As you go out to schools & centres you will find there is some variation in the dress code of each educational community. Here are some general guidelines to ensure you don’t make any easily avoidable blunders.

What to avoid:

  • Denim
  • Thongs/Flip-flops/Jandals
  • Sporting/Fitness wear – unless you are teaching PE and a few other exceptions
  • Ill-kept clothing
  • Ill-fitting, uncomfortable clothing

In some contexts you may consider covering/obscuring tattoos & it may be prudent to limit to size and number of piercings. In some settings, particularly early childhood and special educational schools dangling earrings could be an unnecessary risk.


Early Childhood Settings

Working with 0-5 year olds brings its own set of requirements and expectations.

What to wear:

  • Modest, functional clothing which covers your shoulders
  • Closed toe shoes
  • Have a sunsmart hat for outside times


Primary & Secondary Schools

What to wear:

  • Professional attire, eg.
    • Slacks & shirt (you may like to add a tie)
    • Skirt & blouse
  • Modest, comfortable & functional clothing
  • Closed toe shoes may be preferred or required in some contexts
  • Primary specific: Have a sunsmart hat at the ready for yard duty (Sept-April)

When you go into a school for the first time, put in a little extra effort, you can treat it like a job interview. Once you are there, the school may have a policy or dress code for the teachers that you can ask to read, you can also see what the staff wear and dress in a similar fashion next time. Bear in mind, your main guide should always be school policy. You may come across teachers wearing clothing or footwear (like thongs/flip-flops) that are not in line with school policy. Just because they are wearing it, doesn’t mean you can too.  

Some schools will have a very specific dress code and you will be informed if this is the case. Perhaps the female teachers are required to wear a skirt with a hemline below the knee or even to the ankle. Male teachers may be required to wear a tie.

You should always aim to dress a little neater and a little more professionally than the permanent staff, you should always be looking to make a favourable impression.


Special Educational Settings

SEN schools will each have their own requirements but overall you should find the following a good guide.

What to wear:

  • Clothing that is practical, modest, comfortable & does not restrict mobility
  • Closed toe shoes
  • Limited accessories – dangling jewellery can be a distraction & a safety issue
  • Have a sunsmart hat for outside times



What is a ‘sunsmart’ hat?

This is a hat which offers good protection from the sun, it must provide cover for the face and the back of the neck. Ideally, it will also cover the ears as well. The most suitable types of hats are either; wide-brimmed (many styles available), bucket (provided the hat sits low over the head – this can limit visibility), or a legionnaire hat (basically a cap with an additional flap to cover the neck).

For more information on sunsmart practices see: