School-uniform rip-offs will be thing of the past

HARD-UP parents in England have learned that the age-old, school ­uniform rip-off is about to fold.

Labour MP Mike Amesbury, following a Sunday People newspaper campaign, will introduce a bill in Parliament this week, which is likely to become law by spring.
Schools will be told they can specify basic items, such as trousers and shirts, but not styles.

This means parents can buy cheaper, supermarket kit, instead of branded gear from a single supplier, costing an average of £340 a year for secondary schools and £255 for primaries.

Dad Howard Callaway, 51, and wife Karen, 46, had been dreading the cost of fitting out their children with compulsory, branded kit.

Mum-of-three Karen, a teaching assistant in Hull, said: “We can’t afford three branded sets, so this news is fantastic.”

Her husband added: “Head ­teachers will be required to draw up a totally-­inclusive uniforms’ policy.”

One parent told the Poverty Commission: “The cost of school uniforms was like having to afford two Christmases. You start shopping at the beginning of the summer holiday, so you can pace yourself over the six weeks.

“But to do that, you have to take money out of the food budget, or pay less on the electric. Yet this stuff was essential until now, so, you just had to afford it.”

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner wrote to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, asking him to honour the pledge the Tories made four years ago.

They promised to bring in statutory guidance, to end the practice of forcing parents to buy uniforms from one expensive supplier. But it never happened.

But the new law will force the Government to follow the example of Wales, where school heads can specify basic items, such as trousers and shirts, but not styles, so parents will be able to shop around.



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