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SA responds to Aldi’s £4 school uniform
Schoolwear Association urges parents to think before buying cheap school uniform.

By Laura Turner

25 July 2014

Following the release of Aldi’s £4 school uniform pack, the Schoolwear Association (SA) has a stark warning for parents compromising on school uniform is a false economy and a disservice to the nation’s children.”
 
The SA, whose members clothe three-quarters of Britain’s school children, is a national voluntary organisation of over 200 school uniform specialists, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers who abide by a strict Code of Practice. Among other rules, the Code of Practice requires members to ensure that the garments they sell are produced in an ethical manner, both in terms of employment and attitude to the environment. 

The SA stresses, therefore, that “rock bottom prices should set alarm bells ringing for parents” and that “chain stores seduce parents with the promise of allowing them to stock up on apparel before the season starts” but that once their shelves are cleared, they leave parents struggling to replace lost, damaged or ill-fitting garments. With the average child spending 10 hours per day in school uniform, the SA recommends looking for “quality” and “durability” to survive the wear and tear of lessons, playtime and after-school activities throughout the school year.
 
Meanwhile, the SA commends independent retailers who “are dedicated to delivering a premium and personalised service, usually in a close relationship with local schools, stocking uniforms for every shape and size all year round.” It also points out that “buying from local independent retailers helps keep town centres alive, and supports the local economy, maintaining British jobs.”
 
“We understand that price is important for parents, but there are real benefits if you are willing to pay a little extra for a premium product and service,” says Matthew Easter, chairman of the SA. “It’s good for the local economy, the community, and your child.”
 
The SA does acknowledge that purchasing school uniform can sometimes be a worry for parents, and in response has recently launched a campaign to make school uniform tax-free, by way of school uniform vouchers. If successful, the scheme would mean that parents could budget for good-quality, ethically sourced school uniform as well as saving money.
 
The plan is that the scheme will work in a similar way to the childcare voucher scheme and the cycle to work scheme, both currently in effect throughout the UK. If it is successful, the vouchers will be able to be redeemed at all school uniform providers and the hope is that parents will then have the choice to buy better quality, ethically sourced uniform rather than very cheap alternatives.
 
“The great thing about this scheme is that if it’s successful, it will mean that parents will hopefully no longer have to resort to buying cheaper and often unethically sourced, lower quality school uniforms, “ says Easter. “Instead, they could instead make massive tax savings and buy better quality, longer-lasting school uniforms for their children.”
 
The petition has already achieved over 1,000 signatures, positioning itself firmly in the tiny five per cent of government petitions that make it past the 1,000 mark.
 
The petition can be found and signed here.


 
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