Two Northland secondary schools have turned a contentious fashion item into a uniform standard with mixed results.

While some schools fight the wearing of beanies, Northland College and Bream Bay College have embraced the garment as part of their winter uniform.

The beanie debate was highlighted recently when a Whangarei Girls' High school father became irate after principal Lyn Sneddon removed one from his daughter's head as she walked to school.

However, Ms Sneddon said the hat was removed because it was not in regulation style and colour. The school uniform did allow the wearing of approved hats.

Bream Bay College principal Wayne Buckland said a black beanie with a school logo, as well as a school scarf, had been introduced last winter due to student demand.

Officially the beanie wearing was still on trial and would be retracted if students started wearing non-regulation hats.

Meanwhile, the response at Northland College when beanie wearing was legalised provided an interesting case study in reverse psychology.

Northland College principal Jim Peters said beanie wearing had mysteriously become less popular after the school endorsed it.

Both schools allow students to wear beanies to and from school and during school breaks.

However, four other schools spoken to did not allow beanie wearing, even if it was just to and from school.

Whangarei Boys' High School headmaster Al Kirk said it was not cold enough in Northland to warrant a beanie as part of the school uniform.

"I walk to school at 7.15am every day. I manage to make it and I have a shorter hair cut than most. Do we revise the whole uniform just because of a few cold mornings?"

Kamo High School principal Richard Abel also said his school did not allow beanies to be worn before or after school.

"It's just as important students wear uniform when they walk to and from school because that is when they are seen by the community."

Pompallier College principal Chris Lynch said the school uniform was warm enough without hats.

Tikipunga High School principal Bernie Taffs said while the school discouraged the wearing of beanies it was unlikely to object to a student wearing one on the way to school on a cold day.

"You have to balance uniform requirements with common sense in regard to student health in winter."

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE (WHANGAREI)