In Béziers, more than 700 students are experimenting with “school uniform” as soon as they return from the winter holidays

Eager since 2014 to adopt the "school uniform", the town of Béziers (Hérault) of mayor Robert Ménard, formerly close to Marine Le Pen, is delighted with the experimentation with the "unique outfit", which will be worn from Monday February 26, the first day of the winter break, more than 700 students from four schools

In Béziers, more than 700 students are experimenting with “school uniform” as soon as they return from the winter holidays

Eager since 2014 to adopt the "school uniform", the town of Béziers (Hérault) of mayor Robert Ménard, formerly close to Marine Le Pen, is delighted with the experimentation with the "unique outfit", which will be worn from Monday February 26, the first day of the winter break, more than 700 students from four schools. If, ten years ago, “society did not seem ready”, “today everything has changed: the government supports the initiative and the councils” of four schools “from different neighborhoods have approved the launch of the "experiment", welcomed in a press release the town hall of this city of 78,000 inhabitants, which is breaking records in terms of social inequalities.

The 719 schoolchildren concerned, accompanied by their parents, were invited during the winter holidays to collect their "clothing kits" free of charge: a dark blazer with a personalized logo of their establishment, a sweater, two white polo shirts, a long pants plus Bermuda shorts and a skirt for girls. Their cost is 200 euros, divided equally between the city and the State.

“Béziers hopes to strengthen equality”

“The school needs strong symbols of which the uniform is a part,” declared Robert Ménard – formerly close to Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, two of the main figures of the far right in France –, who prefers the term from uniform to the official name of “unique outfit”.

For the city, which had its glory days thanks to rugby and the wine sector, both now in difficulty, these standardized clothes only present advantages including "less stress in choosing clothes in the morning" for the families.

“The choice to introduce uniforms in schools contributes to the fight against communitarianism and school harassment. By standardizing the appearance of students and reducing social distinctions, Béziers hopes to strengthen equality,” explains the municipality.

On the other hand, for the SE-UNSA union, it is a “facade response to a fundamental problem”, which “will in no way resolve the difficulties and failures of students” nor help teachers of Béziers, according to a press release.

On Monday, Mr. Ménard will attend the start of the school year in one of the pilot schools with the prefect of the department and the rector of the academy. At this stage, 92 establishments in France “have applied” for the experiment, a little less than the objective set by the government of 100 establishments, declared Monday morning the Minister of Education, Nicole Belloubet.

“What we would like to see is whether or not wearing the outfit can create serenity in the classroom, can calm the school climate. We know that we learn well when the climate is peaceful,” she insisted. “I saw that the town of Béziers was a candidate. The mayor of Béziers likes the media exposure, which he does. Others do the same thing while being more discreet,” she observed.

The “unique outfit” is an old topic in education debates in France, where uniforms have never been compulsory in public schools, including in the 20th century. The president, Emmanuel Macron, who is in favor, plans to generalize the “single outfit” in 2026, if the results of the experiment are conclusive.