A-hem! Ulster school cracks down on girls' short skirts
One of Ulster's most prestigious schools has struck a blow for schoolgirl decency - by slapping a ban on black stockings, rolled up skirts and high heels.
Methodist College Belfast is set to introduce a new uniform policy to bring down its pupils' hem lines and heel heights.
The move comes after young girls attending the renowned south Belfast school attracted unwanted attention earlier this year when a debate on the way some wear their uniform was sparked by the Belfast Telegraph.
Our features editor and columnist Gail Walker caused controversy when she accused Methody pupils of "tottering around Belfast looking like a take-off of the old saucy schoolgirl joke" through wearing sheer black stockings, micro skirts and high heels.
The school has now clamped down on the problem by bringing in new uniform regulations for the forthcoming academic year.
The rules state that the girls' skirts must be knee-length, tights must be at least 60 denier and shoes must be flat or no higher than two inches.
Parents have even been given a diagram outlining the new policy to ensure their daughters comply.
No-one could be contacted for comment at Methody last night as the school was closed.
However, Alison Loughlin of the Parents Forum, who has a son studying at Methody, welcomed the new policy and said other schools should take note.
"This is back to basics. Having a uniform and having it standardised is good," she told Radio Ulster's TalkBack programme.
"It should be across all schools. Methody girls aren't the only girls who roll up their skirts. I don't think it's fair to target these girls."
Ms Loughlin said it was also important for all pupils to remember that they are ambassadors for their school when they are out and about in uniform.
Methody, as the college which is located close to Queen's University is commonly known, is one of Northern Ireland's leading grammar schools and has around 1,850 pupils.
It is understood that the new uniform policy was drawn up by
Scott Naismith, formerly the head of Regent House School in Newtownards, who has joined the college as its new principal.