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Changing the uniform - primary

(23 Posts)
someonelsejustforamoment Thu 06-Oct-11 21:02:23

So my child has just started in reception - fully kitted out with uniform from M+S, Clarks shoes, the works.

Six weeks in, the new head has changed the uniform policy. From after Oct half term, the half dozen sweaters/jumpers/cardigans and polo shirts are no longer 'allowed' as they are the wrong colour. They are giving us 1 free jumper and offering to swap (sic) 1 other jumper for a £3 fee.

I am not willing to just chuck a load of brand new barely worn gear and replace it. Any suggestions please - how are changes to uniform usually brought in?
I was thinking that fair warning would be a better idea, so you can replace items as they are needed with the new stuff (as clothes get grown out of/lost/wrecked) They will not be grown out of by November, some of it is yet to be grown into !

thejaffacakesareonme Thu 06-Oct-11 21:08:55

Our school tried to do this a few years ago. THe head received a flood of e mails and letters. Many people also complained to the PTA. The biggest number just simply carried on and ignored the change in policy. It's never been mentioned again.

DontCallMeBaby Thu 06-Oct-11 21:11:28

They shouldn't be giving such short notice - I don't know what's recommended/mandated, but I'm sure someone will be along shortly who does know. But I do know that state primary schools CAN NOT insist on uniform at all, so they are on very shaky ground indeed being unreasonable about uniform.

If you choose to complain, complain to the head and board of governors - not the PTA, it's nothing to do with them.

thejaffacakesareonme Thu 06-Oct-11 21:17:31

Sorry, I'm in Scotland. We don't have governors, but up here the PTAs tend to have quite a lot of influence with the school management.

someonelsejustforamoment Thu 06-Oct-11 21:25:39

I am thinking of writing a letter along the lines of - I will be happy to replace items as needed with the new school colours, but as I am sure you will appreciate, we have just bought a large amount of new uniform in the colours we were advised to and it would be both wasteful and costly to replace them after just a few weeks.

I am not rebellious in the slightest, but this has really got my goat. And I don't want to fall out with the (new) HT. But this is really taking the piss. DC has got 2 logo'd jumpers, wrong colour, £8 quid a go that have been worn twice maybe?

Everything else is all labelled up/got pen marks on already so I couldn't even ebay it if I wanted to. HT is a new broom, sweeping clean -in special measures and cracking down on all sorts.

thejaffacakesareonme Thu 06-Oct-11 21:35:35

Does the school pride itself on being environmentally friendly? If so, it may be worth pointing out how wasteful the change would be. I'd also maybe suggest that it would be more appropriate for any changes to be brought in next September, so that parents have plenty of time within which to buy the new uniform next summer.

someonelsejustforamoment Thu 06-Oct-11 21:47:36

TBH the school has very little to pride itself on at present sad

DontCallMeBaby Thu 06-Oct-11 21:49:27

jaffacakes I didn't know that ... actually round here all us governors are mostly mild types and the PTA are, you know, more outgoing, ahem! I'm sure they would have plenty of influence if pushed.

Anyway, to the matter in hand ...

Governor guidance: "Schools should consult widely on proposed school uniform policies and changes to established policies. They should ensure their policies are fair and reasonable and have regard to their obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 and anti-discrimination legislation. They should also give high priority to the cost of the uniform."

DirectGov: "Governing bodies should consult parents for their views and concerns before changing or deciding on a new uniform policy."

DfE: "If you have any complaints about the uniform policy or dress code, talk to the school governing body."

The environmental argument is good too - I'm holding this one in reserve myself in case DD gets into trouble for her tracksuit (the any-old one we bought her in Yr2 at the school's behest, barely worn and not outgrown, instead of the hideous and overpriced item mandated in Yr 3).

netherlee Thu 06-Oct-11 21:53:17

This wouldnt be allowed to happen in our schools. At the very least (assuming it is the head and not mistakes by parents what they bought) they should phase in new rules to allow children to outgrowe the existing uniform. Legally I dont know what you can do, though the very fact primaries cant enforce uniform should mean they at least have to accept the old one for a reasonable period.

someonelsejustforamoment Thu 06-Oct-11 21:54:28

Cost is a big factor for lots of us - we are in a very 'deprived' area, high proportion on FSM. I understand part of why you cant get a uniform grant for primary is because they can't enforce it anyway - ie in secondary you could be sent home for not being in the correct uniform, they can't do that for primary.

Consult widely - no. It was mentioned last week that they are reviewing in. Letter today giving the instructions. I know one of the governors, will see how it came about because I know for a fact that she was not mad on the idea.

hester Thu 06-Oct-11 21:58:35

I think that's outrageous and I would be very surprised if it's usual practice. A school local to me has just changed its uniform, and I think allowed a year's grace to allow children to grow out of the old stuff.

I would kick up, I really would. There will be families for whom this is an impossible financial burden, especially in the current climate.

acrunchieandacupoftea Thu 06-Oct-11 22:01:13

Start a petition!

startail Thu 06-Oct-11 22:01:20

Defiantly a case of smile sweetly and carry on.
New uniform new attitude rebranding has I believed worked in some schools, but trying just after everyone's bought uniform rather than over the summer RIDICULOUS!

DontCallMeBaby Thu 06-Oct-11 22:03:25

I think the cost element of the guidance is primarily about not stipulating specific suppliers, expensive items, etc, rather than one-off cost of replacement uniform, but still a very good argument to use. It's definitely main reason for giving plenty of notice. Consultation is going help with buy-in from parents, doing it like this is absolutely not ... sounds like a new head trying to make a mark, and going about it entirely the wrong way.

TBH, as a governing body it's not difficult to be steamrollered by a determined headteacher (they tend to be rather strong characters, as most of the time you want them to be!) but with the parents behind you it's a rather different matter. You should put something in writing to the governing body, as well as talking to your friend, and make sure as many other parents as possible know that this is something they can do.

someonelsejustforamoment Thu 06-Oct-11 22:03:34

That's what I think too hester . A years notice, we would be planning on hand me downs, and gives you time to start replacing stuff as and when it's needed and affordable.

Anyone know if there are any other guidelines in addition to the above. I want to write an eloquent snotty lettergrin

Bugger. I was looking into becoming a governor as well but I don't want the HT to hate me already! He is the ex services type - shiny shoes/if you're not 15 minutes early then you are late kind of attitude. Has done fab things with his previous schools though, to be fair.

Aftereightsaremine Thu 06-Oct-11 22:06:20

Dcs school have a 2 year phase in policy for uniform change which I think is reasonable .

someonelsejustforamoment Thu 06-Oct-11 22:07:47

43% free school meals, I just checked. Wow. Well I know what I will be doing tomorrow. And it won't involve shopping for new uniform wink

panelmember Thu 06-Oct-11 22:19:11

It simply isn't true that primary schools can't insist on school uniform - that is an urban myth propagated by (amongst others) MN. They can insist - although they have few sanctions if pupils and parents don't comply - as was discussed at length on this thread. Where the confusion arises, I think, is that primary schools don't have to adopt a uniform (although they are given a strong push in this direction by the DfE) but, once they do, they can insist that pupils wear it.

Even so, there is a lot here that sounds wrong - lack of consultation, almost non-existent lead-in time, and is this going to be a monopoly arrangement for supplying the new uniform? Look at the guidance linked to on the other thread.

It may be no coincidence that this is a school in special measures. When one local school went into special measures, the first thing the incoming HT did to mark the new era was introduce a new uniform.

someonelsejustforamoment Thu 06-Oct-11 22:35:01

Not a monopoly problem, the logos are only on jumpers and are optional - they are fine with a Tesco sweatshirt.

I am sure it is a lot to do with the HT making his mark - he has also changed the start time for the school day, twice.

Morning arrangements for pupils arriving have changed 3 times so far. Most of the changes are fine/minor but they are not communicating very well with the parents at all. Lots of muttering on the playground etc.

ICantFindAFreeNickName Thu 06-Oct-11 22:42:09

I thought schools were meant to give parents a years notice when changing uniform. It's not fair to change it when most people buy new items for September.

ICantFindAFreeNickName Thu 06-Oct-11 22:43:52

I think the year guideline applies to changing the school start & end time as well. I would be tempted to writea letter of complaint to the LEA as well as the Head & Governors.

someonelsejustforamoment Thu 06-Oct-11 23:04:32

Thanks all, lots to ponder.

Theas18 Thu 06-Oct-11 23:30:31

And all those hand me downs that have been carefully saved!! This happened to us in a similar way- I had a whole school life worth of blouses from dd1 saved for dd2!

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