Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: Back to School!

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This week heralds the start back to school across most of England (Wales, Scotland and N Ireland set their own school breaks). With small variations, state schools in England all started their summer holidays around the 19th July and went back this week giving them six weeks of summer bliss!

But September always makes me remember that going back to school feeling and how it was a time to put on the new school uniform. Crisp new shirts, skirts, jumpers and shoes, while the old tie would be fished out of the cupboard and dusted off ready to use for another year.

Yes, I wore a school uniform at secondary school from the age of 11 to 16 including a tie – tied short and thick or long and thin depending on the fashion at that time! You can see my school tie in the photo included.

Here in Germany of course, a uniform is practically unknown, but in the UK it is the standard for most state schools – primary and secondary – and private schools usually have even stricter uniform requirements.

I found this quote on the Department of Education’s website, as part of guidelines regarding uniforms for schools: “ The Department strongly encourages schools to have a uniform as it can play a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.“

As a child, I didn’t really enjoy wearing a uniform and we all had a lot of fun expressing our individuality on those days when we would pay – for a good cause – for non-uniform days. But it certainly made getting ready for school simple. There was never a discussion about what could or could not be worn! Navy skirt, pale blue shirt, navy jumper and tie. Every. Single. Day. And now I can admit that there were occasions when I would be proud of my grammar school uniform especially when it was recognised by people I passed on the street. There is definitely a feeling of representing the school itself even when you are not on school premises. I often describe it as the control of the school, with regards to discipline and being part of the school community, stretches from the school building itself all the way back to your home and the moment you step out of your front door you are connected to the school.

A uniform is expected to be fair to both genders (although many schools still have a girl uniform and a boy uniform), not cost too much (so a basic range of colours are usually chosen which would be available in standard items of clothing at more reasonably priced shops), and respect religious requirements such as a Sikh wearing a turban.

My connection to my school colours has never left me and I still feel nostalgic when I see those familiar blue and green stripes.


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?