Expensive, branded, compulsory: MPs pass law targeting excessive school uniform costs

Expensive branded and compulsory items of school uniform and PE kit are set to be outlawed when new statutory guidance is published.

The Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021 received Royal Assent last week and will come into force at the end of June in England and Wales.

The Department for Education (DfE) has promised new statutory guidance on the costs of school uniform items. This is expected in the autumn.

There have long been concerns that some schools’ uniform policies have been a barrier to education for many disadvantaged families. In some cases, uniform costs have acted as a form of covert selection.

Research published last year by The Children’s Society (2020) found that parents had to spend around £340 per year on school uniforms for each secondary school child and £315 for each primary-aged child.

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