School uniforms in Wales will be more affordable, as well as being gender-neutral, following statutory guidance published by Kirsty Williams today.
Governing bodies will be expected to consider how the cost of uniforms can be kept down. This could be through stipulating items and colours, but not styles, which would allow things to be bought from different outlets. They will also be expected to consider whether logos are strictly necessary, and if so, whether they should apply to just one item of uniform or provided free of charge.
Furthermore, it will be expected that when a list of clothing items is published by a school, the items will not be assigned to a specific gender.
The guidance comes into force from 1st September 2019, replacing previous guidance that was not statutory.
In recent years the Welsh Liberal Democrat’s Pupil Premium (Pupil Development Grant) has been expanded with the ‘PDG Access’, which supports families to meet the cost of the school day. Eligible pupils can receive £125, or £200 for those beginning secondary schools, to help with things like uniform, kit and equipment. The scheme is now worth £5million following an announcement made by Kirsty Williams ahead of the Welsh Liberal Democrat’s Spring Conference in 2019.
Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister, said:
“I’ve already taken steps to support families in meeting the costs of uniform, but I want to go further and consider whether these costs need to be so high in the first place.
“Together, PDG Access and the guidance in force from September will allow more children to focus on their studies and fulfil their potential.
“The guidance will also move away from outdated ideas of what clothes are suitable for a particular gender, helping more pupils to be comfortable in what they wear.”