Under the School Uniforms Act 2021, school uniforms will be made more affordable for families and branded items will be kept to a minimum. Schools must follow guidelines to keep uniform prices lower.
Instead of being forced to buy more expensive brand name clothing, a change in the law allows parents to buy cheaper supermarket / high street clothing instead.
This can easily save households hundreds of pounds a year!
The average cost of a school uniform is £ 337 for each child and £ 315 for elementary school age children, according to the Children’s Society.
Under the new Education (Guidelines on the Cost of School Uniforms) Act 2021, schools must consider much cheaper alternatives for the main drag, try to get the best possible value from supplies, and avoid having a single supplier. This will help parents ensure they are getting the best overall value.
The guidelines apply to academies, operating schools, non-operating special schools and student referral centers in England and Wales.
There is also a proposal to promote used uniforms that I know many schools and PTAs are already doing.
While parliament passed the law on April 29, the guidelines will be published this autumn. It will focus on making sure parents get the best value for money.
What happened before
You may not have noticed, but there were guidelines on school uniforms previously, but these weren’t required by law. This means schools could ignore it if they wanted to. And many did.
The schools then chose the school uniform they wanted. This could result in some children wearing branded blazers, ties, sweaters, shirts, specialty pants and skirts, and PE kits.
And the cost was high!
I mean, why does a kid have to wear a specific shirt with a logo (£ 25- £ 30 per pair) when you can get a double pack of shirts for £ 6 at the grocery store?
I understand that uniforms give identity and the other arguments they make, but it’s too expensive.
If you look at secondary schools, it’s horrible to think that some parents have been deterred from sending their child there because of uniform costs.
However, it is sad to know that it is true. You will know that it takes an arm and a leg to send your child to school with fancy branded goods. Parents don’t have the money, so choose a cheaper school.
This change in the law means that uniform costs will not prevent families from applying to the school they want and that it will be fairer for everyone.
Nick Gibb, Minister for School Standards, said:
“School uniforms are important in establishing the right ethos in a school. They also help improve behavior, as well as a sense of belonging and identity. However, we want to make sure they are affordable for parents.
“This new law will help save families money and ensure that the cost of a blazer or shirt is never a barrier to access to the best possible education.”
Can I get help with school uniform costs?
If you’re struggling to pay for school uniforms, there are government grants for school uniforms, but it’s sort of a zip code lottery.
We have also found other unified grants in the past, although you will typically need to receive certain benefits.