Jersey's Education Minister promises reform to lower cost of school uniforms

Jersey's Education Minister has promised that school uniforms will be reformed for September 2024.

Deputy Inna Gardiner says a new island-wide rulebook will be created over the coming months with input from headteachers, parents and suppliers.

She explained: "The development takes time but we received and accepted all the recommendations from the JCRA [Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority] and we have a working group who will be consulting on the policy during this academic year.

"The most important thing is to reduce the cost of a uniform."

Those recommendations include asking schools to carry out regular reviews of their contracts with suppliers and bringing in more specific guidance on competitive tenders for these uniforms.

The issue of affordability is also highlighted by the JCRA - with the average annual uniform cost per pupil at £114 in Jersey.

There have been calls to reduce the number of school-branded items, allowing parents to buy cheaper alternatives rather than bespoke clothing.

Speaking to ITV Channel anonymously because of the stigma around poverty, one mother in Jersey says she has already gone to great lengths to cover the costs.

"I tend to skip meals so the food lasts but yeah - we make a lot of sacrifices - we've sold furniture before just to get uniform... My table, my TV, I sold my bed once."

A Jersey children's charity says they are giving out more money each year to help parents cover the cost.

Sandra Auckland from Variety said: "The demand is huge and the price of the uniforms these days, it's just horrendous."

Want to find out more about the stories making the headlines? Don't miss Channelcast - the Channel Islands current affairs podcast brought to you by ITV News: