Schools ‘must keep uniform costs down’

school uniform costs

school uniform costsKeeping the cost of school uniform down is the "moral responsibility" of headteachers, council leaders have claimed.

Parents who are struggling financially should not have to spend large amounts on pricey uniforms because their child is attending a new free school or a "rebranded" and converted academy, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

The LGA acknowledged that families do not have endless amounts of money that they can use to buy uniform, and it called on schools to minimise costs.

With blazers, trousers, shorts, skirts, blouses, jumpers and shoes named as essentials - not to mention the PE kit and other items - parents are really having to fork out to dress their children.

And with kids growing by the second, it's likely new garments will have to be bought on a yearly basis.

Call for sew-on logos

According to recent figures, more than 50% of secondary schools in England have completed a conversion to academy status.

Meanwhile, about 50 free schools are set to start welcoming pupils this month and 24 free schools opened last year.

A free school is one which is set up by groups including parents, teachers and charities.

The LGA advised that schools altering their uniform, such as a newly converted academy which decides to alter its emblem, should only alter one or two items, or offer sew-on logos.

According to the association, the typical secondary school uniform now costs more than £200, while parents with children at primary school must pay about £160.

Parental influence

Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, Councillor David Simmonds, said dozens of schools across Britain are changing they name or identity in the current education landscape.

He said: "It is understandable that many will want to mark this, but they need to remember that parents do not have an endless pot of cash for new school clothing.

"After already forking out for a whole new uniform when their children started primary or secondary school the last thing parents want to hear is that they will have to foot the bill for entirely different uniforms, sometimes just 12 months later.

"Headteachers have a moral responsibility to minimise any additional costs that occur because they change their name or status, for whatever reason."

"That can be achieved by staying close to an existing colour scheme, changing one item only such as a tie, or allowing parents to sew new badges and logos onto clothes.

"Offering uniforms from a number of retailers and making it easier to attach logos to widely available clothing also lets schools keep their individuality while bringing in the necessary competition to keep costs down."

Coun Simmonds added that parents can influence schools' choice of uniform, and must question the school if they regard the uniform as too pricey or hard to obtain.

It was suggested by the LGA that to keep the cost of uniform down, schools must opt for clothes that are widely available and pick logos and emblems that can be purchased as iron-on or sew-on patches.

Schools should choose a colour scheme instead of a full uniform and must give parents the chance to buy and sell items. They must and also use a plain PE kit that can be used for a variety of sports, the LGA said.

There are plenty of ways to save on school supplies as you try to kit out your little ones for the new term.