School uniform prices: Are they too expensive?

Have school uniforms become too expensive? The Government is planning on introducing new rules next year to help make them more affordable for parents.

Plans to make school uniforms more affordable have been welcomed by parents in the South West - with some revealing they spend hundreds of pounds every year.

The Department for Education has told schools to ensure uniform costs are reasonable and parents get the best value for their money.

The new rules, which will come into effect for the next school year in 2022, include removing unnecessary branded items and encouraging the use of second-hand clothes.

According to The Children’s Society, parents of a child in secondary school spend £337 on average for new uniform every year.

How much do you spend on school uniform?

Parents of a child at primary school, meanwhile, spend £315 on average.

Those estimates appear to be in line with figures provided by ITV News West Country viewers, many of whom said uniforms had become too expensive.

‘I agree with a uniform but not one that costs this sort of money’

Mandie Brennan said: “Over £410 just for the uniform. That dosen’t include shirts, shoes, football boots and trainers.

“As long as they look tidy, it shouldn’t matter. I agree with a uniform but not one that costs this sort of money.”

Kate Henderson said: “Secondary school uniform is very expensive.

“My daughter luckily only needed a couple of items in September, otherwise it would have cost about £250 to kit her out.

“I'm dreading it when my youngest starts in two years’ time - then it's two lots of uniform.”

Kaya Watts suggested uniforms should be provided by schools if it is compulsory to wear.

“If the school makes uniform compulsory, they should provide each child with one set of full uniform,” she wrote.

“Parents can then purchase additional items themselves but at least they will have the basics. I also think they should bring back sew on logos - much more affordable.”

Lynne Jones said cheaper alternatives can be found - if parents are “organised”.

“I think supermarkets keep it very affordable,” she said.

“It’s only items with a logo on that cost more and you have all year to prepare to buy it - it’s not a shock. 

“Everything is expensive for everyone, it’s just about trying to be organised as best you can.”

What are the new rules?

The statutory guidance, published by the Department for Education, will require schools to:

  • Make sure contracts with uniform suppliers are competitive and transparent in order to lower costs.

  • That the quality and longevity of garments is considered, alongside the cost.

  • That the cost of a uniform does not restrict where pupils go to school.

  • Consider high street alternatives and remove unnecessary branded items. 

  • Encourage the use of second-hand uniform. 

  • Ensure the uniform policy is published on the school's website, and is clear and easily accessible for parents.