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School Uniform/Financial Burden

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Following a conversation with the Education department of Gwynedd Council, in regard to 'The financial burden on family's & School Uniform', I have been advised to gather signatures from parents who agree with my concern, and to take this concern to the school principle & school governors. This I intend to do.

My concern is with the cost of school uniform, and the financial burden family's face each year because of this. 

I believe that this need not be the case, and this could be easily avoided if simple amendment where to be made to the school uniform policy. Amendments that need not affect the school itself, amendments that are easily implemented should the school principal be in agreement with this petition. 

I have gathered information/facts  from two separate sources that could/would ease this financial burden, and it is this that I intend to use in our letter to the school.  

1 ) I have used a campaign that was set up by the Citizens Advice- "The Adding up Campaign". This campaign was set up to cut education costs for family's in regard to the cost of school uniform. A link to this campaign has been provided on this petition page. 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/campaigns/current_campaigns/recent-campaigns/adding-up-campaign/


2) I have read and gathered information given by the The Welsh Government / Education / Guidance for governing bodies on 'School Uniform and Appearance Policies'. 

Welsh government guidelines say-

The Welsh Government recognises that school uniform and other items that are required to be purchased in accordance with a school uniform policy can be a financial burden, particularly for low income and large families.  Consequently, the Welsh Government expects governing bodies to give high priority to the cost considerations.

Governing bodies should consider the following in the context of keeping down the cost of school uniform:

• School logos – requiring logos on polo shirts, jumpers, blazers and PE kit, obtainable from specialist suppliers can be costly. Schools should consider the necessity of requiring such items altogether, weighing up the balance of having its own distinct identity, whilst also ensuring that uniform items are widely available and affordable. If uniform items with logos are required, schools should limit logos to one item (which is reasonably priced) which is worn frequently, e.g. a sweater or cardigan. These items of clothing should be easily available to families.

•  The purchase of logos to sew or stick onto items of clothing should be considered as an option to reduce costs where logos are considered to be a necessary part of school uniform.

• Avoid variation in colours and style for different year groups – this is expensive for parents and limits the scope for second-hand sale or handing on to siblings.

• Consider the cost and availability of non-standard sizes.

I believe that there are two areas within the school uniform policy where amendments could be easily made without any negative impact to the school, that could also ease the financial burden that family's face. These two area's are within uniform 'supplier' and uniform 'Logo'. 

For instance- The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) carried out a fact finding review in 2006 of the practise of some schools in the UK of requiring parents to purchase school uniform from particular retailers or from the school itself. The OFT review found that such exclusive arrangements were on average 23% more expensive than school uniform retailers generally and 150% more expensive than supermarkets.

Therefore, us parents are likely to be paying MORE than DOUBLE the price that we could be paying if we were given 'choice', choice of a wider range of suppliers (supermarkets) just as the Welsh Government suggest school's to do when 'considering costs'. 

Having a wide range of uniform suppliers also addresses accessibility issues for those parents who encounter difficulty accessing uniform suppliers who are in remote areas.

I have been in contact with the uniform suppliers and have asked them if the school logo badge is readily available to purchase. I was told that sale of badges alone Is not an option given by  our uniform provider.  

By not having logo badges on sale for parents to sew on at home, it is impossible to buy uniforms from any other supplier. This leaves us parents with no other choice than to buy from the present supplier, and at whatever price they choose to charge. 

If we had the option of the sew/glue on badge, parents would then have the option to shop for garments from other suppliers such as supermarkets. 

•The sale of a white polo shirt from the present supplier equals the cost of a pack of 3 white polo shirts sold at a supermarket. 

• A single jumper cost's double the cost of that same jumper (without logo) sold at supermarkets. 

• The price we pay for a single P.E shirt could buy us 2 maybe 3 if bought at a supermarket. 

If the school decide that the sew on badge is not an option, perhaps they would consider limiting the school logo badge to just one garment as suggested by the Welsh Government.

If the school logo was limited to one garment such as school jumper, parents would be free to purchase white polo shirts and P.E shirts/T-shirts from more affordable suppliers. 

Having logo's on jumpers/white polo shirts/blue polo shirt/ purple polo shirts, as is done in Ysgol y Moelwyn, puts a huge unnecessary strain on on us parents, it gives us parents no other option but to buy from this single supplier and at a far greater cost than it would be given the choice of a wider range of suppliers.. 

There are also amendments that could be considered in the verity of uniform

• 1 single colour P.E polo shirt for the school in a whole, a single colour could be passed from one sibling to the next regardless of the sex of the sibling. 

• From V neck to crew neck Jumpers. This is not a compulsory rule, it has been made an option for the students in their final years. However 'no child likes to be singled out from others, they like to be the same as everyone else'.  There are family's that simply can not afford the option of changing one jumper for another, therefore run the risk of their child being singled out as the poor kid who's parents can't afford the change. 

I believe that the ones who suffer most at the hands of such a lenient uniform policy, one with little choice for parents such as this particular one, are 'the students'- 'our children'. 

The students face the repercussions when their parents can not afford the uniform that is stated in the school policy, they face being excluded from school. Students have no control on their parents finances, they also have no control in regards to what rules are put into school policy. 

I believe that 'should the school decide to keep their school uniform policy as it is today', then parents should at least be given 'Choice', freedom to choose between suppliers, at a cost that is better affordable for parents. 

If, like me, you would prefer to have the option of the sew/glue on badges, giving you freedom to shop at a verity of outlets, or perhaps have the school badge restricted to a single garment which would also cut the cost of school uniform- then please sign and feel free to leave a comment.



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