Labour pledges to cut school uniform cost by limiting branded items

Labour aims to cut the cost of school uniforms by limiting the number of branded items parents are forced to buy.

The party has pledged to strengthen existing statutory guidance in an effort to reduce the burden on families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

It proposes parents would only have to buy a maximum of three branded items of uniform and PE kit.

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Labour shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said it was wrong for parents to have to spend ‘hundreds of pounds’ on uniforms (PA)

Statutory guidance introduced in 2021 states schools must keep the use of branded items to “a minimum”.

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said: “As children and parents look forward to the new term, Labour is determined to reset the relationship between schools and families, and that includes reducing the cost of school uniforms.

“With the Conservatives’ cost-of-living crisis raging, it’s wrong that parents are having to shell out hundreds of pounds to kit out kids for the new school term.”

Unions have also called for schools to cut back on the amount of branded uniform required.

Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) general secretary Geoff Barton said last week families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis would be helped if schools avoided “having logos on every item” as this pushes up the price.

Research published by The Children’s Society charity in June found parents are still having to spend “exorbitant amounts” on school uniforms despite efforts to keep costs down.

Parents and carers of secondary school children are paying on average £422 per year on uniforms, and around £287 for primary school children, according to the research.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Our new guidance already makes clear that costs for parents must be kept down by removing unnecessary branded items and allowing more high-street options, such as supermarket own-label uniforms.

“Schools should have already reviewed their uniform policies to ensure they are in line with our statutory guidance.

“We will continue to work with schools to make sure the guidance is followed and uniform costs are reasonable and good value for money for parents.”