The back to school period can be pricey for many parents needing to stock up on essential school uniforms, which is why the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has stepped in to urge schools to allow parents to buy cut-price uniforms.
Many schools still insist that children’s uniforms are bought from exclusive suppliers, or in some cases from the school directly. However, the clothing is expensive and means parents can’t take advantage of cheaper deals widely available from supermarkets and the high street. The high-price school kit isn’t complying with official guidance on affordability, according to the CAB.
“In the current economic climate, and at a time when academies – many with expensive new uniforms – are springing up to replace existing schools, it’s all the more important that schools do what they can to keep costs down for families who are under severe financial pressure,” says the CAB Chief Executive Gillian Guy.
“Yet evidence from our bureau network shows that many schools are continuing to overlook official guidance which says that the cost of uniforms, sports kit and other “essentials” should be kept to a minimum.”
The Citizens Advice Bureau has launched the Adding Up campaign, and has this budget advice for schools:
• Make sure the uniform is available from a range of outlets rather than one sole supplier
• Offer sew-on badges that can be put on plain clothing
• Encourage recycling or swap schemes
• Go for colours that can be carried over from one school to the next
• Appoint a governor to keep a check on the affordability of parental expenditure.