The government is looking to broaden the supply of school uniform as it looks to cut costs for families under financial pressure.
Education minister David Laws yesterday (Sunday September 15) announced new guidance to end the practice of schools using just one uniform supplier.
Laws called the cost of uniforms “unnecessarily high” during a time when families incomes are being stretched.
He said: “We will send a strong signal to schools that it is vital to secure value for money for parents before changing or introducing new school uniforms. Parents need to be able to shop around to find the best deal.”
New guidelines issued by the Department for Education state that compulsory items of uniform should be available relatively cheaply, and branding should be kept “to a minimum”.
Last year, an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation found 75% of state schools in the UK placed restrictions on where uniforms can be bought.
The study found that in most cases families are required to use one specialist supplier instead of being able to shop around for the cheapest clothing.
This adds between £5 and £10 to the bill for each item of clothing, costing families at least £52m nationally, the report claimed.