I would like to see changes to the existing School Admission Code regarding school uniform.

I have no desire to see school uniforms abolished but would like to see amendments to Code so that parents are given more choice about where to purchase their child’s uniform. Currently, schools are flouting the code by having sole supplier arrangements, either selling the uniform through their own school shop or through a selected sole retailer.

An argument put forth by schools that sole suppliers ensure that the uniforms provided are better quality and fully comply with school policy is weak and patronizing. The quality issue is important, however, I was taught to look for the best value for money not necessarily the cheapest product/service but the best your budget will afford. In my experience the items offered by the specialist uniform shops have been no better quality or value for money than the equivalent item purchased from the high street. The only noticeable difference is the price, paying between 25% and 50% more at the specialist retailer.

If parents were given clear guide lines regarding the colour, style etc of the uniform decided by school, I am sure that parents would ensure that their purchases complied with the school uniform policy.

The current trend by schools to have virtually every piece of the school uniform emblazoned with the school emblem also adds unnecessary additional costs. The emblem cannot be seen when the uniform is worn correctly and can only surmise that the emblem is only added to ensure that the uniform can only be purchased from the selected supplier. If schools are adamant that uniform items should have the school emblem on, parents should be offered the option of sewn/iron on badges.

The debate about school uniform costs has been ongoing for years and schools have failed to meet the guidelines and the politicians have failed to intervene. The guidelines in the School Admission Code have been ignored and flouted by schools long enough and it is now time to make schools follow the rules.

Why is this idea important?

The cost of school uniform has been a concern for parents for many years and in this current climate everyone’s budget is stretched further, parents should be able to purchase uniform from any retailer whilst meeting the school uniform policy and their household budget.

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