Councillor says parents paying for branded uniforms in Nottinghamshire during cost of living crisis is ‘ridiculous’

A Nottinghamshire councillor said asking parents to pay for branded school uniforms during a cost of living crisis is ‘utterly ridiculous’.

By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 1:27 pm

Nottinghamshire County Council councillor Daniel Williamson criticised schools which say children must wear uniforms branded with their logo or emblem at an increased cost to parents, compared with generic plain school clothing.

He said he has written to Coun Tracey Taylor, council children and young people’s committee chairman, asking her to write to relevant schools asking that they remove the requirement.

The committee discussed the council’s ‘exceptional payments’ scheme for school uniform and footwear during its latest meeting.

Councillor Daniel Williamson, of Nottinghamshire County Council.

It gives money to families struggling to afford school uniform in exceptional circumstances.

Exceptional circumstances are defined as ‘families who have experienced and can demonstrate severe hardship which has resulted in the family being unable to afford uniform and where this affects the ability of the children attending school’.

This includes families who have lost clothes in a fire, a flood, theft, been made homeless or are fleeing domestic violence.

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Outside of the meeting, Coun Williamson raised concerns over schools which insist on branded uniforms, which are often more expensive, during the cost of living crisis.

He said: “We have a massive cost of living increase and utility bills are soaring. There is no real wage increase to match it.

“We end up in a desperate situation where parents are paying for something with a little emblem on it for five or six times the cost of unbranded uniforms.

“It’s about a child’s access to education rather than their appearance. You should be presentable but not at a cost of your ability to learn.

“The real impact is the unbearable cost on parents.

“Families are making choices between eating, heating or a lovely shiny blazer.

“There is a massive undercurrent of people whose families work 40 hours a week but they still have to go to food banks. Paying £25 for a skirt or trousers is utterly ridiculous to me.

“If we have the clear message that education is more important than how we look that will benefit children in the whole of the county.”

The council has been approached for comment.

In Bassetlaw, there is a school uniform bank that collects donations of new and good condition pre-loved school uniforms which it offers to families.

There are various collection points for people to donate items around Worksop, including in Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, in Sandy Lane, Poplar Church, Now Church, From The Heart office and at Sparken Hill Academy.

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