1. ITV Report

Schools warned to keep cost of pupils' uniform down

Schools are being warned to keep the price of uniforms down Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Schools have a "moral responsibility" to keep the cost of pupils' uniform down, council leaders warned today.

ITV News Correspondent Daisy McAndrew reports:

Hard-pressed parents should not end up forking out for expensive uniforms because their child is attending a new free school or a converted academy that is "rebranding" itself, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.

In the current education landscape dozens of schools across the country are changing their names or identities.

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.

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

– Councillor David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA's Children and Young People Board

It says that families do not have an "endless pot of cash" for new uniforms and is calling on schools to keep costs to a minimum.

The LGA says that the average secondary school uniform now costs over £200, with primary school uniform setting parents back £160.

Sports and PE kit as well as other school items cost extra.

Parents are spending over over £200 on school uniforms Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Recent figures show that more than half of England's secondary schools have now converted to academy status, and around 50 free school are due to open from this September.

Twenty-four free schools opened in 2011. Free schools are new schools set up by groups such as parents, teachers and charities.

The LGA said that schools which decide to alter their uniform - for example a newly converted academy that decides to change its emblem - should restrict changes to one or two items or to sew-on logos.

A separate poll revealed that almost four in five (79%) parents believe wearing a uniform helps maintain discipline in schools.

What schools can do to keep the cost of uniforms down

  • Choose clothing that is widely available.
  • Choose logos or emblems that can be bought as sew-on or iron-on patches.
  • Pick a colour scheme rather than a full uniform.
  • Give parents the opportunity to buy and sell items.
  • Use a plain PE kit that can be used for different sports