shorts options for girls as uniform policies were set independently by schools but supported policies that were “in the best interests of student learning”.