The Education (Guidance on School Uniform Costs) Bill

Dear Colleague,
The Education (Guidance on School Uniform Costs) Bill

This Government is supporting Mike Amesbury’s Private Members’ Bill, the Education (Guidance on School Uniform Costs) Bill, to ensure that no family feels unable to apply for or attend a school of their choice due to the cost of the uniform.

This Bill was introduced on 5 February 2020 and will have its second reading debate on Friday. It is a short Bill that places a duty on the Secretary of State for Education to issue statutory guidance on the cost aspects of school uniform.

We strongly encourage schools to have a uniform as it can play a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school – supporting good discipline and a sense of
belonging.

We first committed to putting school uniform cost guidance on a statutory footing in 2015 to drive better value for families. The Department for Education currently produces non-statutory guidance on school uniform. It emphasises that schools must give cost considerations highest priority when deciding their uniform policy, should keep compulsory branded items to a minimum and avoid exclusive single supplier contracts. It does not prohibit branded items in school uniform.

The Bill will enable us to place this guidance on the cost aspects of school uniform on a statutory footing. This will send a clear signal to all schools that we expect them to ensure uniforms are affordable and do not present a barrier to accessing schools. It will also make it easier to intervene where schools are acting unreasonably.

We will continue to provide advisory guidance to schools on other matters relating to school uniform, including their obligations under equalities legislation.

I would be happy to meet with any colleagues who wish to discuss the above in further detail.

Yours sincerely,
Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP
Minister of State for School Standards