THE passage of the School Uniform Bill has been commended as ‘great news for working families in Warrington,’ by Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols.
The Private Member’s Bill, put forward by Weaver Vale Labour MP Mike Amesbury, passed after third reading in the House of Lords yesterday and receiving Royal Assent today.
The law will ensure that schools across England make affordability a top priority in uniform policies by ensuring the Government releases new, legally binding guidance on the cost aspect of uniform for schools.
Currently, some schools insist parents buy expensive branded clothing from a single supplier, which can significantly increase price for parents.
Ms Nichols said: “I am delighted this Bill has now become law- it is great news for working families in Warrington.
“School uniforms are a great social leveller and mean that children aren’t pressured to wear the latest designer trends. However, uniforms can still represent a significant cost to parents and young people can face bullying, isolation and even exclusion for not being able to afford the ‘correct’ items of uniform.
“We must not force parents to choose between putting food on the table and buying the right uniforms, especially as the impact of the pandemic is pushing many struggling families deeper into poverty.”
According to research by the Children’s Society, families are spending an average of £337 per year on uniform for each child at secondary school, while parents of primary school children spend £315.
The charity has been campaigning to make school uniforms more affordable since 2014.
The Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill was supported by the Government as well as members of various parties in both Houses of Parliament.
The Government has said it aims to issue the new guidance to schools in the autumn, which is expected to ensure the number of branded items is kept to a minimum, with a fair and open tendering process established for suppliers to tackle monopolies.