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Cut the cost of school uniforms

Every year, children are sent home for wearing the 'wrong' uniform. But many struggle to afford the 'right' one. We've been campaigning to make school uniforms affordable, so that children don't miss out on education because of school uniforms.

Thanks to our tireless campaigners, we did it! Now all schools in England will have to make sure uniforms are affordable for families.

What is the cost of a school uniform?

boy wearing school uniform smiling

What is the cost of a school uniform?

The average cost of a secondary school uniform is a staggering £340. Many families can't afford it. They cut back on essentials or borrow from friends. The pandemic has made it even harder for many families to afford the basics, let alone branded uniforms.

Children have no choice but to go to school knowing they'll get singled out for wearing the wrong thing. Often, they are sent home from school. Others are bullied for not having the same uniform as everyone else. 

facts about school uniform prices

23%

of parents said their child had to go to school in wrong, ill-fitting or dirty uniform because of the high costs

500,000

families have seen their child sent home from school for wearing the wrong uniform

1 in 8

families cut back on food because of uniform costs

young person quote school uniforms

some kids get to the point where they won’t even go in, rather than get in trouble for being in non-uniform

But this is going to change. We campaigned for school uniforms to be more affordable. The government listened and new guidance for schools has become law. 

Schools must now prioritise cost when setting uniform policies. This means giving families a choice where they buy uniforms or letting them sew badges into plain clothes if it keeps the price drown.

How we made it happen

This change didn't happen overnight. We have been campaigning for almost eight years to cut the cost of school uniforms.

It started in 2014 by a group of young people, the Children’s Commission on Poverty. They uncovered how expensive uniforms were getting in the way of their education. We published a report and in 2016, the government promised to cut the cost of school uniforms. It didn't happen.

But we didn't give up. In 2020, Mike Amesbury MP introduced a new bill to make schools prioritise cost when they set their uniform policies. Thousands of campaigners came together to write to their MPs, asking them to support the bill, and to Jacob Rees-Mogg, calling on him to get the bill back on the table after lockdown delays. The bill finally passed in April 2021.  

In November 2021, the new guidance was published and schools will be required to implement it by the new school year in August 2022.

Together, we #CutTheCost of school uniforms. Affordable uniforms will now be a reality for families who need it most. 

A young person from the group who started the campaign in 2014 says:

To see all our hard work come to something so huge that will help people, just as we hoped, it's amazing

Developing a school uniform policy guide

Are you a school in England looking to update your school uniform policy?

Download our guide for practical tips and advice

Pre-loved uniform guide

Are you a school in England looking to develop pre-loved uniform provision?

Download our resource for practical tips and advice

school girl sitting at desk looking sideways at camera

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