August 11, 2020

Cayman Islands’ new National Dress Code Policy for 2018 School Year


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In consultation with the Education Council, the Ministry of Education revised the National Dress Code Policy for all Government Schools.

This policy takes effect the first day of September 2018. Students must also dress in accordance with their specific school’s uniform policy.  Take Pride in Your Stride is the campaign that will be utilised to encourage students to dress appropriately for school.

A dress code is a significant component in teaching students the important life skills of presenting themselves in a well-groomed manner and in dressing for purpose.  It also helps to instill in students a sense of pride and belonging.

The purpose of this policy is to outline the expectations that apply to all Government Schools in relation to the dress code. The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) is committed to working with the Department of Education Services (), parents, students and schools to develop welcoming, supportive and inclusive learning environments that promote the well-being of all students and staff.

Each individual school will still outline expectations with respect to their own uniform, in relation to the colour and style of socks, pants, skirts, shirts, blouses, belts, undershirts and required PE kit.

However the following are the dress code which shall apply to all Government schools:-

  • Uniforms should be properly fitting.
  • Skirts are required to be knee length and not above the knee •Pants are to be worn at waist height and shirts should be tucked in.
  • No undergarments should be exposed or visible through the uniform.
  • All students are required to wear black shoes/sneakers that do not contain other colours.
  • Boots, sandals and slippers are not allowed.
  • Students are permitted to wear a watch.  No other jewellery is allowed.
  • Items that display connection with gangs are not allowed e.g. badges, tattoos, colours or tagging.
  • Hair of female students should be groomed. Hair is required to be a natural colour, and extremes of hairstyles, such as a Mohawk, shaved lines/words, are not permitted. No beads should be worn in the hair.
  • In keeping with the cultural norms of the Cayman Islands, hair of male students should be cut short. Hair is required to be a natural colour, and extremes of hairstyles, such as a Mohawk, shaved lines/words, are not permitted.
  • Shaved eyebrows are not permitted.
  • Makeup, nail polish and false nails are not permitted.


School policies on dress must:

  • reflect the expectations that apply to all Government schools.

  • be developed collaboratively in partnership with key stakeholders.

  • adhere to standards of dress and appearance that are compatible with an effective learning environment.

  • be sensitive to gender and local cultural and social issues including cultural and religious diversity.

  • meet requirements of occupational and safety (see 1), anti-discrimination (see 2) and equal opportunity (see 3) legislation.

  • promote the health and safety of students by identifying items necessary for particular activities e.g. items for sun protection.

  • include items that are affordable, comfortable, made from easy-care and easy wear fabrics, appropriate for activity and suitable for all body shapes.

  • provide girls and boys with equal access to the full range of school activities.

  • include processes for short or long term exemptions.

  • be approved by the DES prior to implementation.


The Ministry of Education will:

  • Provide the policy expectations and supporting guidance to all relevant stakeholders.

  • Provide expectations in relation to each individual school’s dress code within the student code of conduct.

  • Provide expert advice to the DES to support the implementation of the policy by:

  • devising targeted training for DES and school staff in relation to the student code of conduct and dealing with incidents of non-compliance of the dress code.

  • providing the framework for schools to monitor compliance with the dress code and to use their data to inform associated improvement plans.

The Department of Education Services will:

  • Establish monitoring procedures to ensure school policies are compliant with policy expectations.

  • Ensure school polices are implemented and maintained.

  • Monitor the performance of schools in relation to implementing the dress code policy and work with school leadership teams to evaluate data to identify priorities for improvement.

  • Work collaboratively with other agencies and stakeholders to develop and maintain appropriate systems for supporting school discipline and student behaviour in relation to the dress code.

School leaders will:

  • Implement individual school student codes of conduct with respect to the dress code.

  • Monitor and review the provision, strategies and practice in their schools in relation to the dress code.

  • Maintain accurate school data to identify school trends and inform the allocation of resources.

  • Facilitate on-going professional development on issues relating to effective management of student behaviour to support compliance with expectations.

  • Be accountable to the DES for standards of student behaviour, discipline and achievement.

School staff will:

  • Effectively monitor and implement expectations about the dress code using the tiers of intervention.

  • Record and report data relating to non-compliance of the dress code as stated in the student code of conduct.

  • Manage the school environment effectively; clearly communicating measures to ensure good order, respect and discipline.


From time to time, individual parents or carers may seek variations in the dress code requirements or in exceptional circumstances, exemptions. Any variations or exemptions of the dress code should be agreed with the Principal.


Dealing with non-compliance regarding the dress code

Principals may be faced with conscientious or ‘principled’ objections by individual parents to their child’s adhering to the dress code, or of individual items specified within the dress code requirements.

Objections may be based on sensitive issues, such as religious, cultural or family traditions, family circumstances or financial issues that may not be disclosed readily. These objections must be respected. Non-confrontational approaches should be used to engage parents in clarifying the reasons for their objection. In such cases short-term variations or long-term exemptions may apply.

Where the health and safety of the student or of other students would otherwise be compromised, students may be excluded from certain educational activities.

Students may also be excluded from such activities if such student’s clothing compromises agreed-upon school community standards, as articulated in the school uniform requirements, and/or might be considered damaging to the image of the school in the larger community context.

However students are expected to conform to the dress code rules. If a student does not comply with expectations, without an exemption having been authorised, then consequences should be applied as described in the Student Code of Conduct-Teacher guidance or as follows:

  • First Offence: Speak to student (preferably in private) to encourage adhering to the dress code and inform parents/legal guardians in writing. If this offence involves the wearing of make-up or jewellery, both should be removed. School may also provide a loaned uniform for student to wear, depending on the breach.

  • Second Offence: Student to receive detention and parents to be informed via a phone call and a warning that a third offence will require the student to be sent home. If this offence involves jewellery, the jewellery is to be confiscated. The confiscated jewellery will be available for collection by a parent or legal guardian from the school office, after a time as determined by the Principal.

  • Third Offence: Student to be sent home and the Principal or relevant staff to meet with the parents/legal guardians regarding the issue. The absence should be recorded for each session missed by the student as a result of being sent home.

Recognising and encouraging the adhering to the dress code

Praise and recognition are strong motivators for students and positive approaches to recognise and encourage those students who adhere to the dress code. Rewards should be applied consistent with the Student Code of Conduct-Teacher Guidance or as follows:

  • formal recognition of students at assemblies or by other means.

  • reference to the uniform as part of recognition and promotion of the spirit of the school.

  • personal letters of acknowledgement to parents and students from the Principal.

  • positive comments in school reports about individual students who support the school ethos, have pride in their school and represent it well.

  • reminders to students in practical classes that standards of dress have been agreed upon for the health and safety of students.

  • for senior students, reference to the school as a workplace and reminding students of the standards valued by the broader community and in workplaces.

  • staff modelling of those standards.

  • involvement of student representative councils and other student bodies in developing, discussing and promoting the dress code.

  • consideration of alternative uniform items suggested by students which meet uniform requirements, but may be better styled, easier to look after, or more comfortable.



Health and Safety

The Ministry requires schools to identify any foreseeable hazard that has the potential to harm the health and safety of any person on its premises and to take steps to identify and eliminate or control such risks. A dress code policy must take into account these requirements. Examples of where a school has a duty to require a standard of dress in the educational setting include, but are not limited to:

  • requiring students to wear appropriate hairstyle, footwear, eyewear or other protective clothing so as to avoid injury.

  • requiring students to wear a hat for outside activities when appropriate.

  • requiring that jewellery or other items that could, with reasonable foreseeability, cause an injury to themselves or other students are not worn.

School staff have a responsibility to report potential and actual health, safety and welfare hazards to the Principal.



Anti-discrimination legislation within the makes it unlawful for schools to discriminate against students on grounds of race, gender, religion or disability. Two forms of discrimination are defined below:

  • Direct discrimination means treatment that is obviously unfair or unequal.

  • Indirect discrimination refers to a requirement, or rule, that is the same for everyone but has an unequal impact and is unreasonable in particular circumstances.

Both are contrary to the Bill of Rights within the Cayman Islands Constitution. Dress code policies should be developed with these requirements in mind. Flexibility must be used where implementation of the dress code affects some students unequally; for example, where an aspect of the dress code offends an ethno-religious belief held by students or parents. Other examples could include the disability or age of an individual student which requires a departure from an aspect of the dress code.


Equal opportunity

The implications of equal opportunity legislation are such that dress codes must enable both sexes to participate actively and safely in school life.


The entire policy can be found online at and all students and their families are encouraged to read it.

For more information contact Department of Education Services (DES) at 945-1199


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  1. […] Source: Cayman Eye News In consultation with the Education Council, the Ministry of Education revised the National Dress Code Policy for all Government Schools. This policy takes effect the first day of September 2018. Students must also dress in accordance with their specific school’s uniform policy.  Take Pride in Your Stride is the campaign… Link: Cayman Islands’ new National Dress Code Policy for 2018 School Year […]

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