Branded school uniforms could soon be banned under a new law.
In news that is sure to please many cash-strapped parents, a bill will be introduced this week which could see schools prevented from specifying styles of uniform.
If approved, schools will be told they can specify basic items, such as trousers and shirts, but not styles.
This means parents will be able to buy cheaper supermarket kit instead of branded gear from a single suppliers.
According to Sunday People parents pay an average £340 a year for branded secondary school uniforms and £255 for primary school gear.
So the rule, proposed by Labour MP for Weaver Vale, Cheshire, Mike Amesbury, could save parents hundreds of pounds a year.
“Head teachers will be required to draw up a totally inclusive uniforms policy,” Amesbury said. “This issue has been brilliantly highlighted by the Sunday People.”
It’s been reported that almost one in six families say school uniform costs are to blame for them having to cut back on basic essentials such as food, a figure that has rocketed up from one in seven back in 2015.
School-Home, a charity helping parents with the cost of uniforms said it has seen a spike in requests for subsidy.
“Last year we were spending the most on beds, bedding, furniture and other essential household items,” CEO Jaine Stannard told Daily Mail.
“Now, we get the most requests for school uniform and shoes.”
The Department for Education also states that “no school uniform should be so expensive as to leave pupils or their families feeling unable to apply to, or attend, a school of their choice, due to the cost of the uniform.”
It continues: “The school uniform should be easily available for parents to purchase and schools should seek to select items that can be purchased cheaply, for example in a supermarket or other good value shop.
“Schools should keep compulsory branded items to a minimum and avoid specifying expensive items of uniform.”
The cost of school uniform is clearly a topic which impacts many parents.
Last year a single mum started a campaign to reduce the cost of school uniforms.
Tired of struggling to afford branded school uniforms, Claire Rigby started a petition on Change.org, a platform which is used to put pressure on government to implement shifts in policy.
She says that schools’ insistence on parents only buying uniform from approved sellers means she’s spending “upwards of £200” on clothing for a single child.
Rather than wearing head-to-toe branded uniform, she suggested a “simple badge to pin on” should be deemed sufficient.
School uniform has prompted many a conversation recently, with one school allowing male pupils to wear shorts after they protested wearing skirts.
In a pioneering move, the Welsh government announced they would be making all school uniforms in Wales gender neutral, a change which came into effect from 1 September.
As well as addressing the subject of uniform for transgender pupils the guidance from the Welsh government also provided advice for governing bodies and head teachers in how schools could try to make uniforms more affordable and accessible.
Ways of keeping down the costs of uniforms could include stipulating basic items and colours but not styles, effectively meaning parents can buy items from various outlets.
Schools will also have to consider whether there is a need for different uniforms for summer and winter, and whether school logos are absolutely necessary.