Government backs bill to cut cost of school uniforms

Education secretary Gavin Williamson says the cost of uniforms should not be a barrier for pupils applying to schools

The government is backing a parliamentary bill to cut the cost of school uniforms

The government is today backing a bill aimed at bringing down the cost of school uniforms.

The Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill will be introduced into the House of Commons today by Labour MP Mike Amesbury.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said: "School uniforms should always be affordable and should not leave pupils or their families feeling that they cannot apply to a particular school.

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"That is why we will be supporting the progress of this bill through Parliament, in order to make our guidance on the cost considerations for school uniform statutory at the earliest opportunity."

The cost of school uniforms

Department for Education guidance states: "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. School governing bodies should, therefore, give high priority to cost considerations.

"The governing body should be able to demonstrate how best value has been achieved and keep the cost of supplying the uniform under review."

In 2015, a Treasury document said the best practice guidance was to be turned into a statutory requirement, to prevent schools from forcing parents to buy uniforms from a single supplier. However, no legislation was subsequently put to Parliament.

Yesterday, education secretary Gavin Williamson tweeted: "Delighted that the government is backing @MikeAmesburyMP's bill on school uniform costs – uniforms should always be affordable and should never put families off applying to a particular school."

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