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State primary making parents buy uniform from them by changing it to obscure colours?

(33 Posts)
peapodlovescuddles Mon 22-Jun-09 13:13:19

Are schools allowed to do this? My younger ones are at (an admittedly fussy and prissy and decidedly middle class) primary school. As legislation required parents to be able to buy the uniform from m&s/asda/tesco etc without the school badge the school got upset, the children didn't look as smart (true) so from September they're phasing in a new uniform. In principle you can still buy the uniform from anywhere but I have never seen lilac sweatshirts on sale in Sainsburies or royal blue skirts...
A good friend of mine doesn't have much money and this is going to kill her financially. The sweatshirt for the infants costs £22, her DD will need 2. The Pinafore/skirt will be £30.

While the new uniform looks lovely this seems to be a way of discouraging lower income families from applying. Can they do this?

And does anyone know if there are any highstreet shops where you can buy the following?

Lilac sweatshirt
Lilac cardigan
Royal blue bib pinafore
Royal blue skirt

or for the juniors
Lilac jumper
Royal Blue skirt
Royal blue blazer (blazer isn't compulsory)

Thanks

paisleyleaf Mon 22-Jun-09 13:21:18

I don't know, I thought they had to have a uniform that's easily available at the cheaper shops.
So I guess if push came to shove they aren't supposed to be able to do this.
Sounds like you're right though - and they are doing it to get the money. I've thought that about the turquoise uniform at a school by us.
£22 is a very expensive sweatshirt!
I don't know what to suggest.....dylon?

ninedragons Mon 22-Jun-09 13:21:39

I'd write to the Head or the Bursar and ask if they're going to introduce some sort of grant for low-income families.

Failing that, I'd let my DCs wear Bratz/HSM or their superhero costumes to school, and start a mass insurrection of seven-year-olds, who won't wear their uniforms when so-and-so goes to school dressed as Spiderman every day.

My own school uniform was incredibly, stupidly expensive (had to be ordered three months in advance, hand made in Scotland and sent out to Australia) and I always felt sorry for my parents - they must have lived in constant fear that I would lean on a freshly painted fence.

Lilyloo Mon 22-Jun-09 13:23:30

royal blue pinafore

skirt

Lot's of colour schoolwear here

seeker Mon 22-Jun-09 13:26:25

<seeker tries to imagine getting her ds into a lilac sweatshirt, fails, and has to go for a little lie down>

treedelivery Mon 22-Jun-09 13:26:30

I think you could approach the govenors with this. If they are going to do this funny colour malarky, then you could suggest it would be morally right to provide subsidised prices to those in need, and also a good, plentiful 2nd hand 'preloved and reused' service [green and all that innit?]. To inject life and interest into the scheme they could start by providing a core pool of uniform.

bigstripeytiger Mon 22-Jun-09 13:27:04

If someone could find a manufacturer it might be possible for a large group of parents to club together, and put in a v. large order, and so avoid having to find a shop.

I thought that uniforms were meant to be easily affordable.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 22-Jun-09 13:33:53

Here is the DCSF guidance to schools on uniform policy.
Governing body decide uniform policy. Did they bring in a totally new uniform without parent consultation? That is not good.
I would start a petition sharpish if you think a lot of parents disagree. At the very least there should be a meeting to explain the decision and allow parents to air any concerns.

smee Mon 22-Jun-09 13:37:11

I'd draft a letter to the Govenors. Simply include a price list for a normal uniform (ie can be got from shops), then a price list for the cheapest their suggested uniform will cost to show how absurd it is. Get as many parents as you can to sign, or to write their own letter.

treedelivery Mon 22-Jun-09 13:39:05

ANd def encourage the provision of a 'preloved' shop. It could be a project within the school on reuse and recycling, limiting airmiles, consumerism and so on. Older children could design the posters and all that stuff. Fun!

meemarsgotabrandnewbump Mon 22-Jun-09 13:49:57

That sounds outrageous (the policy).

And who decided the colours? Lilac and Royal blue is not a good combination shock

GrimmaTheNome Mon 22-Jun-09 13:50:59

A second-hand shop run by the PTA is a very good idea (DD goes to an independent school and lots of the kids wear second hand.) But its not much use when the school has just changed to a new uniform - unless as you say the school contributes a starting pool.

Expensive lilac gear is ridiculous - I don't think anywhere does lilac - impractical colour too.

You might be able to find royal blue items - I'm sure you can get sweatshirts/cardis in royal, maybe you could ask if those would be allowed as alternatives?

thirtysomething Mon 22-Jun-09 13:51:14

it all sounds loopy to me if it's a state school - I don't know what the legal position is but I'm pretty sure they're obliged to offer you a minimum of 2 different suppliers for items specific to the school i.e. logo-ed sweathsirts etc precisely so that prices can't be artificially fixed? I would definitely write to the governors too.

LouLovesAeroplaneJelly Mon 22-Jun-09 13:58:46

ninedragons - did you go to school in Toowoomba by any chance?

ninedragons Mon 22-Jun-09 14:09:01

Nope, but I can't say more or I will out myself to anyone else who went there - it was such an odd uniform.

LouLovesAeroplaneJelly Mon 22-Jun-09 15:32:22

Thats ok. Ours I think were made in Scotland too. Ahh long winter kilts. Oh how I miss them hmm. Well I thank my lucky stars that I never had to wear lime green a la a school in Brisbane grin

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Mon 22-Jun-09 15:34:44

Get on to the LEA and get them to give the school a kick up the arse.

Outrageous policy.

mummydoc Mon 22-Jun-09 15:51:18

my dd was going to go to that school in brisbane if we stayed there !!! smile

the oposters uniform sound rediculous, my dc are at private prep which is never knowingly under uniformed and even ours arn't as expensive ....my dd2's sweatshirts with school logo = £15 and dd1 kilt in schools own tarten only £29 . i would be outraged and what are th boys wearing ...lilac ??????

DontCallMeBaby Mon 22-Jun-09 15:52:35

Good link from LGP.

"governing bodies should help limit the expense of uniforms so that parents on low incomes do not feel that the prospective cost of the uniform means that they cannot apply for their preferred school. Governing bodies should ensure that the uniform chosen is widely available in high street shops and other retail outlets, and internet suppliers rather than from an expensive sole supplier"

"should" is not absolutely carved in stone (that would be "must") but there are numerous references in that document that run completely counter to what this school is doing.

If you go down smee's route, be sure to include prices for non-internet suppliers as well (IF you can find them). Assuming that everyone has internet access is very non-inclusive, so if the school comes back saying 'but you can get them cheaper at www....' it's good to have a comeback.

hocuspontas Mon 22-Jun-09 17:14:23

Is it a mixed school? I can't imagine the 'cool' boys wanting to wear lilac.

Seeing as primary schools can't enforce any uniform policy I'd start sending my DD to school in jeans and t-shirt if her school did this. £22 is a disgusting price for a school sweater.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 22-Jun-09 17:37:48

Excellent point from Meemar there. Who could possibly think lilac and royal blue a good combo? The aesthetic objection alone is overwhelming IMO.

peapodlovescuddles Mon 22-Jun-09 17:46:10

Yep, I can't even imagine the headaches that will ensue getting DS to wear his lovely lilac pullover, stripy tie and pale blue shirt...
DD on the other hand is 'super excited' about getting to wear lilac tights next year. We are reasonably wealthy (DH is a very well recompensed lawyer, high 6 figure salary etc) and if she thinks I'm paying £6 for her requisite 5 pairs of tights every fortnight (she ladders them like there's no tomorrow) she's sorely mistaken! It'll be grey for her 4 times out of 5!
Have found the skirts online direct from the supplier for almost half the price so will be buying from there, might investigate a bulk buy too!

Thanks!

Mummy2Scarlet Mon 22-Jun-09 18:22:15

A similar thing happened at my nephew's secondary school - they introducted ridiculously priced items from one supplier, and then expected all the pupils to go and buy the uniform during the summer holidays, regardless of whether they had bought a blazer during the Easter holidays. After the summer holidays, apparently, some of the kids hadn't bought the blazer, and the senior teacher told them that if they didn't have the correct uniform by the next day, he wouldn't let them into school.
He also tried to introduce non-fitted, baggy shirts for the girls, which went down really well, and used to walk around the classrooms, asking the girls to 'lift their arms up', to see if the shirts untucked from their skirts. Is this even legal?

katiestar Mon 22-Jun-09 19:45:59

Lilac sweatshirt and royal blue skirt.Sounds a very odd colour combination and very girly !

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