The statement made by Nadhim Zahawi, the Secretary of State for Education, in the House of Commons on 19 November 2021.
The Department for Education will today publish statutory guidance on the cost of school uniforms. This guidance is issued under the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021. This Act requires the appropriate authorities of relevant schools to have regard to this guidance when developing and implementing their school’s uniform policy.
Through creating a common identity amongst all pupils, regardless of background, a school uniform can act as a social leveller, but to do so it must be affordable. 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.
This guidance will provide a framework to schools to help them keep the costs of uniform affordable for parents. The guidance sets out the key principles which schools should consider when setting their uniform policy and is based on views from members of both Houses, feedback from stakeholders and our own research. Throughout the guidance we encourage schools to take a holistic approach to the cost of school uniform, therefore the guidance covers a range of issues such as branded items, supply arrangements and second-hand uniform.
Schools will not be expected to make sudden, drastic, changes to their uniform policy. We want schools to implement changes in a timely and considered manner to ensure it works effectively but in doing so we would want to ensure that parents do not incur additional costs from sudden uniform changes. However, we would like parents to see the benefits of the guidance as soon as possible. The guidance provides more information to schools on how they can be compliant with the guidance and when any changes need to be made by.
I will place a copy of the cost of school uniform guidance in the Libraries of both Houses.