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Welsh Government urged to take action on uniform costs

24 May 2024 4 minute read
School Uniforms

Emily Price

The Welsh Government has been urged to take action on school uniform costs by offering free uniforms and shoe tokens to families in poverty, reusing clothing items and banning non-uniform days.

Just over a week ago (8th May), the cross-party groups for Children & Families and Poverty came together for a joint meeting to discuss the impact poverty was having on young people in Wales.

In a joint letter to Cabinet Secretary for Education Lynne Neagle, the two Senedd groups have called on the Welsh Government to consider their recommendations.

The Senedd Members say that whilst a number of levers in addressing child poverty sit with the UK Government, there are measures that the Welsh Government could take.

Labour MS John Griffiths, Lib Dem MS Jane Dodds and Plaid Cymru MS Sioned Williams wrote: “Findings presented to us by Children in Wales found branded/logo uniform examples varying in price from £154 to £183. This was in contrast to examples of non-branded uniforms costing £75.

“This was quite a startling difference to those who attended our meeting – and even more so in the midst of a cost of living crisis, where food, energy and other household costs have all seen a big increase in the last 18 months.”


Research by the Bevan Foundation has shown that 670,000 people are living in relative income poverty, which equates to 21% of the Welsh population.

Of this figure, almost one third are children.

Their research also found 37% of households in poverty and with children were also unable to afford new essential clothing, including school uniforms.

The Welsh Government has taken some steps on school uniforms with former Education Minister Jeremy Miles making school badges and logos on uniforms not compulsory.

However, the cross-party group of MSs say further actions must be taken.

They said: “Poverty in the early years of a child’s life can have a significant and adverse impact on them.

“As we heard last week, it can make children feel anxious and stressed, but also depressed and lead to bullying by others.

“It doesn’t have to be this way and that’s why we urge Welsh Government to do everything they can to address the issues around school uniform costs.

“A lot of these steps would have no-cost changes, which could really make a big difference.”

They have recommended:

    • Free school uniforms and shoe tokens provided with discretion and respect.
    • Better initiatives and support for the reuse and recycling of school uniforms.
    • A review of the policies around non-uniform days – with the consideration of banning them.
    • Support for families on budgeting and how to spread the money more effectively.


John Griffiths MS said: “I am pleased to be working cross-party with my colleagues on the issue of school uniform costs. We were all very surprised by the stark differences in costs between branded uniforms and non-branded uniforms.

“For many families across Wales, the current situation is unsustainable and that’s why we are calling on Welsh Government to do everything they can in this space, to lessen the financial burden on families.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We have changed the guidance on school uniform policy to recognise the pressure on families as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

“The guidance is clear that school uniform should be affordable, logos should not be compulsory on all items, and all schools should implement uniform recycling and exchanging schemes.

“Our School Essentials Grant helps lower income families with the purchase of uniform and equipment and has helped more than 90 per cent of eligible learners with school costs.”

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Alun Owen
Alun Owen
23 days ago

but unfortunatley some school heads and tame govenors see the logo uniform as an additional source of income , and in one instance , a north wales secondary looking to go even more expensive with the re-introduction of school blazers with school logo, this btw is in a comprehensive school which is trying to disassociate itself from a teacher sex scandal) Blazers were phased out in the 70s and 80s , and were and remain a social class divider today

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