Uniforms are a great way to reduce the pressure of peers at school to wear the latest clothing and make children feel prepared and settled for school. However, they can be expensive for parents. School uniforms offer a practical solution to this dilemma, promoting equality and a sense of unity among students while alleviating the financial burden on families.

We have published important guidelines this week on how parents and schools can work together to reduce the cost of uniforms.

Here’s everything you need to Know about your child’s uniform.

What Is The School Uniform Policy?

Individual schools can decide to have a uniform or not. What ever they decide, the policy should be fair to all.

Uniforms give students a feeling of belonging. They can help foster a positive learning environment, and promote a school’s ethos.

What Should The Cost Of School Uniforms Be?

There will be variations, but in general, no uniform should cost so much that it prevents students or their families from applying to or attending a school they choose.

What Is The New Uniform Guidance?

We just released guidance on how to keep uniform costs down in schools.

Schools will have to reduce costs by removing unnecessary brand items, and offering more options from the high street, such as supermarket own-label clothing.

As the guidelines are a statutory requirement, all schools must now ensure that their uniform policies are in compliance with them.

This guide contains the following key points:

  • Parents shouldn’t have to consider the cost of uniforms when choosing which schools to apply to. Schools should make their uniforms affordable.
  • When calculating the cost, schools should consider the total cost for uniforms and clothing, including all the items that parents need to buy their children.
  • When developing a uniform policy, schools should consult with parents and students.
  • The uniform policy of a school should be posted on its website and easily understandable to all parents including those who are interested in enrolling their children.
  • All parents should be able to buy second-hand uniforms from schools. Parents can be directed to a second-hand uniform scheme already in place by schools, or the school can create their own.
  • The school website should provide parents with information on used uniforms.

Our guidance clarifies that, even though parents may be required to purchase branded school uniforms for their children in some cases, they should not do so.

  • The use of brand-named items should be kept to a minimum by schools. It is recommended that schools limit branding to items with a long lifespan or are low cost. This means parents can buy uniforms from a variety of stores.
  • It is necessary to buy branded items from specific shops, but it will also be expected that schools give the most importance to cost and value when selecting suppliers.

Does The School Need To Take Into Account Religious Beliefs When It Comes To Uniforms?

We believe schools should be welcoming to all religions, and should provide a safe space where students can freely express their religious views.

Schools must be sensitive to different cultures, races, and religions, and should act in a reasonable manner to accommodate these needs without compromising school policies such as safety and discipline.

We recommend that schools take into account the opinions of both parents and students, and that their policies be flexible enough to meet the needs of all pupils.

The school governors must be open to reasonable requests to modify the uniform policy to accommodate a pupil’s religion, ethnicity or disability.

What Will Happen If An School Does Not Appear To Follow The Rules?

The school must follow the guidelines.

Parents who are concerned about their child’s school not following the guidelines should contact the school through its published complaint process.

Parents who feel that their school has not addressed their concerns adequately after going through the complaints process may bring this to the Department of Education.