Principal’s Blog | Uniform
What price to come to school?
There has been a lot of coverage in the press about the price of uniform recently, for example here on the BBC and here in the Sentinel. I thought I would set out our thoughts about our academy uniform.
First of all, uniform is important. It takes away a lot of peer pressure, especially for students who come from less well-off families or those that don’t have the latest designer labels. It allows young people to avoid yet another distraction and concentrate on their studies. A uniform gives a sense of belonging and community.
A school’s attitude to uniform can be a very important window into its values and ethos. There is a state school near where I live in Cheshire that actively promotes the fact that it is elitist. The blazer alone costs almost £50. There are branded trousers and skirts at £25 each. The PE kit alone costs almost £100. What does this say about the values of this school? Would this be a caring and inclusive school? Would this school welcome all students regardless of their level of need or the income of their parents? Would parents with 2, 3, 4 children all going to the same school be able to afford this?
When we became an academy in 2010, we were clear that we wanted our uniform to reflect our values. Our students would be smart, and we are strict on uniform. But for parents, our academy uniform must be universally available. We have branded blazers available from £25. Our branded polo shirts are available from £6.50.
We have even gone a step further. Since 2010, we have provided a blazer, tie and PE top for free for all students who start with us in September of Year 7. When we re-branded recently to be more in line with the brand of our sponsor, we paid for ties for all of our students. This year we paid for blazers for all of new Year 9 students because of the re-brand. During the re-brand we had a central belief that parents should not bear the brunt of any rebrand costs.
So come and visit us at our Open Evening on September 26th, and see what an inclusive and welcoming school we are.