Local Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has recently written to local schools in the Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland Boroughs to ascertain their school uniform policies and the impact this has on the cost of living.
Questions asked to schools included:
- What estimate has your school made of the total cost of school uniform?
- What support is available to low income families to support their purchasing school uniform?
“The start of a new school term is both an exciting and daunting prospect for both parents and children, it is understandable that, for many, buying a new school uniform is just something that has to be done. Unfortunately, these ‘extra’ costs can quickly add up and become a further burden to many families who are already struggling with the cost of living on a week-to-week basis.
“From speaking to parents in my constituency, it is clear that many are deeply worried by recent increases in the cost of uniforms. Only recently, Santander conducted research that showed parents this year faced a 27% price hike for uniforms and kits – the average price being £224 compared with £177 in 2012.
“If this trend continues then I can foresee a situation where parents’ choice of school could be constrained by the cost of uniform extreme expense. This would be an unsatisfactory state of affairs, for both the future of our children and for the education system.
“Something must be done to curb this cost such as increasing the choice of suppliers the uniforms and kits are available from, or encouraging the use of uniform recycling schemes. This would help to ease the pressure uniform costs place on the purse strings of many local families. I am looking forward to reporting back on this important yet under discussed issue in the near future.”