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Cut the cost of school uniforms

After a seven year campaign, we changed the law! All schools in England will now have to make sure uniforms are affordable. But we still need your help. With the cost of living soaring, this September, millions of families will struggle to afford the basics — let alone expensive uniforms. This is an opportunity for schools to make a difference. Whether you are a parent or a teacher, find out what the new law means and how you can help!

What is the cost of a school uniform?

two school children laughing while looking at a mobile phone

How we got here

It all started in 2014 with a group of young people. They showed how expensive uniforms were stopping children making the most out of school.

Students were having to sit out class or being sent home from school for not having the right kit. Being singled out like this made them worry what others in class thought of them. 

In 2015 the government promised to cut the cost of school uniforms. It didn't happen...

the story so far

But we didn't give up. We kept up our research, uncovering how uniforms often cost hundreds of pounds.

Then in 2020, Mike Amesbury MP introduced a new Bill to make schools prioritise cost when they set their uniform policies. Thousands came together to write to their MPs, asking them to support the Bill. It finally became law in May 2021. 

The Government has now published statutory guidance to support the law. Schools need to follow this guidance and should start making changes before the new school year in September 2022. Now we need to spread the word and make sure every school knows about it.

girl at school in uniform smiles

This shows
the power of
youth voice
This shows the power of youth voice

What the change means 

The new guidance means that schools must review their uniform policies to see how they can be made more cost-effective. This should involve talking to families and pupils to understand their views on the uniform.  

Things to focus on changing might be cutting down the number of branded uniform items. Our research shows that more branded items mean a more expensive uniform. Schools also need to make sure that pre-loved uniform is easily available for families to pick up. 

Download our resources to learn more about what the change means for schools and families. These were developed in partnership with The Child Poverty Action Group and Children North East drawing on years of research and hands-on work with children, families and schools. 

Why this is important

Why this is important

The new law promises change for the many parents kept up at night worrying how they’ll afford their child’s uniform. But it’s up to schools to deliver on this promise. Schools should be ambitious about what they can make happen.  

Schools are seeing first-hand the cost-of-living crisis. Rising inflation and soaring energy costs are hitting families hard. 

Too many children are growing up without the basics they need. Almost 1 in 3 children are growing up in poverty, and millions more families are living on the edge. This makes it more likely a child will struggle in school, and not achieve their full potential. 

A uniform shows what a school stands for. Shouldn’t it stand for a fair chance for every child?  

Two girls in school uniform with their arms around each other smiling

Resources for schools and families

If you have any trouble accessing these resources, or any questions, you can contact us at campaigns@childrenssociety.org.uk.

Cutting the cost of uniform: A webinar for schools

Watch our webinar to learn why we've been campaigning on this issue since 2014, what the change in law means for schools, and how you can build a uniform policy that works for children and their families.

Webinar

Spread the word

We want more families, teachers and schools to know about the change in law. Spread the word online and help make school uniforms more affordable for all.

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