School Uniform Single Supplier & spiralling costs

(23 Posts)
Ragusa Wed 18-Sep-13 21:29:22

God, how depressing......to think there's possibly no sanction for breaking the admissions code.... bah!

BlackMogul Wed 18-Sep-13 19:12:12

I do think some schools, especially rebranded Academies, are very uniform conscious as they want a fresh new start to wipe out what has gone before. Some parents like the idea of out with the old and in with the new and these types of people will be backing up the governing body. There are many schools that do not comply with the admissions code , a well known Catholic one for starters. How many years has ths been going on without anyone really changing anything?

NoComet Wed 18-Sep-13 19:05:36

I really do think logo'd track suits should be optional. DD1 does bugger all out door PE and would hardly ever wear one.

DD2 comes home plastered in mud twice a week and is out several lunch times too.

pointythings Wed 18-Sep-13 18:57:42

Apparently the Lib Dems are pushing for more stringent guidance on school uniforms and the cartels that schools form with suppliers, but no-one is pushing for actual legislation that will force schools to keep costs down. What's worse, David Cameron just brushed it off with a 'Uniform=good' comment, implying 'suck it up you poor plebs, we don't care'.

£58 for PE kit alone is outrageous, DD1's school charged £48 for everything that was compulsory (blazer, tie, PE shirt in house colours, socks, shorts) and everything else could be bought freely elsewhere. DD looks very smart. It's a good school. This wealth selection by the back door has to stop.

Ragusa Wed 18-Sep-13 16:44:36

Quite possibly, BlackMogul, I defer to your experience grin. Maybe they would feel differently though if concerns were raised about the potential for non-compliance with the admissions code.... or maybe they still wouldn't care!

BlackMogul Wed 18-Sep-13 11:25:11

It is not just independent schools that charge a lot for uniforms! The prices quoted by OP were not ridiculously high and, as you can see, other state schools are significantly more. I agree that this is selection by another route though! If you cannot afford to pay, you cannot afford to go. As an aside, when I went to state grammar school - way back - my uniform cost £66. This was three times my Dad's weekly wage. My raincoat alone, with hood lining specially made for the school, was nearly £20 on its own!!! My Dad's first words on hearing I had passed my 11+ were "And how much is that going to cost me?" None of the prices quoted above are even near that level of expenditure. (Except maybe the £500). I think you would find, Ragusa, that the governing body has decided the uniform policy and one dissenting governor will not be listened to. (Been there, got the t shirt).

porcupine1001 Wed 18-Sep-13 08:39:27

Marmitelover - Gosh £500 pounds I think I should count myself lucky

Ragusa - A letter is in hand

thanks

Marmitelover55 Tue 17-Sep-13 19:23:37

Oops sorry terrible typos on my phone.

Marmitelover55 Tue 17-Sep-13 19:23:05

Ragusa - it is an ex private school and I think they kept the same uniform. There was a choice for the blazer - the more expensive tailored one and the cheaper in tailored one. Of course DD1 being very petite, wax drowned by the cheaper one, do we ended up with the more expensive one.

Ragusa Tue 17-Sep-13 13:46:29

£500 for a state school uniform??? I think that is disgusting. There can be no justifuable reason for that and I am pretty sure that if challenged, this would be found to be in contravention of the School Admissions Code.

Porcupine, I really would complain. It's not like they can refuse to admit your kids in the future on that ground. Better still, get on the Governing body so you can influence things from the inside.

Lancelottie Tue 17-Sep-13 11:19:11

I thought we just had to suck it up for school uniform -- till I moved DS from the school where we had paid £250 to kit him out for yr 7 (sob!), to a different school where in total the new uniform came to £78.

Admittedly I gratefully seized the free, outgrown rugby shirt we were offered by another parent, and DS has only just mentioned that they changed the colour for those about 4 years back so he is the only one wearing black and red stripes rather than red and white... but nobody seems to mind.

God I like our school. Scruffy but nice.

Marmitelover55 Tue 17-Sep-13 08:06:23

My DD1's uniform was very expensive and is only available from the school's own uniform shop. It is a state academy and the uniform cost in excess of £500. She does look very smart though and it was great to be able to make an appointment in thx shop for a fitting rather than experienced the extreme chaos of the main school uniform supplier for the other state schools (as I had to do for DD2). I believe uniform grants were available to help families on free school meals with the cost. DD1 is very small, so I am concerned that she will shoot up and we will have to spend a similar amount next year. DD2 is nearly ax tall and won't start for another. 2 years, so not sure if any hand me downs will fit.

porcupine1001 Tue 17-Sep-13 00:20:08

Ragusa I found the school uniform guidance 2013 & the school admissions code 1 february 2012 from DofE thanks

StarBallBunny all the PE kit bar the socks is logo-ed
the tracksuit (for example) is black with red piping and logo-ed, even without the logo the colour black with red piping make it so specific it would not be possible to buy from a supermarket or sports direct etc..
it is no longer a straight black

initially it was preferably black, then mandatory black now a couple of years on it is mandatory black with red piping with logo and only from a specified single supplier

porcupine1001 Mon 16-Sep-13 23:50:52

Ragusa thanks, interesting about the admissions code & non-statutory guidance on not using one supplier which I wasn't aware of
am reluctant to write to the school/gov since an additional dc will be going to same school and it will just raise a flag for them for the future

there is no longer room for raising constructive criticism

wrt hand-me-downs, they are not actually banned, but are effectively because of the logo issue

NoComet Mon 16-Sep-13 23:50:24

It's compulsory logos on tracksuit tops and especially trousers I would complain about.

DD1 shot up in her last year at primary school. Her PE kit from Y7 still fits her in Y11. All that's been replaced is her tracksuit trousers as she's got taller.

DD2 is much slighter and shorter, even in Y8 she doesn't need a bra. I'm certain that in a years time all her PE Kit will be too small. A lot of Y7's both girls and boys are going to shoot up and fill out, therefore expensive trousers are especially unwelcome.

Ragusa Mon 16-Sep-13 23:46:13

Here is the wording from the Admissions Code:

"Admission authorities must ensure that their arrangements will not
disadvantage unfairly, either directly or indirectly, a child from a particular social or racial group, or a child with a disability or special educational needs, and that other policies around school uniform or school trips do not
discourage parents from applying for a place for their child."

From the non-statutory guidance on uniform:

"No school uniform should be so expensive as to leave pupils or their families feeling unable to apply to, or attend, a school of their choice, due to the cost of the uniform. School governing bodies should therefore give high priority to cost considerations. The governing body should be able to demonstrate how best value has been achieved and keep the cost of supplying the uniform under review.

When considering how the school uniform should be sourced, governing bodies should give highest priority to the consideration of cost and value for money for parents.

The school uniform should be easily available for parents to purchase
and schools should seek to select items that can be purchased cheaply, for example in a supermarket or other good value shop.

Schools should keep compulsory branded items to a minimum
and avoid specifying expensive items of uniform eg expensive outdoor coats. Governing bodies should be able to demonstrate that they have obtained the best value for money from suppliers. Any savings negotiated with suppliers should be passed on to parents wherever possible.

Schools should not enter into cash back arrangements. Exclusive single supplier contracts should be avoided unless regular tendering competitions are run where more than one supplier can compete for the contract and where best value for parents is secured."

THere is then some bumph about schools offering financial assistance, especially when new uniform rules are brought in.

So, basically, the school would appear to be doing most things wrong on the uniform front. WHether they care, however, is another matter...

Ragusa Mon 16-Sep-13 23:38:03

I think that is outrageous for a non- fee-paying school.

I think even though it is an academy school, it will be bound by the statutory school admissions code . The admissions code contains words to the effect that schools should not set a uniform policy which might actively discourage less wealthy parents from applying. I think £50 for a PE kit is going to do that.

There is also non-statutory guidance on not using one supplier, not insisting on branded/ logoed items etc. But of course schools don't have to follow it...

I think if I were you I would be feeling a strongly-worded letter to the chair of governors coming on grin reminding the school of their legal duties regarding the statutory school admissions code, and the non-statutory guidance on school uniform... If that doesn't do any good, you can complain to the Secretary of State. Or the press. It's the kind of story they'd go for.

I hate it when schools do this. And the stuff about no hand-me-downs is stupid.

porcupine1001 Mon 16-Sep-13 23:36:22

starballbunny I understand that old hand-me-down pe kit will not be allowed if not logo-ed

porcupine1001 Mon 16-Sep-13 23:27:50

blackmogul maybe for private school pe kits cost more?
and maybe I am just tight or out of touch

I think schools have a duty to minimise costs where they can
or not to spend my money on their 'nice to haves'
they may not be excessive in themselves but the costs are cumulative
and it is not a question of choice
I quite agree with school uniform but not logo-ing everything
and I do wonder why a single supplier is specified (is that against competition laws?)

starballbunny I understand that old hand-me-down pe kit will not be allowed

BlackMogul Mon 16-Sep-13 23:10:13

These prices are reasonable! What is the problem? I was proud that my DDs looked smart in their sports kit and believe me it cost way more than this. Bag with logo too, gum shield, weatherproof jacket and trousers as well as various shoes for indoor and outdoor sports. The kit should last a few years.

NoComet Mon 16-Sep-13 23:03:44

And no one would worry if DD2 wore DD2's polo shirts even though they are the old design.

DD2 would worry, she's much smaller than DD1was at her age.

NoComet Mon 16-Sep-13 23:00:50

and now the new PE kit is required now that the school has become an academy (that is another story)!

Just the PE Kit
that is utterly unreasonable.
Essential :-
Logo'd Polo : £7.50
Skort Mesh : £14.00? (I know they are a lot), uniform lists black shorts, but every on has skorts.
Socks Sport : £04.50

Any plain black, tracksuit trousers and plain black sweat shirt.

DD2 does have an £18.50 logo'd school team hoodie, because she does every sport club going, but DD1 has a very cheap plain sweat shirt. Both have -£10 sport direct trousers. DD1's double as drama kit too!

porcupine1001 Mon 16-Sep-13 22:43:47

hi
DC has just had a new uniform policy, all PE kit to be purchased from a single specified supplier
I thought in today's current economic climate that schools would wish to be sympathetic where they can
School tie & school badge on blazer & sweatshirt with school logo
(agree this is reasonable)
(Had already bought PE kit in previous years => hoped to hand down some!)
and now the new PE kit is required now that the school has become an academy (that is another story)!

Just the PE Kit
Essential :-
Girl Fit Sports Polo : £10.50
Skort Mesh : £11.00
Socks Sport : £04.50
Girl Fit Microfleece + Piping : £17.00
Total : £43:00
Optional (not really optional in the UK winters!)
Tracksuit Bottoms : £15.50
Actual Total : £58.50

All of this has a logo except for the school socks
and the letter says :-

New P.E.KIT foe Sept 2013 To be purchased ONLY from "Company Name" via the school website

almost everything now is logo-ed => more cost
single specified supplier => more cost

I don't know but suspect that the school gets a kick back for specifying this single supplier

I saw this article on the Beeb :-
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24095539

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