First steps made in bid to make school uniforms cheaper for struggling families

  • Video report by ITV News Wales and West of England Correspondent Rupert Evelyn

The first steps have been made in a bid to force schools to offer more affordable uniforms after a private member's bill was introduced to the House of Commons.

Parents looking to buy a full set of primary school uniform for their child face an annual average bill of more than £250, according to The Children's Society.

The cost increases to an average of £340 a year for secondary school children.

The news comes as one mother tells ITV News she has had to cut back on certain household spending in order to afford the cost of school uniforms.

  • Mother-of-two Lucy Austin says a uniform is important but some branding is unnecessary:

A school teacher herself, Ms Austin says uniform displaying the school logo is "important" but not all items need the branding.

"I'm quite willing to have them in their proper branded jumpers, it makes you part of the team and I think that's really important.

"But things like the polo-shirts and the skirts, if I could shop around for those it would cut the bill by a lot."

A single mother to her daughters Amelie and Lillia, Ms Austin says some of the branded items cost "three or four times" the non-branded alternatives.

Amelie and Lillia attend different schools and so require two sets of uniform.

In a bid to regulate the cost of school uniforms, Labour MP for Weaver Vale, Mike Amesbury, has introduced a private member's bill to the House of Commons.

Currently the government only offers guidance to schools in England to consider uniform costs - if the bill is made law, the cost of uniform could be lowered.

Similar policy changes have been brought into force in schools across Wales following a Welsh government consultation on the cost of uniforms.

  • Mike Amesbury MP says some families are basing school choices on the cost of uniforms:

Data from The Children's Society suggests one in six families cut back on other basic essentials as a result of the cost of school uniforms.

The children's charity welcomed the introduction of the bill having campaigned on the issue for the past five years.

The group said the proposed changes could "release the burden" on parents.

  • Azmina Siddique from The Children's Society says if introduced the changes would allow parents more choice: