The coalition is urging schools to avoid using single suppliers and branded uniforms, as parents are thought to be spending up to two fifths of their August income on back-to-school costs.
Under the new guidelines, the government has proposed:
- Exclusive single supplier contracts should not be used, unless regular tendering processes are run to ensure firms provide value for money.
- They should also not enter into 'cashback' agreements with shops.
- Compulsory items of uniform should be available relatively cheaply.
- Branding should be kept "to a minimum".
- Schools are urged to avoid changing specifications frequently.
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Ursula Keogh, 11, went missing on Monday around 3.30pm. She was dressed in her school uniform.
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His comments at the Defence and Security Forum on Monday came after a £20 billion black hole in the budget for the next decade emerged.