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School Uniform Supply Regulations

Volume 566: debated on Tuesday 16 July 2013

The Petition of residents of Feltham and Heston,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that Central Government should amend regulations in regard to school academy’s powers to make decisions on appointing school uniform suppliers without formally opening tendering opportunities to local enterprise suppliers and believe that the London Borough of Hounslow should formally join this application for amendment.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to make amendments to school uniform supply regulations to allow opportunities for local enterprise suppliers.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Seema Malhotra, Official Report, 25 April 2013; Vol. 561, c. 1066.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Education:

Ministers are clear that school uniform should not act as a barrier to parents when choosing a school. The School Admissions Code (2012) paragraph 1.8 states that,

“admission authorities must ensure [...] policies around school uniform or school trips do not discourage parents from applying for a place for their child”.

This is supported by the Department’s non-statutory school uniform guidance which states that,

“governing bodies (and academy trusts) should be able to demonstrate how best value has been achieved and keep the cost of supplying uniform under review”.

A link to the guidance can be found here:

The sourcing of school uniform is a local decision, taken by the governing body of a school, or in the case of academies (including free schools), the academy trust. There are no regulatory obstacles in the way of a school opening tendering opportunities to local suppliers.

Where parents have concerns about the procurement of school uniform they should speak directly to the school concerned. Issues should be taken up with the head teacher in the first instance, then the Chair of the governing body or academy trust. In law, governing bodies must have procedures in place which would deal with issues such as a complaint about school uniform. Governors should aim to work with parents to arrive at a mutually acceptable outcome. If parents are unsatisfied with the outcome of their discussion with the school they can contact the Department with their complaint.