School uniform logos could be scrapped in Wales to help families with cost of living crisis
Logos on school uniforms could be scrapped in Wales in a bid to help families as the cost of living spirals.
The Welsh Government said it is consulting on a number of options to reduce the cost of school uniform, including scrapping logos entirely or using 'iron on' logos to be made available free of charge.
Parents currently spend an average of £337 on uniform for each child at secondary school and £315 for each child at primary school, according to The Children’s Society.
In a letter sent to school governing bodies in Wales, Education Minister Jeremy Miles MS said "thousands" of families are struggling financially and the situation "will only intensify with the further energy price rise in October."
Mr Miles continued: "We know that school logos, for example, continue to be a burden for many families. I have therefore asked my officials to explore options in respect of logos on school uniforms.
"Options will include whether schools should either have no logo at all, or use ‘iron on logos’ to be made available free of charge. This would give families the option to purchase uniform at cheaper costs from a retailer of their choice.
"I will also explore whether schools should demonstrate that any benefit of a financial agreement they have with a school uniform supplier is being passed on to the customer and is within a reasonable margin of high street retailers.
"I know that uniform for this academic year has already been agreed and many families may have already purchased these items. However, in this transitional period I would ask that schools provide leniency regarding the need for branded uniform and to consider how their uniform policies may be made more inclusive in the meantime."
Families eligible for free school meals in Wales are currently entitled to a grant of up to £225 per child towards uniform costs, or £300 for those going into Year 7, which can be applied for through their local authority.
But with the average household energy bill set to hit £3,549 from October, a recent poll found three quarters of parents in Wales are worried about paying for food, energy and fuel over the coming 12 months.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The cost-of-living crisis means more families are struggling – we will do everything we can to help.
“Our school uniform guidance means schools must keep the cost uniforms to a minimum and many families on lower incomes are eligible for the Pupil Development Grant, to help with the cost of school uniforms and other school items. This is the most generous scheme in the UK, and parents and guardians should contact their local authority to check their eligibility and apply.
“We will be updating this guidance shortly. In the meantime, we ask schools to ensure their current uniform policies are inclusive for all.”