September 1: Why the value of school uniform outweighs the expense

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From: David Burgess, Chairman, The Schoolwear Association.

THERE appears to be a strong agenda in the national media to focus on the poor struggling to buy school uniform, with the clear benefits of school uniform being totally ignored. I am concerned that concentration on this rhetoric without a proper understanding of the real value of quality uniform could be detrimental to the schoolwear industry, the schools and the children too.

School uniform is a serious matter and should not be brought down to the lowest common denominator.

Here are seven reasons why school-specific school uniform should be respected:

It is an important part of a child’s life. A quality uniform can help to give confidence and promote pride and a sense of community.

There is a very big difference between clothes for school and a properly balanced school uniform which is just that “uniform”.

The right balance between school specific and generic is essential, otherwise it is not effective as a proper uniform.

Respect, for the uniform, for the school rules and the teachers, is an essential part of the smooth functioning of a school. Sir Michael Wilshaw has made his views very clear on its importance.

Every August and early September, there is a hysteria in the media, which is totally misguided. On the whole schools and parents make good choices.

The only time any parent has to spend significant money on uniform at Back to School, is for the start of Year 7, when their child moves to secondary school. The cost can be spread over many months.

Independent research has shown that school uniform is great value for money, much cheaper than “fashion” clothing worn out of school hours, and that the vast majority of parents are satisfied with their school’s current arrangements.

These comments certainly reflect the frustration that myself and many of our members at The Schoolwear Association feel during back to school time.

From: David Hallam-Jones, Cross Street, Nottingham

HOW saddened I was to hear of Professor Michael Tracey (The University of Colorado, Boulder, USA) reporting a conversation with a childcare worker who asked a young girl: “What would you like to be when you grow up?”

The child replied: “I want to be a phone so that my parents will pay more attention to me.”