Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has today launched a consultation on ensuring school uniforms are gender-neutral, affordable and more available.
The consultation is seeking views on draft statutory guidance that would see a more consistent approach when school governing bodies set school uniform and appearance policy.
In April, Welsh Liberal Democrats members passed a conference motion calling on the Welsh Government to update guidance to reflect a gender-neutral approach to school uniforms. In response, Kirsty Williams vowed to take action to ensure that guidance is updated.
Equality forms a key part of the guidance, with governing bodies required to think about issues such as discrimination on grounds of race or religious belief, disability and sex and gender identity – with the latter taking into account gender-neutral school uniform items and how governing bodies can meet the needs of pupils undergoing gender reassignment.
Under the new guidance, governing bodies would also be expected to consider ways of keeping down the costs of school uniform. These could include stipulating basic items and colours but not styles; this would mean that items could be bought from multiple retail chains at reasonable prices and not just from one supplier.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented
I was proud we passed a motion calling for gender neutral school uniforms at our Spring Conference earlier this year. I’m delighted this motion is now being put into action by Kirsty Williams and the Welsh Lib Dems in government.
We have a proud record of standing up for Trans and non-binary communities and this consultation is the latest example.
Gender-neutral school uniforms are essential to make our schools inclusive for our Trans and non-binary pupils. This is an important step that will prevent bullying, improve the mental health of our Trans and non-binary pupils and help create a more equal society.
I also welcome moves being taken to ensure that uniform costs are kept down – this will be welcome news for many families across Wales.