High heels
Australian school Girton Grammar teaches its female students how to wear heels in 'etiquette' classes.Reuters

An Australian school has come under fire for running an "etiquette" class where high heels are compulsory for girls.

Bendigo's Girton Grammar, a Christian school, offered a workshop dedicated to "deportment and presentation skills, including how to manage wearing high heels," reports ABC. The class is attended by secondary students - year 11 and 12, putting them around 16 and 17 years old.

Some have complained in a formal letter addressed to the school, describing the class as "archaic and wrong."

According to ABC, it is perceived by both parents and attending students as a waste of school resources and tuition fees.

"Mum and Dad are not keen on paying pretty hefty fees and lots of extras for me to learn how to wear heels," one student said.

One student's parent came to the defnece of the school, which has refused to comment itself. "To me, it's a storm in a teacup," says Helen Bodycomb, who thinks her daughter should take part in the class if she wishes to. "I wish someone had shown me how to walk in high heels."

A former student from the same region talked to ABC. She also had to attend these etiquette classes. "Teaching young women to wear heels and saying it's a necessity is actually sexualising young women," she said.

She went on to explain that such classes' insistence on dress-code put pressure on their students. Namely that it would affect the young women's ability to find jobs later in life. "It was certainly implied that you either conform or you miss out," she said.

A former Girton student argued that the school was doing its bit to fight gender stereotypes. "Girton Grammar school has done nothing but encourage students to break gender bias and the girls that did not want to participate in the class for wearing high heels did not have to."

This follows criticism of the school in 2016 for ejecting a gay former student from a function because he was not adhering to the dress code.

Angus McCormak recalled: "I was approached by the deputy head at the aisle and without even greeting me she told me I was 'inappropriately dressed' and commanded that I 'leave the event'."

Angus' father, Chris McCormak, resigned from the school board there and then: "I think that it is a poor reflection on what the school espouses as its values, which in this case appear to be nothing more than platitudes," he has told ABC.

Etiquette and protocol coach William Hanson told IBtimes UK that he didn't think such a class was wrong, as "girls of that age do have a tendency to wear heels in their social lives." He added: "I would rather see young ladies walking elegantly than falling about the place looking like herds of inebriated gazelles."

According to Hanson, it is posture rather than gender roles that are at stake, for: "proper posture - when walking and when seated - is vital for making a good first and last impression." Mr Hanson believes "all students of all ages and genders" should learn how to manage their postures.