News | 18 January 2022

Why our school rules include a dress code

There have been many reports in the media about the IES dress code. As we received many questions we asked IES’s Head of Education (Skolchef) Robin Kirk Johansson (right) to tell us a little more about what it means.


“According to the Education Act (Skollagen), all schools must have rules that are prepared together with the students. For us, it is part of our effort to create a safe school with a focus on learning” says Robin Kirk Johansson.

At Internationella Engelska Skolan, we see the school as a workplace where everyone behaves in a way that creates the best possible conditions for teaching and learning. We treat others as we want to be treated - with respect and support. We keep our school clean, calm and safe. We arrive on time for school and for all school activities. We walk indoors. Electronic equipment that can interfere with the teaching is kept in our lockers during school hours. We dress in a way that is suitable for a workplace. We do not bring drugs, weapons or other illegal objects to school. We only eat in the dining room or in the cafeteria. We contribute to a calm and inviting environment in the lunch room. We always behave honestly, with integrity and we do not cheat.

The school rules, which are developed together with the students at each school, give great individual freedom in each student’s choice of clothes, and this is true whatever their gender identity.

Ms Kirk Johansson explained: ”The starting point for our school rules is that the school environment should feel safe for all students. For example, it can be about not wearing a shirt with offensive messages, drug advertisements, pictures of weapons, sexist messages or those which incite anger against ethnic groups.”

The IES website says that you should dress for a workplace, but who decides what that means in practice and how does it work?

Ms Kirk Johansson said: “Each principal interprets and formulates their school's rules together with the students, usually through the student council. This means that it can look a little different in different schools.

“When working with children, and in the school world, you may need to give concrete examples to explain abstract concepts. Principals and staff at our schools take joint responsibility for creating a dialogue with students and their families about the rules of order at the start of school and throughout the year.”

The school's task is to prepare students for life in many areas, and to support them as individuals, in close cooperation with their families.

“Of course, everyone should feel safe and understand why the school rules exist, to foster a school environment with a focus on learning. It is a central part of IES's operations and our mission as educators and greatly informs our pedagogic system.” Said Ms Kirk Johansson.

It's about mutual respect

The curriculum sets out that the school prepares students for adulthood. IES school rules state that we dress in a way that is suitable for a workplace.

It is about mutual respect, between students and between teachers and students.

That is also why we have school rules that say that everyone should dress in a way that is not offensive to other students.

“Predictability in the rules that apply, as well as security and order, are central creating a safe environment, which we know that most people within IES appreciate so much” Ms Kirk Johansson concludes.