To: Minister for Education, Michelle McIlveen MLA
Affordable School Uniforms for All
Regulate schools uniform policies to ensure school uniforms are affordable for all.
Why is this important?
Many parents and families in Northern Ireland are coming under unbearable financial pressure due to the arbitrary and expensive school uniform requirements. In addition to a school uniform, many schools also insist on bespoke, branded sportswear for PE lessons, particular emblems, or have contracts for branded items with specific uniform suppliers.
"Parents Voices: The High Cost of School Uniforms" highlights the experiences of hundreds of parents here.
1) 85% said their child’s school either required expensive branded items of school uniform, or required items to be purchased from an exclusive supplier
2) 73% said that school uniform costs caused their family financial hardship.
Government grants are far from enough, and many parents and children are put under stress and pushed into debt trying to meet these unnecessary costs.
England and Wales have brought in legislation that ensures schools uniform requirements are affordable. The same is needed in Northern Ireland.