GIRLS will be banned from wearing skirts at their south Essex school next year – to end time-wasting disputes with teachers if pupils show too much thigh.

Eastwood Academy headteacher Neil Houchen says his trousers-only policy will avoid disputes over hemlines and save staff wasting time enforcing uniform rules.

He explained: “A lot of the girls wear trousers already. I have no issue with skirts. I just have an issue with how they are sometimes worn.”

School policy is for skirts to be knee-length, but pupils nationwide flout the rules and hike their hemlines.

Mr Houchen added: “Some pupils break the rules and then we have to impose detentions or put them on report, which wastes teachers’ time.”

Mr Houchen said before banning skirts, he had sought advice from the head of Kesgrave High School, Suffolk, the first in the country to do so, in 2004.

He added: “I know the headteacher there and he told me banning them saved an awful lot of time and resources which could be better spent on other things.”

Mr Houchen believes the school, in Rayleigh Road, Eastwood, will be the first in Southend to bring in a ban. It is due to start next September.

He said the move had been backed by 95 per cent of the academy’s student council. Parents were also e-mailed a questionnaire and had backed the move.

Mr Houchen added: “We had a 26 per cent response from parents. Anything over ten per cent is significant.

“Some parents had told us they have a similar problem with their children so it wasn’t a shock they were were in favour of the change.”