This topic is for discussions about campaigns Mumsnet is running or may be planning to run. Go here for other campaigns or petitions.

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.

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

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.

Bearandcub Sat 07-Sep-13 08:26:44

I would support this, my two are not near school age but DNs and obviously their parents have this struggle.

lagoonhaze Sat 07-Sep-13 08:58:43

Have asked MNHQ to change title to school uniform !

silverten Sat 07-Sep-13 09:22:58

Every time I read a thread about school uniforms I can't for the life of me understand why it has to be so bloody complicated.

A school could just specify a colour eg. Red and tell parents to get red polo shirts and black trousers or skirts. Winter? Add a plain sweatshirt. White socks. Plain coloured black trainers or shoes would get round the whole 'flash designer/difficult feet' problem. If they really wanted a logo they could either get a job lot of sew on badges and sell them for 50p (these could be reused) or get a more expensive pin badge which could be swopped between garments, so you'd only need one.

Hey presto- easily obtainable, comfortable, cheap uniform available from supermarkets, shops and catalogues.

HeySoulSister Sat 07-Sep-13 09:26:00

well the campaign could only be for secondary schools? as as far as i'm aware primary cant back up uniform rules legally?

Sirzy Sat 07-Sep-13 09:29:48

I have no problem with logoed jumpers IF they are good quality, good price and easily available from the school.

DS is starting pre school on Monday and his Jumper is £6 (its same uniform as the school other than a slightly different jumper), I have only had to buy one and have been given 3 which are still in great quality so I don't mind that.

I also think schools should have some sort of swap shop/second hand uniform sale so when things are outgrown people can buy cheaper second hand stuff instead instead.

the costing £100s for a full uniform and needing certain trousers or skirts is madness.

Tee2072 Sat 07-Sep-13 09:33:36

HeySoul someone mentioned somewhere on here recently that it was a myth about primary schools not being able to enforce uniform.

And whether they can or can't, would you want your child to be the only one not in uniform because of the price? Isn't that the point, sort of, of uniform?

I would back this 100%, especially the idea of second hand.

sparklekitty Sat 07-Sep-13 09:37:04

Sounds like a great idea. At my primary they only have logo sweaters and those one low income can either buy second hand or just a jumper/cardy in the right colour. Those with no money at all we give them a jumper.

However, some of my friends at school have kids at local secondaries and spend hundreds on uniform, even pe kits with names embroidered on so you can't hand them down to the younger sibling. These parents are on TAs wage, I just don't know how they afford it!

meditrina Sat 07-Sep-13 09:37:10

Primaries can enforce uniform, (in England and Wales, at least). Experts post the links frequently, but this myth is very persistent. Most schools don't, but that's by choice, not because they are actually barred from so doing.

But, one thing I'd like to see explicitly included does relate to secondaries - the extent/elaborateness/cost of PE kit.

HeySoulSister Sat 07-Sep-13 09:37:33

well I meant 'logoed' uniform!

mine doesn't wear it....there is no fuss here so far. he just wears a plain sweatshirt

we have second hand uniform sales here occasionally. I think lots of schools do.

I have 5 dc in 5 different education environments now and have never experienced all this angst....and we've moved round loads in the uk being ex forces. I wonder where all these weird schools are

meditrina Sat 07-Sep-13 09:42:02

Here's a thread about enforcing uniform in primary schools and it includes links from PanelMember and prh47bridge which show it can be enforced.

PurplePidjin Sat 07-Sep-13 09:42:02

A huge barrier to a grammar school education was the price of the uniform. Comprehensive education was supposed to remove all that, meaning that socio-economic status was less likely to impede a child's opportunities. Now, with bursaries for the less well-off, we're creating an under-privileged middle - the same as if there were no uniform hmm

worley Sat 07-Sep-13 09:43:09

This is a fab idea.
I've never had an issue with primary or middle school uniform.. But DS1 is now in yr10 at a new high school and the fashion in this area seems to be for all the schools uniforms to be trousers (a specific charcoal grey..- have had letters home as the wrong shade of grey has been worn!!) shirt, specific branded jumper, school tie and blazer. Along with branded winter coat, pe tshirt, pe rugby shirt. Specific jogging bottoms and shorts, even pe socks are branded only.
it has cost me fortune for past two years. The company which provides the uniform are expensive and not a decent quality. (Only one company) and the rate my teenage son has been growing the uniform hasn't lasted size wise.

I had a welfare officer ring me from the school and complain about ds's shoes as they said they were trainers and I needed to buy him new ones.. I was fuming and took a copy
Of the brochure with the shoes in to prove they were shoes.. he'd been wearing them for the previous two terms and was only in the last term he was called up on it!

Sirzy Sat 07-Sep-13 09:44:41

Our local high school is now giving free blazers to pupils so they can keep the uniform standard but reduce the cost

Pozzled Sat 07-Sep-13 09:46:23

Soulsister I'm surprised that you haven't seen this. DD1 goes to a very ordinary infants school- uniform is a logoed sweatshirt which costs £8.50. I don't know what the reaction would be if we tried sending her in a non-logoed jumper, but it's a hard colour to find so isn't really possible anyway. We also have to buy the school PE uniform of logoed t-shirt and shorts, so another £8 or so for that.

I'm not sure what provisions the school have for families that would struggle to buy the uniform, but nothing is publicised and I bet a lot of families would be too embarrassed to ask

HeySoulSister Sat 07-Sep-13 09:55:22

maybe its because here we are the 3 tier don't actually have 'primary' schools?

I have also found that items 'lost in school' are just shrugged off by teachers. nobody really cares about your childs uniform. when they are changing and taking jumpers off etc,then I think some responsibility should be taken,by staff,to ensure the dc have their uniform at hometime......if they insist on expensive items being worn that is

geekgal Sat 07-Sep-13 10:02:39

My daughter isn't old enough yet but this is something that really irks me - when i went to school (only one year in this country ado only had to wear the uniform for a year) it was a grey skirt, white shirt, maroon or grey jumper, black blazer, and the only items that had a logo were the school tie and a sew on badge for the blazer! I was quite poor and got everything from charity shops but I managed to look as good as everyone else. Uniforms are meant to be the great leveller, not something that hampers social mobility!

Also I'm worried about her starting school and being forced to wear a skirt or the sexist pe kits that you have to here - coming from the US I couldn't believe the girls were made to wear ridiculous tiny skirts and knickers, they're not only sexist but they look bloody awful on any girl over the age of 12!!

I think this is a great idea - when i was at secondary school my uniform was over £200 - logo'd woolen blazer only available from John Lewis, same with jumpers and cream shirts - my parents could afford it but many others couldn't. I was really worried when it came to buying my pfb ds his first uniform, i am out of work at the moment. Amazingly the school gave us a full pe kit (bag, logo'd t shirt and shorts), book bag and water bottle - they only stipulate blue or white polo shirts and black shoes, everything else is basically your choice - they sell logo'd jumpers and coats which i managed to save for and it came to less than £30 for 3 jumper/fleeces and a coat and they are fabulous quality. That's less than the none logo'd ones from supermarkets/m&s

VelvetStrider Sat 07-Sep-13 10:17:15

I think the answer for most items of uniform would be to remove any copyright issues involving school logos, thus allowing any company (or enterprising parent with an elaborate sewing machine) to produce logoed uniform and get rid of the monopolies and associated high prices and poor quality.

However if some state schools are taking things to extreme with very specific styles of trousers, shades of greys, branded p.e. socks etc., then perhaps a campaign is needed.

I'm just glad that most items of uniform for most schools (in my area anyway) are available cheaply from most supermarkets and department stores.

Catmint Sat 07-Sep-13 10:23:47

I cannot link to it, but there is a report on the Citizens Advice website, called Adding Up, I think, which covers the issue of the impact of uniform costs on low income families.

DameDeepRedBetty Sat 07-Sep-13 10:24:09

I'm in. I don't believe the uniform thing really works, it is only endemic in the UK and countries which have been heavily influenced by the UK system, like Australia, some parts of Africa, and in many countries only fee-paying private schools have them, eg US. We have single-supplier issues with the uniform at dtds otherwise excellent state secondary - expensive, poor quality, and unreliable delivery dates.

The un-uniformed children at the lycee that the girls exchanged with in France back in the spring didn't seem to be suffering in any way from doing their lessons in normal teenage choice clothes - and because they get choice all the time, they weren't pushing the boundaries like ours do on non-uniform days.

NoComet Sat 07-Sep-13 10:27:49

I would definitely support

Simple colour rules and encourage, but not enforce the wearing of affordable logo'd jumpers.

No logos on anything else!

Logo'd jumpers at a sensible price.
And recommended, but not stupidly enforced styles of trousers.

I'm fine with similar to trutex style X as long as I can go to next kids and pay less for slight DD2 and pay more in M&S ladies for DD1 to get smart trousers that FIT.

Likewise skirts, our are a weird colour and the quality is pretty poor.

PE kit rules likewise to allow same coloured unlogo'd alternatives.

Most most of all shoes

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

meditrina Sat 07-Sep-13 10:28:07
InternationalPower Sat 07-Sep-13 10:44:23

I absolutely agree, but the thing is

The kinds of parents schools need to be "outstanding" love expensive uniforms. It keeps the riff-raff out. The sad truth is, that the "quality" of a school is very largely dependant on the intake. Whilst I'm not for a minute suggesting that poor families are all undesirables, it is a fact that, on average, poorer children do less well than well-off children at school. Keeping poor people out is one tactic heads use to keep their school popular/successful. Obviously no-one's going to admit it, but that's how it is at lots of schools and that's how many parents like it.

An expensive uniform gives the impression that the school is "posh" which to most people means good. The schools people will move house to get their children into usually have a strict (and expensive) uniform policy. I think that if parents at these "posh" schools were asked their opinion on allowing more generic school uniform, the majority would say they prefer it as it is. Which is very sad.

That said my, DS's comp (with a basically generic uniform, but a couple of expensive compulsory items thrown in) send a letter home at the start of each year reminding parents of the strict uniform policy and that there is a fund (PTA I think) to help families where this creates hardship. I do think strict uniform helps a lot with discipline. Can't explain it, but it has had a marked effect when the uniform policy has been tightened at the schools I've worked in.

I think it's a bit rich when people complain about the cost of school uniform, which IMO is mostly pretty good value considering how much it's worn and then spend ridiculous amounts on branded clothing for their Dc to wear out of school. (Not everyone I know, but many). After all, if they didn't wear uniform, you'd have to buy them something to wear.

Tinlegs Sat 07-Sep-13 13:21:13

Our uniform is just black, any trousers / bottoms and a school sweatshirt (£12). PE is done in whatever they like and the school is very relaxed. (Remote Scotland - tiny secondary school).

Reading on here, and watching "Educating Essex" and "Educating Yorkshire" I was appalled to find that schools can put children out of class into isolation for uniform infringements. Astonished! The Head Teacher and staff in these programmes are so busy dealing with uniform that they can't have much time for teaching and raising standards. Now I am aware that there is one school of thought that suggests that uniform conformity brings conformity in other areas (discipline / homework compliance). However, this does not seem to be backed up by research, as far as I am aware.

As soon as these schools need to improve, they bring in draconian rules about uniform. Why not direct their attention to a draconian homework policy? Use the energy required to get pupils to work hard, strive etc, not to take off their nail varnish.

I would love to see some published research that proves uniform improves results. However, my suspicion is it acts as a kind of placebo, makes parents and pupils feel things are improving so it brings a more compliant child into the school. I would love to see an Academy turning things around without uniform. Does anyone know of anywhere?

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 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

The only items which need to be logo'd are a cardigan/jumper/blazer and possibly the tie if part of the uniform. Everything else should be generic.

PE kits should also be generic, with the school supplying kit to pupils representing the school offsite.

Debs75 Sat 07-Sep-13 20:50:09

I will back this campaign and if we can get the petition started I will sign and share.

Uniform should be simple really:
Plain navy blue, grey or black trousers/skirts/pinafore. White or pale coloured polo or normal shirt. Any choice of coloured sweater, cardigan. Ties if wanted. All logos to be either on the school tie or in the form of patches so ideally a pack of 6 patched could last the whole year.
P.E plain dark shorts and light polo top for summer and dark trackies and rugby style shirt for winter.
Shoes sensible dark shoes, no heels or ballet pumps in winter.

How bloody simple would that be eh? All uniform would be available in any supermarket or high street chain and can be tailored to fit in with their school colours. Tesco and Asda etc would make a killing by stocking different coloured polos and jumpers to match the local schools.

Our school is having building work. The builders have sponsored kit for the teams. Nobody in the school needs logo PE kit - many/most in Reception have it but by Y1/Y2 they are wearing plain white t-shirts with their generic navy shorts.

I think that in primary school uniform is a test for parents. It's only really at secondary school that children have much control over what they are wearing (although obviously younger children might prefer a cardigan over a jumper, or the white polo shirt over the blue).

The secondary school we are in catchment for has a relatively sensible uniform - school tie and school jumper, generic shirt and skirt/trousers. No pointless blazer. But I think it's the extras (PE and games kit, etc) that will add up.

Darkesteyes Sat 07-Sep-13 20:50:57

Effective i see where you are coming from but the failure to provide a PE kit ....they just didnt know it was needed until id already started. And to demand coloured t shirts when doing PE in a leotard is not that important in the grand scheme of things as long as kids get excesrsise, and then say its parents neglect just demonstrates to me why a campaign and petition like this is needed.

worley i completely agree Thats completely ridiculous and borderline bullying.

ZingWantsCake Sat 07-Sep-13 21:27:22

I totally support it!

RedHorse3 Sat 07-Sep-13 21:55:20

Support this 100%

Catmint Sat 07-Sep-13 22:28:02

Thank you meditrina for posting the Citizens Advice campaign link.

GobbySadcase Sat 07-Sep-13 22:31:41

Would defo support this.

I would support this campaign. Tbh I hate uniforms. Dd3's primary does not have one. It's lovely.

Dd1 and dd2 have by the standards quoted here a pretty reasonable uniform but the school is obessed by the length of the girls skirts. Dd1 won't now wear a skirt to school because she felt humilated at the end of Yr 9 when in an assembly all the girls were told to stand up and it was checked to see if their skirt touched the top of their knees. Dd1 was told hers was 'borderline'. Of course it bliking was - it was JUNE and she'd grown a bit. At the end of last year we had a letter about girls' trousers not being too tight. A school near us banned skirts altogether because they said the girls were giving the wrong impression. Amongst all the other crap there's plenty of misogyny in uniform policy.

Neither of my dds likes to take their jumpers off at school btw. Why? Because it's impossible to get a white school shirt that doesn't to some degree show you're wearing a bra......

NoComet Sun 08-Sep-13 02:12:11

"Amongst all the other crap there's plenty of misogyny in uniform policy."
Northern you are utterly right there.

Every single letter we got home from school banged on about skirt length.

So now a lot if the girls are rebelling by wearing very tight trouses.

No doubt the, almost totally make, SLT will soon be telling us those are wrong too.

I wish they would spend more time teaching and less time worrying about underage girls legs.

I haven't noticed any great moral decline over the summer when most teen girls have been wearing hot pants, shorts and mini skirts.

Calling short skirts (that would be normal weekend dress) inappropriate, sends out all sorts of dodgy messages.

NoComet Sun 08-Sep-13 02:12:49

male SLT

NoComet Sun 08-Sep-13 02:16:20

In any case the uniform PE skorts are very short indeed.

No on seems to bother you can see miles of leg then confused

needasilverlining Sun 08-Sep-13 08:34:01

I support this. I do believe in uniform but applied sensibly - DS1's school polo shirts at 2 pounds for 2 look smart and wash better and won't hold back his learning because they lack the school logo!

ZingWantsCake Sun 08-Sep-13 10:43:29

I meant to add that I prefer uniforms as such, but not the price of a patch of logo!

especially when the garment is shit quality and needs frequent replacing.

we have 6 kids. 4 in school.
a school jumper with logo cost £15, but the elbows and cuffs get ruined really quickly!
I told the kids they have to look after their clothes or they have to wear raggedy jumpers because I'm not spending a fortune on jumpers they ruin within days!

so guess what, raggedy jumpers it is. I have no shame or guilt about this. and I'm not the only one. if thet don't care to lok nice, I don't care either.

in fact I found out last year, the kids in DS3's class encouraged each other on to chew holes in the cuffs so they could put their thumbs through the holes- because that looked awesome.

I was livid. I had just bought him a new jumperangry

ChasedByBees Sun 08-Sep-13 11:08:41

I support this. In the workplace, many places which require a uniform would provide it if it was that specific. Surely it's better to teach children to be smart and well dressed rather than insist they get their clothes from a small number of expensive stores which hold a monopoly?

geekgal Sun 08-Sep-13 17:20:53

Just checked my local school's uniform policy for future reference - it's all my worst fears realised!! Specific clothes you can only buy at the school shop, no trousers for the girls and stupid sexist short skirt and knickers for pe - might start the campaign to change it now i think, so I don't have to get into fisticuffs before school even starts...

GeekLove Sun 08-Sep-13 18:46:31

I thought we had sorted out this bullshit back in the 1990's when we campaigned to wear trousers to school. I hated wearing skirts to school particularly in winter - used to wear two pairs of tights and football shorts under them when it was cold.
I don't have an issue with uniform but it must be fit for purpose and be adjustable to suit local conditions. rather than pseudosuits what about just specifying trouser/skirts/shorts colour and logo'd jumper so that people can do drama/PE/art/Science without being restricted.
What is forcing children to wear ties and blazers in a heatwave or banning them from wearing coats and boots in winter supposed to teach them other than to un-learn how to dress appropriately for the conditions.

Also gender-specific uniform should be as dead as a dinosaur and as much use as PE knickers. Anyting that reinforces gender stereotypes is harmful in my opinion.

geekgal Sun 08-Sep-13 19:46:24

Right on GeekLove - I like the idea of being fit for purpose too, it's silly to send kids out in inappropriate gear for the weather.

Like your handle too, geeks rule ok! smile

We just bought second hand logo'd jumpers in the school 'thrifty fifty' where everything costs 50p.

Do all primary schools do something like this? If not, wouldn't it solve the problem? Those who want to spend more and buy new, can and those with less to spend or common sense can buy good condition second hand?

I would totally back this. A free school has just opened in my town and it's totally obvious from the uniform they are pretending to be a private school - everything logo-ed, not standard grey skirts. And because it's a new school no second hand yet.

I am so relieved that I could buy a reasonably priced logo sweatshirt and the rest from Sainsbury's.

Agree totally. I think a basic uniform - no logo on trousers, skirts, shirts, polo shirt, pe kit etc, Schools can ask children to have badges or a logo sweatshirt. I don't mind them looking similar at school but don't think need to be in identical trousers. Or if schools HAVE to then say they can wear x style trousers from Sainsburys, y style from M&S or z style from ASDA.

There is no need for specialist skirts, summer dresses or logo trousers. Schools should also not change their logo more than say once in 5yrs and existing pupils should be able to wear old uniform for up to 2 years.

pointythings Sun 08-Sep-13 21:07:25

If either of the schools my DDs go to started banning trousers for girls I'd be taking it through the courts - all the way. And the school would lose. FFS, I can't believe we live in the 21st century in a Western European country and there are still schools like this.

I think we should go back to a basic dress code - schools to specify colours only, allowed to demand smart (i.e. no leggings, skinnies, trousers on boys that show most of their backside, that sort of thing) but beyond that nothing specific. If the school wants badges, these should be offered at cost and no more.

We have a free school near us and the uniform is £megabucks - clearly intended to keep the 'riffraff' out.

I am against uniforms full stop. See arguments above re: other countries surviving perfectly well without. Also I think that school is a time to learn, and learning to dress appropriately yourself is part of that process - so what if a little self-expression is involved.

I do not believe that uniform affect behaviour, and I'm not aware of any evidence of this: though that is used as part of the argument for uniform. I also don't believe spending time enforcing uniform is constructive towards good discipline or behaviour. Instilling respect for the values of your teachers and school is what does this.

As for the argument that uniform is a social equaliser and means the children don't know who is well-off or not - we all know this is rubbish.

From seeing Mumsnet threads recently there seems to be increased evidence of schools using expensive uniform to increase the uptake of well-off families, or indeed using expensive uniform as a way to raise money (school funds receive money from the expensive uniform sales in many cases) - or to somehow infer more general improvements via tightening requirements on uniform.

None of this does pupils and good - and detracts from the real job in hand - education and producing intelligent, responsible adults.

Financially it is crippling people who need that money for actual essentials.

Mumsnet: Please consider taking up this campaign for reasonableness and flexibility in such a major part of our chidlren's lives.

geekgal Tue 10-Sep-13 12:30:27

When will we know if anyone at MN is interested in a campaign? I keep looking out but I'm new here so not sure if they only start them at particular points in the year, don't know how it works yet...

solarbright Tue 10-Sep-13 12:33:15

Support! Good idea for a campaign. Much needed.

worley Sun 15-Sep-13 08:41:34

sky news article on uniform costs

this threads gone a little quiet but just read an interesting news article on Sky news about an MP trying to make people aware of the high costs of labeled uniform.

geekgal Sun 15-Sep-13 13:10:40

Saw similar on bbc:

Problem is all these codes they're suggesting are voluntary, which will never work. Schools make money out of uniform deals so they won't agree to something they don't have to do. This is why we need a campaign, the guidance at the moment is weak and pointless!

ZolaBuddleia Sun 15-Sep-13 13:21:55

Agree that this is a worthwhile campaign. DD is only in preschool, but her (tiny) logoed polo shirts are £9 each.

And Academies/Free Schools, which are already approaching 50% of schools, can ignore rules about uniform, school dinners etc anyway.

Debs75 Sun 15-Sep-13 20:03:12

here's hoping
Saw this today. I know it is the daily fail but it looks a good start

RobinBedRest Sun 15-Sep-13 21:13:57

Does anyone think the schools are getting a kick back for giving their uniform contract to a specific supplier?

NotCitrus Sun 15-Sep-13 21:36:30

Robin - I suspect so, given that according to my school leaflet ds needed logo'd polos, sweatshirt and PE T-shirt and gave a web address to go to to order them (or a paper form that the office could send there for you).
Imagine my surprise when I went to chase the order, googled the school and uniform supplier, and 5 other companies could have done the same items, same logo, more cheaply.

Followed by being told actually the school gives out a free sweatshirt and polo anyway at the open day or first day of term. Which turned out to be a sweatshirt, book bag and gym bag. WTF is the point of all the kids having identical gym bags to make it more difficult to find their own? At least the polos and sweatshirt seem to be good quality and supermarket wouldn't have been that much cheaper.

Grey trousers/tunics, black practical shoes, and any socks/tights you want, which makes some of the girls with short skirts look a bit odd!

Jumty Mon 16-Sep-13 21:58:56

I work in the school clothing business.

The reality is that most (but not all) of the uniform suppliers are struggling to make a profit. Over the past couple of years two of the bigger online suppliers have gone out of business and had to be rescued by other companies.

Traditional high street specialists are having an even tougher time. The biggest chain made a loss last year and before that their margins were razor thin.

Tesco's school embroidery service has had an impact but even they are making a loss on the venture. They're used to handling bulk quantities and now they are embroidering one off garments and delivering them for free. How long will that continue?

The only companies that have prospered are those that have ridden the academy bandwagon by hoovering-up the government grants and the academies' willingness to subsidise their highly customised uniforms. One academy I know of spends £100,000 a year to provide free clothing because parents balk at paying £10 for a six-year-old's polo shirt.

If anything logo'd school uniform needs to be more expensive because the suppliers won't be able to keep-on cutting their margins to match Messrs Asda, Tesco and M&S.

Herisson Mon 16-Sep-13 22:41:12

If school clothing suppliers were supplying something different and better than the high street chains, perhaps people would choose them more often? I paid a premium to buy pure cotton sensible well-made dresses for my DD and would be prepared to pay for good quality soft comfortable trousers and skirts. These things are not available on the high street except outside the traditional school ranges. I've scoured shops for things like this and found them reasonably cheaply but would have paid more for better quality items. What I see from specialist manufacturers and suppliers is nearly always more of the same nasty shoddy synthetic ugly clothing. I have made my own clothing for DD many times, good quality fabrics, suitable for running about and being active, comfortable and pleasant to wear - and for less money than buying it from a shop though it did take some of my time. I have not often been able to buy the same items from any supplier. Look at the stupid restrictive pinafores and skirts with sewn in pleats for five year olds - simply not appropriate for that age or activity level.

What really needs to happen is a total ban on highly customised clothing for ordinary state schools, and I include academies in that. It is not right that we have reached a point where even primaries demand stupidly customised clothing and logo items for ordinary families, whose budgets simply don't stretch that far. I would ideally like to see all uniform done away with, at least at primary level. People of my age simply didn't have to wear this stuff apart from by choice (ours or our parents) and we were none the worse for it. Uniforms don't make a school better or more effective. Why can't we concentrate our efforts on improving actual education instead of people wasting their time enforcing stupid rules for no benefit?

Logo school uniform doesn't need to be more expensive. It needs to not exist at all. A logo adds absolutely nothing to the item's practical value.

fossil971 Mon 16-Sep-13 22:56:43

I would support the campaign.

I also think that embroidering anything and everything willy-nilly is OTT and makes clothes almost impossible to recycle - they are only any use for that school. One sweatshirt is all that's needed and the idea of an iron-on or sew-on badge makes it completely reusable.

I definitely support this.

What puzzles me is, where are the parent and community school governors when the decision is made to have expensive uniform and sports kits? Having been a school governor, when subjects such as uniform and school trips (can also be expensive) came up, our governors were very aware of the burden on parents. With governing bodies of, say, 12 adults, how is it possible that none of them raise the cost issue? It is such an obvious issue.

foxy6 Mon 16-Sep-13 23:58:24

I would support this. I am fortunate that we can still get away with plain uniform but I don't know how l okay that will last with other schools making it that you have to have logos on your uniform and getting away with it others are going to follow.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 17-Sep-13 09:47:33

Hi there - thanks for drawing our attention to this one. We're a bit busy at the moment with our Bounty and This Is My Child campaigns, but we will keep an eye on this thread.

For now though - in case you haven't seen - the CAB is currently running a campaign on this, so you might like to check out their links and actions.


geekgal Tue 17-Sep-13 14:34:13

I've looked at their campaign which is good but very long term and solely aimed at lowering the cost of the uniform. That's important to me but there are other things that are important about it, like the gender restrictions imposed by most schools, which are bad enough if you're a girl but what if you're trans or neutrois? I just think the CAB campaign is very narrow. It's important, don't get me wrong, but it's not the whole
issue, I'm thinking a joint campaign could be worth looking into as it wouldn't solely rest on MN and would cover more of the issues...

NotCitrus Wed 18-Sep-13 14:11:32

Also most schools I know of have changed their uniform significantly in the last five years. Apparently this is often because Year 6 get to redesign the uniform as a Textiles/Art project and vote on whether it should be adopted.

No problem with the project but these are 10-11 year olds! The governors shouldn't be listening to their views above the parents!

Bonsoir Wed 18-Sep-13 14:17:41

I don't particularly like uniform, but if you have to have it (for whatever reason) I think that my DD's school has a good policy: all clothing must be plain navy, grey or white (no logos, brands, prints etc). Your child may dress in any combination of those colours or in a single colour. No bare-backed or strappy tops, short shorts, ripped jeans, track suits, nail varnish, make-up or jewellery. The school reserves the right to deem clothing inappropriate and to tell a child it must not be worn again.

DD is currently kitted out in Zara skinny trousers (navy or grey cotton or cords), plain Zara pocket-Ts (white, navy or grey) and Uniqlo grey or navy thin hoodies. She mostly wears good quality trainers on her feet.

When it gets colder I will buy her fleeced hoodies and she will wear a navy puffa coat (only navy coats allowed).

SkodaLabia Wed 18-Sep-13 14:35:14

Bonsoir, that sounds like a sensible approach.

Bonsoir Wed 18-Sep-13 14:44:13

It's very economical! And it means DD gets to wear styles that are reasonable fashionable and weather-appropriate.

I would be behind this campaign

BlackeyedSusan Mon 23-Sep-13 22:03:39

i ama dreading secondary school. the children wear second hand passed on uniforms mixed with supermarket non logo stuff. we will not be able to do this in secondary.

Ruby6918 Tue 05-Nov-13 09:21:11

i am totally behind this, my biggest rant is about girls not being allowed to waer plain school trousers, my two girls aged 11 and twelve must wear skirts and are always cold, and the cost of buying new tights is enormous, they are always getting ladders or rips in them and then im forced into buying new ones, boys dont have to do this so why should it be far more expensive to have daughters at school who have to wear tights, im spending about 15.00 per month on tights alone, and i try my best to mend them at home by sewing them but its still a nightmare, uniforms should be a basic colour, and gils should be allowed to wear trousers, its a disgrace

GeekLovesANYFUCKER Tue 05-Nov-13 09:26:38

I have said this before but I thought we had already been through the girls and trousers thing in the 1990's. It beggers belief that this is STILL an issue. I think there should be a blanket ban on gendered school uniform as what is the point?!
Tights are IMO a liability as they are itchy and hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. Similarly skirts are often lacking in pockets too. Also what can the school do about it? Although I do not want to make teachers lives harder no school could feasibly exclude someone who wants to wear trousers. I would support anyone who would.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Tue 05-Nov-13 09:37:47

Ruby I buy dd thick 60 denier black tights from primark. Bought 3 pairs in year 6, she is now in year 9 and they are still going strong.

Dd goes to private school, I spent £112 on her uniform when she started. They have a robust second hand uniform sale each week. Everything is between £1 and £10.
On the other hand ds went to a state comprehensive, no second hand uniform sale, everything has to be bought new, cost in excess of £300. This included a pair of football boots that was on the uniform list although they didn't do football untill the January term by which time he had out grown them.

geekgal Wed 13-Nov-13 14:45:38

I'm also a fan of Bonsoir's school's policy, it sounds practical and I bet the students tend to look better too as they can wear what suits them.

WooWooOwl Sat 18-Jan-14 22:29:25

I like school uniforms. My dcs comp specify black trousers, white shirt and logoed jumper. They give suitable suggestions of styles that are allowed, with specific product numbers from Asda, Tesco, M&S, and a uniform supplier.

It works well because there's some choice while still allowing the dc to look the same. As long as parents choose good quality, as the jumper is, then I think they're good value. It's cheaper and easier for me to provide school uniform that washes well than it would be to make sure they had something they considered fashionable to wear every day of the week.

CouthyMow Sat 18-Jan-14 22:57:51

DD and DS1 attend a state Secondary Academy. (It wasn't an Academy until April last year, DD is in Y11).

For an example of ludicrous uniform costs we have a sole, online only supplier.

A clip on (only clip on sold) tie costs £7.99 with postage. Ditto a pair of house PE socks - and they no longer put siblings in the same house, so no passing down.

Boys rugby top for PE - £18.99 with postage.

Girl's PE sweatshirt - £16.99 with postage.

Horrid polyester jumper, V-neck with embroidered stripes on neckline so that you can't buy from anywhere else - £17.99 with postage.

School badge to sew onto blazer - £7.99 with postage.

School skirt, bloody white tartan kilt thing (!) - £21.99 EACH with postage. (I thank god DD wears trousers!)

Then there is the fact that School Polo's are the (now obligatory) summer uniform. They fade really badly, as they are black, so can't be used for more than one summer term, and are embroidered with the school logo AND have red bits on the edge of the collar, no way you could replicate them! £13.99 EACH, with postage. I have two to get for this Summer term.

Yes, the white shirt, black trousers and black blazer can come from anywhere, but seriously?! This is a state school.

And DS3's primary school is no better. £25 for a compulsory fucking polyester PE tracksuit plus £3.50 postage?! THEN another £9.50 for a two pack of PE shorts in a shade of blue you can't buy in any supermarket, again £3.50 postage. Plus the PE T-shirt, £7.50 for two embroidered polyester offerings.

Polo tops MUST be embroidered. So that's another £13.50 for a two pack. (Can be bought plain white for £4 for two in Tesco in my DS2's size, and he's tall!)

Then school sweatshirts at £11.50 each with postageUntil the largest, 11-12 size, which DS2 is in in Y5, which are then £13.50 each.

Yes, all the tops I've had to pay an extra £2 per pack for, as DS2 has a very long body. Goodness knows what I'm meant to do for Y6!

It's a rip off. But the DC's get crests in Secondary and dragons in Primary if they are always in full uniform. Which means that everyone knows if you are NOT in uniform.

It's divisive and discriminatory to those that can't afford this. I spend more on each DC's school uniform than I do on my own adult clothes. It's ridiculous.

Oh - and the Secondary used to have an open day at the end if term where you could buy the uniform without the postage costs. They didn't do one this year, since becoming an Academy. angry

Schooluniformretailer Wed 22-Jan-14 12:18:02

Hi All

I am a school uniform retailer and have been for 28 years.

I can fully understand some of your frustrations. If you have any questions regarding uniform I am more than happy to answer them for you and I will be open and honest. Maybe it will help you understand how the industry works and take some of those frustrations away.

Speak soon


checkmates Sat 01-Feb-14 11:48:07

Some uniform deals done between suppliers and schools seem wrong to me. The uniform rules must NOT punish poorer parents. It needs seriously looking at

FiveExclamations Sat 03-May-14 20:33:16

Apologies for dragging out an almost zombied thread but I've just had the "welcoming your child to our High School" letter and forms.

I knew they'd changed the trousers for the 2014 intake from basic Supermarket to only one style, exclusively available from the website, but now there is also a compulsory, snazzy, shiny and be-loged P.E. kit that is going to set me back £35 more than last years options.

Other than undies, footwear and coat every single thing DD will wear at High School can only be brought from the online school shop.

Do schools simply ignore the DOE guidance? "The school uniform should be easily available for parents to purchase and schools should seek to select items that can be purchased cheaply, for example in a supermarket or other good value shop. Schools should keep compulsory branded items to a minimum and avoid specifying expensive items of uniform eg expensive outdoor coats."

taken from DOE advice here

I will go check out the CAB campaign, but I wanted to rant too. Dear rulers of Mumsnet, I know your burdens are heavy, but when you've kicked Bounty out of maternity wards could you have another think about this?

zebarella Tue 20-May-14 14:32:12

We fully support this idea, it creates increase financial pressure on parents when school monopolise the market with their own branded uniform.

MissBeeDee Tue 20-May-14 22:32:08

It's funny I found this, I have only just joined this website and this is one of the first things I see. I have 2 children in school, ages 4 and 6. The school sell the uniforms on site. The uniform consists of a school logo polo shirt, a grey skirt/trousers, a school jumper/cardigan, a school bag and a school PE kit. Altogether, to clothe both of my children will cost me £70, not including the skirt/trousers, shoes or new coats. However, the school have decided they do not want to provide the uniforms anymore and now we must go to a specialist uniform shop where they have put all the prices up, meaning that I need to pay just over £100 for 4 t'shirts, 2 cardigans, 2 jumpers, 2 bags and 2 PE kits. Our family doesn't have a lot of money although we work. I think it is disgusting that parents have to pay that kind of money on a uniform when you can get a full uniform from Asda for a lot less. I want to complain to the councellors about this but I'm not sure how I do it. Does anybody have any ideas?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now