'Some schools are deliberately pricing school uniforms beyond the means of poorer families so “only posh kids go there”, MPs have been told.
Emma Hardy, the Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, has written to the education secretary, Damian Hinds, asking him to tell schools to stop forcing parents to buy branded school uniforms.
She said that academies in particular were “emulating grammar schools and private schools” in prescribing prohibitively expensive uniforms – including branded blazers and even socks.
She had also been told that some academies deliberately chose expensive suppliers in order to put off parents of lesser means, and that some schools received a cut from suppliers given the exclusive contract for their uniforms.
“People have told me confidentially that schools get money from suppliers,” said Hardy.
Hardy sits on a committee of MPs which earlier this month heard from parents about school holiday poverty.
One mother, Karen Rotheram, told the committee that she had discounted some schools because the uniforms were too expensive. “There are some schools in our area where the uniforms are very overpriced. You are looking at £80 to £100 just for a blazer and a pair of trousers or something,” she said.
Another Labour MP, Lucy Powell, said the committee had been told that “schools do that deliberately so that only posh kids go there”.
Hardy has been inviting constituents to fill in a survey on her website about how much their children’s uniforms cost.
A survey from the Children’s Society last year found families were shelling out more on school uniforms with an average of £340 per year for each child at secondary school – an increase of 7% or £24 since 2015. Parents of primary school children spent on average £255, an increase of 2% since 2015.'
Read more: State schools choose 'posh' uniforms to exclude poor pupils, says MP
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