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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

School uniform

The governing body of each school decides on the uniform policy or dress code, and it is the headteacher's responsibility to make sure pupils keep to the rules. If you have any complaints about the uniform policy or dress code, talk to the school governing body.

Cost of school uniform

When deciding on a uniform policy, all schools are expected to give high priority to cost considerations. No school uniform should be so expensive as to leave pupils or their families feeling excluded.

The cost of a uniform should not stop parents from sending their child to the school of their choice. Governing bodies should consult parents for their views and concerns before changing or deciding on a new uniform policy.

In England some local authorities provide discretionary grants to help with buying school uniforms. Local authorities that offer these grants set their own criteria for eligibility.

Schools can help limit the expense of uniforms by choosing a colour scheme rather than a full uniform or by ensuring that the uniform chosen is widely available in high street shops rather than a sole supplier.

Apply for help with school clothing costs

Families who are on benefits or on low income could be entitled to clothing grants or vouchers from their local authorities to assist with the cost of school clothing.

To find out more from your local authority website about applying for help with school clothing costs, select the link and enter your postcode and details of where you live.

Physical education (PE)

School uniform often includes clothing required for PE lessons. Schools should choose a PE kit which is practical, comfortable and appropriate to the activity involved. Sex and race discrimination issues must also be considered. As with the regular school uniform, school governing bodies are expected to consider the cost to parents when deciding on a policy for PE kit.

Breaching uniform policy

If your child breaks the rules when it comes to school uniform, they could be punished by the headteacher. More serious punishments like suspension or expulsion from the school are only considered acceptable if the pupil's disregard of uniform policy is persistent and defiant.

Schools should be considerate if a pupil does not keep to the uniform policy, and try to find out why it is happening. If a family is having financial difficulties, the school should allow for this and give the parents time to buy the right items.

Pupils should not be made to feel uncomfortable, nor discriminated against, because their parents cannot provide them with the right school uniform.

Human rights and anti-discrimination issues

While pupils must stick to the school's uniform policy, schools must be considerate to the needs of different cultures, races and religions. Schools must always act reasonably and sensibly in accommodating religious requirements, providing they do not pose a threat to security, safety and learning, or compromise the well-being of the school community.

Schools must not discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation or belief.

Home to school travel

Schools should be aware of the need to encourage children to walk and cycle to school. School governors should consider this, and the possible inclusion of light colours and reflective materials as part of the uniform.

For further information about walking and cycling to school more safely, see 'School transport'.

New guidelines on school uniform policies

In October 2007, the government published new guidance for schools on school uniform and related policies. This guidance provides clear advice to schools and governing bodies to help them formulate fair, reasonable and cost effective school uniform policies. You can view the new guidance by following the link below.

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