Why school uniforms are set to be cheaper for parents from next Autumn

Schools in England will be required to keep uniform costs down by removing unnecessary branded items from next autumn.

The Department for Education (DfE) will instruct schools today (19 November) to ensure that uniforms are affordable.

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Schools are expected to have taken steps to adhere to the guidance before parents buy uniform for the academic year beginning in September 2022.

What are the new uniform rules?

The Education (Guidance About Costs of School Uniform) Bill, which makes guidance given to schools about the cost of uniform policies legally binding, was passed in April this year.

It was first introduced by Labour MP Mike Amesbury and it received cross-party support.

Under the guidance, which is being published for the first time, schools will have to make sure second-hand uniforms are available.

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Schools will also be advised to keep branded uniform items to a minimum and they will be encouraged to allow more high-street options.

The guidance will require schools to use competitive and transparent contracts with suppliers, and it will say schools should make sure their uniform policy is published clearly on their website.

‘The new guidance will help to make uniforms more affordable’

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “School uniform provides a sense of identity and community for children and young people, and should be a real source of pride. But it 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.”

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‘These new guidelines are extremely welcome’

Mark Russell, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: “For too many years the cost of school uniform has been a heavy financial burden on many families, causing money worries and even debt, so these new guidelines to make sure school uniforms are affordable are extremely welcome.

“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.”

A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com

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