York Labour Group is backing a Bill being introduced this week in Parliament by Mike Amesbury, Labour MP for Weaver Vale, that aims to reduce the costs of school uniforms. If passed, the bill will require head teachers to draw up totally inclusive uniform policies and ensure that schools are only able to specify basic items such as trousers and shirts – but not styles.
Councillor Danny Myers, Leader of the Labour Group has written to the Interim Chief Executive of the Council, Ian Floyd, to highlight his concerns regarding rising school uniform costs across the city. A Department of Education study in 2015 showed that school uniforms averaged almost £213 per child. Adjusting for inflation the cost today would be closer to £230.
Cllr Myers said: “Across the city we are seeing more and more concerns being raised about the rising costs of school uniforms. When new items are introduced, or uniform changes made, these come at a very significant cost to household budgets.
“There has been a 66% increase in child poverty in York since 2015 and I am extremely concerned that rising uniform costs are adding unnecessarily to household pressures.
“It is time we looked seriously at how, regardless of family circumstances, children can access the same uniform and feel as much a part of their school community as everyone else. This means making sure that uniform can be purchased from a variety of suppliers, including supermarkets, and introducing a more co-ordinated city-wide uniform exchange, which should also reduce waste.
“Household budgets are continuously being squeezed and York has a very high cost of living. It is therefore so important that the Council makes this issue a priority and puts in place an action plan to work with schools so that cost is always a key consideration when setting school uniform policy.”