The government is introducing a change to school uniforms in England to help keep the costs down from next autumn.

The Department for Education (DfE) will publish statutory guidance on Friday that will require schools to remove unnecessary branded items to make uniforms more affordable.

Schools will be expected to have made changes before parents buy new uniform for the new academic year in September 2022.

The Education (Guidance About Costs of School Uniform) Bill was passed in April this year and makes guidance on keeping school uniform costs down legally binding.

The move was first introduced by Labour MP Mike Amesbury and received cross-party support.

Nadhim Zahawi issues statement on new school uniform guidance

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “School uniform provides a sense of identity and community for children and young people, and should be a real source of pride. But it must never be a burden for parents or a barrier to pupils accessing education.

“This new binding guidance will help to make uniforms far more affordable for families by driving costs down as we work hard to level up the country.”

New guidance on school uniforms ‘extremely welcome’

The change will require schools to use competitive and transparent contracts with suppliers, and it will say schools should make sure their uniform policy is published clearly on their website.

 Schools will have to make sure second-hand uniforms are available and will be encouraged to allow more high-street options.

Mark Russell, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: “For too many years the cost of school uniform has been a heavy financial burden on many families, causing money worries and even debt, so these new guidelines to make sure school uniforms are affordable are extremely welcome.

“Until now, too many parents have had to fork out for expensive branded items rather than cheaper alternatives, while having to cut back on essentials like food or heating.

“So, we hope schools are able to start working with the guidance, which should ultimately make it much easier for families to kit out their children for school without breaking the bank.”