Claire Hale, of Leeds University, decided to pursue legal action after making representations to the department for education regarding her daughter, 13-year-old Jo Hale. Schools minister Charles Clarke told her he has no power to intervene, but he offered his 'sympathy' and has given what she considers the green light for a court challenge.
Jo, who attends Whickham Comprehensive in Gateshead, is demanding the same rights as boys at the school, with her mother's backing. 'Lots of us want to wear trousers and we just can't see why we're not allowed to', she said.
The school's governors insist that the trouser ban helps to 'promote the school as a centre of excellence' and 'reflects a well-ordered and high academic but caring ethos'. Head teacher John Lea said that if Whickham was guilty of discrimination then so were hundreds