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Mumsnet School Uniform campaign.

(106 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

lagoonhaze Sat 07-Sep-13 08:20:04

There have been several threads recently which have highlighted the increasing problem where schools have the monopoly on school uniforms by insisting on expensive logo uniform or restricting parents to expensive suppliers.

Last year the Office for fair trading wrote to head teachers but it appears to have been largely ignored.

www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/markets-work/othermarketswork/school-uniforms#.UirSMOpwbIU

There is also no legislation that regulates school uniform only non statutory guidance.

education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/schoolethos/b0014144/schooluniform

I suggest a campaign whether Mumsnetters lobby for fairer school uniform for all and remove the financial burden many parents and carers have every year.

I'd be interested in seeing if there is support for this and whether MNHQ are prepared to put their weight behind this.

BTW I don't have this issue at the moment but I think as its such a growing national problem it something we can all consider a potential problem for all of us at some point in the future.

Nerfmother Sat 07-Sep-13 13:34:38

Dd at grammar school. Specific skirts and trousers that must be logoed. Blazer and jumper - logo. Embroidered pe kit. Cannot just go to marks or Asda and get it. And now the girls have to wear 40 denier black tights at all times - lower denier in summer.
Ridiculous. Should be colour and length of skirt allowed only, maybe one logoed item.

Darkesteyes Sat 07-Sep-13 14:15:32

I got into trouble at high school for not having the correct PE kit We had to have green t shirts because of the "house" we were in School was split into 4 houses. I had the proper netball skirt but used to also wear a black or blue leotard until i gave the blue one to my best mate (her mum was on benefits and couldnt afford it) I had the correct school uniform but was too scared to ask my parents to buy the correct PE kit because of the cost (my mum was always saying that she paid for it and my dad didnt contribute) so i kept quiet and had the teachers moaning and having a go at me every lesson for years NOT FUCKING ONCE did they take me aside in private and ask me if there were any problems. Coupled with the bullying that took place in PE lessons (i was always the one who was picked last) i soon started skiving PE
I think the assumption was that because both my parents were working that there shouldnt be a problem.
Going by some of the experiences ive read on here this week common sense in these establishments hasnt improved much since the 80s (in fact it seems to have got worse. A welfare officer ringing a parent about uniform? Thats not their job surely.)
My DH hit the nail on the head Hes called these uniform shops cartels.
I dont have DC but i FULLY support this campaign.

Effective Sat 07-Sep-13 14:17:26

I didn't see the thread about the welfare officer Darkest, but surely that's what you would have liked someone to do for you. Ask if there was a problem?

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 07-Sep-13 14:22:02

All the secondaries in my area specify exact skirts & trousers which are only available from the school. Plus mountains if logoed PE kit.

HarumScarum Sat 07-Sep-13 14:33:13

I would definitely support this. Logo items should not be necessary and those available should be of a comparable price to what's available in the usual easily-accessible shops - supermarkets, Next, M&S etc.

Darkesteyes Sat 07-Sep-13 14:38:33

Effective its a post by another MNer on this thread. A welfare officer rung her at home.

The equivalant would have been a welfare officer ringing my parents at home which.
a. would have had them moaning like fuck.
b. they wouldnt have caught them at home because BOTH MY PARENTS WORKED FULL TIME!

Effective Sat 07-Sep-13 14:42:22

OK, sorry I should have read properly. The welfare officer would have tried their other contact numbers if s/he was doing a good job.

It is the welfare officers job to upset parent who aren't providing properly for their children by choice. And to offer help where she is able/it's wanted.

Darkesteyes Sat 07-Sep-13 14:42:46

DB was able to skive the last 2 years of school because welfare officers would write letters. he would intercept them because post would arrive AFTER my parents left for work. I dont know whether welfare officers tried ringing but see above!
No 1471 in the 80s either.

Effective Sat 07-Sep-13 14:48:34

Ok, you obviously had a horrible experience and I'm sorry, but maybe that's why things are different now?

Today parents generally provide the school with mobile and or work contact numbers as well as home. Our welfare officer would go round in the evening if she had had repeated failed attempts at contact and felt it was necessary.

Darkesteyes Sat 07-Sep-13 14:49:43

It is a WELfare officers job to upset somebody. Fucking hell ....now thats irony.
I actually think that lessons about financial abuse should be taught in schools. I used to think that children could benefit from learning about the ramifications and knock on effects of financial abuse in relationships I still think this but going by some of the attitudes ive seen i think teachers heads WELfare officers could probably learn from a module on this too!

Effective Sat 07-Sep-13 14:51:42

How do you think the welfare officer should have dealt with your situation then? You wanted them to help, but you didn't want them to speak to your parents because it would have upset them?

Darkesteyes Sat 07-Sep-13 14:54:25

I wanted the teacher to leave me the fuck alone and get their priorities right and sort the bullying out

Radical i know!

pointythings Sat 07-Sep-13 14:55:11

I will support any campaign that stops the ripoff merchants getting away with it. My DDs uniforms are affordable, sensible and comfortable - no insistence on tights in summer, 'business dress' in 6th form or excessive branding - it should be like that for everyone. I cannot believe the schoolwear business and their colluding schools are still doing this - especially with a government that is supposed to be in favour of market forces and competition. Well, let the schoolwear companies compete with the big guys and watch prices fall.

When my DD1 was at middle school, she had to wear a logoed polo shirt which was £10 for one. It was 60% polyester and made her eczema worse. I could have bought her fairtrade organic cotton for that money - actually, for a little less. Madness.

Darkesteyes Sat 07-Sep-13 14:55:48

i wasnt aware there was such a thing as a welfare officer at the time What with only being eleven years old and all.

Darkesteyes Sat 07-Sep-13 14:58:26

Anyway me having to justify my 11 year old self is taking this thread/campaign slightly off topic so lets leave it now so this thread doesnt get derailed.

Effective Sat 07-Sep-13 15:00:53

You didn't want them to help with the neglect you were suffering at home? I'm not picking on you, I'm genuinely interested. In the circs you describe I would expect the welfare officer to talk to you about your worries, which sound like they would have been the bullying, but also the way your parents were failing to provide for you and then to talk to you and your parents about what needed to be done to fix both those issues. Would that be so wrong? It feels right to me, but thankfully I never suffered like you, so I would be interested to hear what you feel should be different.

I was at school in the 80s and agree things were very different. IMO/IME (most) children are actually far nicer today smile It doesn't seem to be cool to be cruel in the same way it was when we were young.

sonlypuppyfat Sat 07-Sep-13 15:04:01

My DD is a junior school and she is supposed to wear a polo shirt under her sweatshirt it is supposed to have a logo on they are £9 each I have found a pack exactly the same colour in Matalan £5 for three you can only see the collar. We are being ripped off left, right and center by all this logo rubbish.When I was at school it was a gray skirt,white jumper and green cardi, in summer a green and white dress any patten. I remember we all looked smart.

MonstersDontCry Sat 07-Sep-13 15:05:41

The secondary school I went to, had a different colour uniform for each year. Eg year 7 Maroon polo shirt and sweatshirt year 8 green ect. It used to cost my mum a fortune in school uniform every year for me and my brother. It was annoying as my uniform could have lasted much longer than a year, but you had to buy new because of the colour change. Madness! They still do this now.

teacherwith2kids Sat 07-Sep-13 15:06:32

Am very grateful that both primary and secondary schools have had 'sensible' uniform policies (though secondary has recently got picky about boys' trousers and specified a style ...which isn't even made in DS's - tall, thin - size so my rapture is possibly premature).

Logoed sweatshirt is available, but not compulsory, for the primary, otherwise any grey trousers / skirts fine. Also the PTA runs a free secondhand uniform stall at all school events so much gets recycled.

Secondary - apart from irritating trousers - has sew-on blazer badges, and only 'special' PE item is the boys' rugby shirt. Other stuff is all generic colour.

Bumpstarter Sat 07-Sep-13 15:11:26

Please campaign for any tidy black shoes, ankle boots or trainers to be acceptable. The expense and stress caused by school shoes is unbelievable!

I agree. I saw the row of new school shoes on the feet of the children as they lined up for their first day back. I wish ankle boots and trainers were allowed. The shoe companies must make a fortune out of it.

The next day I saw my dd's friends comparing blisters, too.

HarumScarum Sat 07-Sep-13 16:04:35

Please campaign for any tidy black shoes, ankle boots or trainers to be acceptable. The expense and stress caused by school shoes is unbelievable!

Hear hear. DD's school is having a crack down on trainers at the moment. She is six. As long as her trainers are plain black, supportive, in reasonable condition and well-fitted I cannot see why a child of this age shouldn't wear trainers. They are far better fitted for the intended purpose than mary janes etc. They are warm, waterproof, comfortable and easy to run about in. What's not appropriate about that for a primary school aged child?

NickL Sat 07-Sep-13 17:46:40

DC's school has introduced an iron-on badge that goes on supermarket sweatshirts and polos. It works out half the price of the "low cost" on-line supplier and there's none of that waiting weeks for them to deliver.

HarumScarum Sat 07-Sep-13 19:23:03

Badges seems like such a sensible idea. All schools should do that.

worley Sat 07-Sep-13 20:25:00

Darkesteyes and effective.. It was I who mentioned the school welfare officer ringing me..
DS had told me he'd been told to get new shoes but I refused as they were still in good condition. The office rung me as I obviously hadn't complied and she had to chase me up.. I told her he'd been wearing them for quote a while before and not been stopped previously, she agreed it was odd to now be told to change them..
she had rung me at work to speak to me (I work full time for nhs) In the end the school agreed that when he got new shoes he would have a different style which he has now.

I think they should have more important issues than what style black shoes their wearing..

DS's Outstanding school is in a naice catchment where there is generally enough money but not lots of extra money.

The following logo items exist: polo shirts, jumpers, cardigans, fleeces, coats, pinafores, PE t-shirt. Most children have a fleece (they are fairly cheap, £8 rings a bell, and completely bomb-proof so easily washed/dried and frequently passed down) and one or two polo shirts for events/trips.

But the school is completely cool with everything being generic. Uniform compliance is pretty good and the children look smart. There were a few comments in the newsletter last year about not wearing grey or white jumpers (supposed to be royal blue) but really that's it.

Which I think is the right balance. They get the community sameness feel without breaking the bank. And I can put DS in 100% cotton that doesn't shrink in the first wash hmm

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