David Laws to revamp guidance on school uniforms
Laws claims ending the practice of using a single uniform supplier will cut costs for parents.
By Laura Turner
16 September 2013
Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws believes schools should place more emphasis on “value for money for parents” when choosing new school uniforms and is urging schools to end the practice of using a single uniform supplier.
The new guidance, to be issued by the Department for Education today, asks governing bodies to:
Avoid exclusive single-supplier contracts except when regular tendering competitions are run, in which more than one supplier can compete for the contract, and where best value can be secured
Not enter into “cash back” arrangements
Not insist that pupils wear expensive items of uniform
Not make frequent changes to uniform specifications
Seek to select items that can be purchased cheaply, for example in a supermarket or other good-value shop
Keep compulsory branded items to a minimum
The revamped guidance, which schools are expected to follow, will say that schools should consider best value for parents and should seek parents’ views before changing a school uniform.
“Costs at the start of a school term can quickly add up, particularly for families with several school age children,” says Laws. "School uniforms can be an important sign of identity and pride, but at a time when many family budgets are squeezed parents should not be forced to spend more than they need to. We will send a strong signal to schools that it is vital to secure value for money for parents before changing or introducing new school uniforms. Parents need to be able to shop around to find the best deal. I want to see fewer schools using single suppliers and branded items, which keep costs unnecessarily high.”
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