Agenda item

Motion submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 14 as to School Uniform Costs

To consider the following Motion in the names of Councillor Munro and Councillor Marchington;


“This Council notes that:


1)    School uniform can be a significant expense for many families and the cost-of-living crisis means that buying school uniforms is an even bigger concern than usual for many parents;

2)    Recent research by the Children’s Society found that parents spent on average £287 a year on primary school uniforms and £422 a year on secondary uniforms, with branded items costing more. The Children’s Society also found that pupils are expected to have an average of 3 branded items of uniform, while almost a third of secondary school pupils are required to own up to branded items;

3)    The cost of uniforms can be unnecessarily pushed up by practices such as sourcing a uniform from a single specialist provider;

4)    The Government has published new statutory guidance aimed at making school uniforms more affordable after a legal requirement to do so passed into law in 2021. In contrast to the previous school uniform guidance, which was non-statutory, the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act, which was introduced in the House of Commons in February 2020, and completed its stages in 2021, became law with cross-party support and requires the Government to publish legally binding guidance requiring school authorities to consider costs when setting school uniform policies. Schools and their governing boards must have regard to the statutory guidance when developing and implementing their school and trust uniform policies. The main points of the statutory guidance are: 

a) Schools need to ensure that their uniform is affordable.

b) In considering costs, schools will need to think  about the total costs of school uniforms.

c) Schools should keep the use of branded items to a minimum.

d) Schools should ensure that their uniform supplier arrangements give the highest priority to cost and value for money (including the quality and durability of the garment).

e) Schools should ensure that  second-hand uniforms are available for parents to acquire. Information on second-hand uniforms should be clear for parents of current and prospective pupils and published on the school’s website.

This Council believes that:

1)    The statutory guidance set out by the Government is having a limited impact – branded items are still rife and a survey by The Children’s Society shows that unform costs are rising. The statutory guidance is not clear enough and has been interpreted differently by schools. Many schools are failing to adhere to it; 

2)    Spending on school uniform is a lottery. Some schools require parents to spend money on expensive uniform from specialist shops, while other schools will allow parents to buy from the high street, often at a significantly reduced price, and a small minority of schools do not require pupils to wear a uniform at all;

3)    The cost of highly branded school unform policies is unacceptable. The country is experiencing a cost-of-living crisis. Families are facing a huge squeeze on their income and expensive school uniform policies are forcing families to spend a lot of extra money they simply do not have;

4)    Schools are under huge range of pressures and are often lack resources to help and support parents, while many local authorities no longer provide the school uniform grant, which supports disadvantaged families to help deal with the costs. The Kirklees grant was phased out in 2010 and Kirklees Council is no longer offering school unform grants. While some schools offer support to families with the cost of buying their uniforms, this taxpayer-funded support would go much further if the uniform requirements were less expensive. Reducing the cost of uniform policies would help to ensure such funds could be spent on things that enhance education, such as school trips;

5)    The Children’s Society should be supported in its recommendations to make school uniforms more affordable. This includes:


(i)             The Government reissuing school uniform guidance to all schools to remind them of their responsibilities in relation to the affordability and availability of school uniforms.

(ii)            The Government to make the school uniform guidance a requirement, so that schools have a legally binding commitment to comply with it.

(iii)          The Government should also explore capping the cost of school uniforms, which would help to ensure that parents are not paying unreasonable costs.


This Council, therefore, resolves to:

1)    Write to the Secretary of State for Education to call on the Government to review and update its statutory guidance, to ensure that the guidance is clear and unambiguous.  As a minimum, the guidance should be amended to:


·       Include a limit on the number of branded items in a state school uniform, with an appropriate number of items specified for primary and secondary schools.

·       Prohibit schools from requiring branded items where more than 1 item would need to be purchased, such as shirts, non-PE polo shirts, skirts or trousers.

·       Prevent schools from requiring branded items that are substantially more expensive than the unbranded equivalent or similar items at other local schools.

·       Prevent schools from requiring multiple items of the same type of footwear, such as indoor and outdoor shoes and indoor and outdoor trainers for PE.

If a school does not comply with the updated statutory guidance in time for the 2024/25 academic year, parents should be able to complain directly to the Department for Education, who should be able to enforce compliance with the guidance.

In addition, Ofsted, should be tasked with policing school’s compliance with the school uniform rules as part of their inspections;

2)    Work collaboratively with schools across the Kirklees district to:

·       Ensure schools understand the importance of cost-effective uniform policies.

·       Ensure schools have fair and effective uniform policies.

·       Ensure schools are complying with the Government’s statutory guidance.

·       Ensure schools do not punish their students for uniform breaches outside their control.

·       Ensure schools are able to provide appropriate support to families struggling with the cost of school uniform.


3)    The Council should regularly monitor the costs of uniform across the district and support schools to make changes, where necessary, such as complying with the requirement to signpost parents to second-hand unforms.”




Deferred to the following meeting of Council to enable the submission of a revised Motion, incorporating the Labour Group amendment.