Coun Tracey Taylor, Nottinghamshire Council children and young peoples’ committee chairman, said she has written to county schools to raise the point as concerns mount over costly bespoke uniforms at some schools.
Her comments are in a written answer to a question due to be posed at a council meeting in March, when Coun Taylor was set to be asked if she supports the ‘growing campaign’ to stop schools insisting on branded items.
The question, posed by Coun Andy Meakin, member for Kirkby North, was not asked due to time limits during the meeting, but the council has since published Coun Taylor’s answer in full.
In her response, she said she supports measures to minimise the cost of school items ‘especially when other costs of living are rising’.
She said no child should ‘suffer or miss out on education’ due to costly uniforms and confirmed the authority has reminded all schools about new Government guidance regarding costs and value of items.
She said: “The Government published guidance regarding branded school uniforms in November 2021. This stated all schools must ensure ‘school uniform costs are reasonable and parents get the best value for money’.
“The council has reminded all schools, through our schools bulletin and in governors’ newsletters, about the statutory guidance on the cost of uniforms published on November 19.
“All schools should ensure their uniform policy is published on their website and clear and easy for parents to understand.
“This administration is encouraging all schools, regardless of their governance, to consider these matters carefully when setting their uniform policy for the next academic year.”
Some schools ask parents to buy items with the school’s emblem embroidered into the fabric, which is often only available from one or a limited number of suppliers, rather than allowing families to buy cheaper, generic items and the emblem individually.
The council has an ‘exceptional payments’ scheme to help families struggling with uniform costs.
Speaking after the issue was discussed at the committee’s meeting in March, Coun Daniel Williamson, who represents Kirkby South, labelled branded uniforms ‘utterly ridiculous’.