Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
'School uniform must be as cheap as possible', says secretary of state for education Michael Gove
The Secretary of State for Education has said all schools should ensure uniform is "as cheap as possible" after a Bushey academy angered parents by raising its prices.
Michael Gove’s comments come after Watford MP Richard Harrington and Hertsmere MP James Clappison wrote to the head teacher of Bushey Meads School about "hardship" challenges facing parents, who are now required to fork out £22.50 on new regulation trousers.
Many parents are outraged at the cost of the new trousers and skirts, which are embroidered with BMS just under the waistband.
Mr Gove said that, while uniform is "integral and absolutely essential" to a school’s ethos, new government guidance released a few weeks ago states that uniform should also be affordable for families.
The government minister said: "We produced new guidance just a few weeks ago for all schools to make sure that school uniform is as cheap as possible.
"A smart school uniform is integral and absolutely essential to ensure that a school can have the type of behaviour policy, the type of discipline and the type of pride in the community which we would all like to see, but parents are facing a tough time."
As an academy, the Coldharbour Lane secondary school is able to set its own policy with regard to school uniform.
Mr Gove said he has been "grateful" to Mr Harrington and others who have raised the issue of the cost of school uniform.
He added: "I want to act under the guidance that we issued just a few weeks ago which I hope will help ensure and help parents ensure that schools do everything that they can to make sure that uniform is smart but also value for money."
However, in response to Mr Harrington’s and Mr Clappison’s concerns, the school said that, in cases of genuine hardship, assistance is available to cover the cost of the first purchase of items.
Mr Gove added: "Sometimes it’s the case that, by paying a little bit more for uniform you’re going to have something that will last for longer and will be more hard wearing.
"And many schools, as this other academy has done, also have schemes which mean that parents, for example, who are eligible for free school uniforms get all the support they need in order to get their uniform costs paid."
Comments are closed on this article.