According to a union head, schools should restrict the use of branded uniform items.

According to a union head, schools should restrict the use of branded uniform items.

The leader of a headteachers’ union has suggested that schools should reduce the amount of branding on uniforms. Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), believes that this move could assist parents facing financial difficulties due to the current cost-of-living challenges. He explained during an interview with BBC Breakfast that he would advise governors to reconsider the extent of branding on uniforms. Barton mentioned that social attitudes have shifted, making excessive branding less necessary. He suggested that focusing branding on the most visible parts of the uniform would be a more appropriate approach.

Barton also highlighted an example of a primary school governor who made discounted second-hand uniforms available to parents by opening the school during summer holidays. He emphasized that this approach acknowledges children as individuals, irrespective of their backgrounds. Additionally, Barton noted that the cost of living is a factor, as having logos on every item drives up costs.

His remarks come in response to research by The Children’s Society charity in June, which indicated that parents still face high costs for school uniforms despite efforts to reduce expenses. The research found that parents of secondary school children spend an average of £422 per year on uniforms, while parents of primary school children spend around £287. This is partly due to the requirement for branded items, which are often only available at specialist shops rather than supermarkets or mainstream retailers.

The Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act, applicable to England, was introduced last year and encourages schools to provide second-hand uniforms and limit branded items. Similar provisions exist in other parts of the UK, such as Scotland and Wales, where school clothing grants and essential grants can be applied for by families in need.

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