New measures to make school uniforms cheaper welcomed by Lewes MP Maria Caulfield

Families across East Sussex will be able save money on school uniforms from next year, following new legally-binding guidance requiring schools to make uniform affordable for all

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 5:11 pm

The Department for Education (DfE) cost of school uniform guidance means schools in England must ensure that schools will be required to help keep costs down by taking steps to remove unnecessary branded items and allowing more high-street options, like supermarket own-brand uniform.

Research from the DfE in 2015 showed that parents can save almost £50 on average if they can buy all school uniform items from any store, compared to uniform which all needs to be bought from a designated shop or school.

Maria Caulfield, MP for Lewes, said: “For too long the cost of school uniforms at some schools has put far too much pressure on parents. There is no need for every item to be branded with a school logo and only be available at certain shops or the school itself.

To support families, schools will have to make sure second-hand uniforms are available, also helping work towards achieving net zero carbon emissions.

"Parents should have the option, at least for the majority of items, to be able to use supermarkets or high street stores to purchase their child’s uniform. I am pleased that the Government are bringing in these new measures to bring down the costs of school uniforms for families in the Lewes constituency.”

To support families, schools will have to make sure second-hand uniforms are available, also helping work towards achieving net zero carbon emissions.

In the UK, an estimated 350,000 tonnes of clothes end up in landfill every year and encouraging families to use second-hand uniform can reduce waste and bring down emissions from manufacturing new garments, while making it cost-effective for families.

Nadhim Zahawi, Secretary of State for Education, said: “School uniform provides a sense of identity and community for children and young people, and should be a real source of pride. But it must never be a burden for parents or a barrier to pupils accessing education. This new binding guidance will help to make uniforms far more affordable for families by driving costs down as we work hard to level up the country.”

Schools should make sure their uniform policy is published on their website and is clear and easy for parents to understand.

Schools are expected to have taken steps to adhere to the new guidance before parents buy uniform for the academic year beginning in September 2022