Unions noted the Government is late to help less well off families, as many schools have been striving to drive uniform costs down for years
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A plan for schools to remove brands from their uniforms to make them more affordable for parents has been published by the Government today.
From next year, the Department for Education has ordered schools to ensure uniform costs are reasonable, and parents get the best value for their money.
So parents getting their kids ready for autumn 2022 will be able to access uniforms from a wide range of high-street options, like supermarket own-brand uniforms.
And DfE officials have urged schools to make second-hand uniforms more available for families too.
According to The Children’s Society, 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.
The Mirror has previously heard from one parent who said they spent £850 on school uniform for her two children last year.
She said: “Whilst I know it’s important for a school uniform to have the logo on it and have some branding, some schools have almost everything branded and so we have no choice but to buy from their supplier.
“Last year my son’s secondary school uniform totalled an eye watering £650.
“My daughter’s uniform was around £200.”
Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “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.
“So 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.”
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “[School uniform] must never be a burden for parents or a barrier to pupils accessing education.
“This new binding guidance will help to make uniforms far more affordable for families by driving costs down as we work hard to level up the country.”
“To support families, schools will have to make sure second-hand uniforms are available.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We fully support this guidance. Many schools have a uniform policy in order to give students a sense of identity and pride in their school, and to avoid the pressure children would feel if there was no policy and their peers wore expensive items and fashions they could not afford.
“However, schools are acutely aware of the need to keep uniform costs to a minimum, particularly as they often have many students who come from disadvantaged homes.
“They deal on a daily basis with the impact of the high level of child poverty the Government has failed to address.”