Welsh Government urges gender neutral and cheaper school uniforms

Based on new statutory guidelines, schools in Wales, will have more gender neutral, affordable and accessible uniforms. According to reports, the changes will come into effect from September.

Previous 2011 guidance suggested that the Welsh Government exercised non-statutory rules, which did not legally abide schools. However, parents will now be able to file a complaint if the schools do not adhere to the guidelines.

Some of the parents have raised concerns over the cost of the uniform. The government however has suggested ways of reducing the costs. For instance, the uniform could stipulate basic items like colors, without altering styles. This also meant the uniforms could be bought from various suppliers and different shops.

In addition to the changing rules, the schools also had to contemplate on whether to have a different uniform for summer and winter. Reports suggest of a consultation that took place last autumn with regards to the heat wave and parents complaining that the uniform policy of the schools was too strict.

Whether school logos were also strictly necessary, was another crucial point to be considered by the school boards. The latest policy also demanded that the uniform be ‘gender neutral’, for instance, items like ‘trousers’ won’t be described only ‘for boys’.

According to a statement by Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, in the wake of the situation, she said, it was “signalled a significant time ago what the Welsh Government intended to do”. Furthermore she added that the school governing bodies and leaders still had to decide their own policy, under which issues regarding affordability will be considered. Moreover, the plan gives parents the ability to complain if the guidelines are not adhered to.

With respect to the pupil development grant, the Welsh government provisions £125 for students eligible for free school meals and also to buy uniforms, in addition to other school equipment.