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What do the requirements say?
As we all know, times are tough for many families at the moment so, last year, the DfE produced some new statutory guidance around the cost of school uniforms. The requirements in this guidance don’t actually become statutory for schools until 2023 giving schools times to make any necessary consultations and / or changes but statutory school website requirements did change from September this year. As a result, schools should now have on their website a policy or document that should:
- clearly state whether an item is optional or required
- make clear if the item will only be worn at certain times of the year (for example, if it’s summer or winter uniform)
- make clear whether a generic item will be accepted or if a branded item is required
- make clear whether an item can only be purchased from a specific retailer or if it can be purchased more widely, including from second-hand retailers.
What have we found on websites so far?
This academic year, we have already conducted thorough audits of over 100 school websites. As this is a relatively new statutory requirement, not unsurprisingly, many school’s websites do not yet meet these criteria. We tend to find schools list uniform as they have done in the past and list a local supplier where branded items can be purchased but this is not sufficient to meet current requirements.
What tends to be missing is:
- a clear indication or what is compulsory,
- a clear indication of whether any items are seasonal,
- a clear indication of whether pupils must have branded items (sweatshirts etc) or whether a plain item in school colours would be accepted,
- a clear indication that generic items can be bought more widely,
- whether or not second hand uniform is available (Statutory guidance says that, “Schools should ensure that second-hand uniforms are available for parents to acquire.”)
What could this look like?
This doesn’t need to be a huge amount of work or look much different to your current document but we would recommend working through those four requirements and making sure you have addressed each point clearly – perhaps like this:
- Grey skirt, pinafore dress or trousers
- School polo shirt – royal blue with school logo (generic polo shirs will not be accepted)
- School sweatshirt / cardigan – emerald green with school logo (generic sweatshirts / cardigans will not be accepted)
- White, black or grey socks/thick tights
- Black flat shoes or sandals with socks
- Grey trousers or shorts
- Plain dark shorts and white t-shirt
- Tracksuit (colder months)
- Pumps for indoor use
- Trainers for outdoor use
- Drawstring bag to keep P.E. kit in
- School outdoor jacket
- Green and white dresses (for warmer months)
- Green and white dresses
- PE tracksuit
Items with the school logo can be purchased from x, y and z. Other non-branded or generic items can be purchased from any uniform stockist or more widely in supermarkets etc.
Second Hand Uniform
Second hand uniform is available through the PTA via …… who you can contact ….. or via the school office.
How can we help?
Aside from just this, compliance is a big job for schools and that is where we can help. We will conduct a thorough audit of your school website against all statutory requirements providing you with a RAG rated report with clear actions to ensure your website is fully compliant. These are fantastic evidence for SLT and governors and are returned within two working days.