New Guide: Affordable school uniforms

Affordable school uniform

Every child should feel like they belong – especially at school. A school’s uniform can bring the school community together and create a shared identity. But when school uniforms are too expensive, this doesn’t happen.

In 2020, research from The Children’s Society revealed 1 in 8 families were having to cut back on essentials like food to afford uniforms for their children. 1 in 10 families were borrowing from friends or getting into debt to cover the costs.

Our research, completed with Child Poverty Action Group, shows the impact can be huge. Without the right uniform, children might not feel that they’re part of the school community. They can feel out of place or isolated, worrying about not wearing the right thing. They might be made fun of or even bullied. That’s why the new law on school uniforms that was passed in 2021 is so important.

The new law means affordability must be the top priority for schools when setting uniform policies. The Department for Education has also released statutory guidance about the issue – meaning all state-run primary and secondary schools must follow it.

To help your school implement the guidance, The Children’s Society, Child Poverty Action Group, and Children North East have joined forces to share some ideas and good practice from our research with schools. With some adjustments to policies and practices, schools can relieve the pressure of uniform costs on children and their families.

Read the Guide

The key areas covered in the guide are:

  • What the new laws mean for schools
  • Guidance on updating your uniform policy, including how to consult with its communities
  • Tips and ideas for impactful changes
  • How to set up a pre-loved provision

We’ve also gathered ideas and suggestions from pupils and families about how uniform can be made more inclusive. We always want to hear from schools about they are tackling uniform policy, so if you have some ideas that have been impactful, why not share them with our team on Twitter.