Stormont Education Committee Says School Uniform Cost Is Burden To Local Parents

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Education today noted its concern on new research highlighting the spiralling cost to parents of school uniforms.

dn_screenCommittee Chairperson Peter Weir MLA said: “At this time of year, many families are struggling to meet the costs of new school uniforms. A recent survey has shown that uniforms on average cost local parents around £100 per child in primary school and around £180 per child in post-primary. The Committee was also shocked to learn that school uniforms for a quarter of all local schools are only available to purchase from one or two retailers. This is at odds with the guidance issued by the Department. The research also shows that the rest of the UK does much better on costs and retailer choice – significantly reducing the costs for parents in other jurisdictions.

Mr Weir added: “Although the Clothing Allowances Scheme provides welcome support, this is often simply not enough to cover the costs of those most in need and not available at all to some less well-off working families.

“The Committee is calling on the Department to take effective action in encouraging schools to use more generic and less branded uniform items and to ensure a wider choice for parents of uniform retailers. This we feel could result in more competitive pricing structures and should importantly lower costs for struggling families.”

Education Committee Membership: Chairperson: Peter Weir MLA Deputy Chairperson: Sandra Overend MLA Jonathan Craig MLA Chris Hazzard MLA (SouthDown) Ross Hussey MLA Trevor Lunn MLA Nelson McCausland MLA Maeve McLaughlin MLA Robin Newton MLA Sean Rogers MLA (South Down) Pat Sheehan MLA