Cutting the cost of school uniforms
After a seven year campaign, started by a group of young people, we changed the law. Now all schools in England will have to make sure uniforms are affordable. It will make a huge difference to families who previously had to choose between paying the bills or buying a new blazer. Learn about our #CutTheCost campaign and what the new law means for your school.
How did cut the cost start?
What started #CutTheCost?
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.
Stories like this one from a project worker about a boy being excluded weren't uncommon:
uniform costs getting people expelled
‘A boy I worked with needed new school shoes for September and his dad, thinking he was buying sensible, long-lasting shoes bought him some black boots from Sports Direct. At school, the boy was told this was a breach of uniform, as boots are not allowed. He was told to leave the school premises and return only when he had the correct footwear. He told me
My dad's just spent £70 on these. He can’t afford to buy me any more shoes.
how cut the cost campaign developed
The government promised to cut the cost of school uniforms. It didn't happen.
But we didn't give up. We kept up our research, uncovering how uniforms often cost hundreds of pounds.
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.
Now we need to spread the word and make sure every school knows about it.
What the uniform bill 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.
Why this is important
Why the uniform bill 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 are seeing first-hand the cost-of-living crisis. Rising inflation and soaring energy costs are hitting families hard. With children growing up without the basics they need, it is more likely they will struggle in school.
Making uniforms affordable means families have one less thing to worry about. Children can go to school without worrying about wearing the wrong thing. They can focus on learning and fulfilling their potential.
Resources for schools and families
- Are you a school in England looking to update your school uniform policy?
Affordable school uniforms: A guide
Developing pre-loved uniform provision
- Are you a parent in England wanting to know what the new law means for you?
Download our explainer for families
If you have any trouble accessing these resources, or any questions, you can contact us at email@example.com.
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