New affordable school uniform guidance to be rolled out to schools
From today, new legally-binding guidance for school uniforms will be rolled out to schools across England aimed at ensuring uniforms are affordable for families.
After our successful campaigning and a Private Members Bill from Mike Amesbury MP, new legislation passed in April 2021 requiring the Government to introduce guidance for schools to make costs a primary consideration in developing their school uniform policies.
This guidance is published today, with schools required to implement it by the new school year in Autumn 2022 and being fully compliant by Summer 2023 if existing contracts are in place.
We found that parents are spending on average £337 per year on uniform for each child at secondary school, while parents of primary school children spend £315 on average — three times what they feel is reasonable for school uniforms.
Many schools insist parents buy expensive branded items, often from a single supplier, when unbranded kit would be far cheaper. Our research found that when parents have to buy two or more items from a specific shop, the average cost of a primary school uniform is around 50% more expensive.
With the guidance going to schools we will be working with them to make sure students and parents are consulted on their school uniform policies.
Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:
“For too many years the cost of school uniform has been a heavy financial burden on many families, causing money worries and even debt, so these new guidelines to make sure school uniforms are affordable are extremely welcome.
“Until now, too many parents have had to fork out for expensive branded items rather than cheaper alternatives, while having to cut back on essentials like food or heating, just to make ends meet.
“We’re really encouraged by the guidance, which includes keeping branded items to a minimum, having second-hand uniform options, and consulting with students and parents about their thoughts on school uniform policies.
“We hope schools are able to start working with the guidance, which should ultimately make it much easier for families to kit out their children for school without breaking the bank.”
Young person, Alicia, 19, from Essex, said:
‘The financial pressure of school uniforms has been a burden for families for years now; finally the tables have been changed and it’s one less pressure taken off the pressures of growing up.’
‘It’s great to know that young people growing up in a low income background won’t have the same situation as me with having to wear the same pieces of uniform for five years just because it was too expensive to buy new items.’