North East parents struggling to pay for overpriced school uniforms, research shows

Parents in the North East are fed up with rip-off school uniform policies, new research reveals.

A report – published by the Children’s Society – reveals families are forking out around £251 per year for each child at a state primary school and £316 for a child at a state secondary.

Across the region, parents are spending an estimated £89.4m per year on school uniforms and accessories.

Parents are so stretched that around 24,000 children in the North East have gone to school in incorrect, unclean or poorly fitting uniform because of the cost, the research shows.

A survey of 1,000 parents found 95% of parents believe the amount they are expected to pay is “unreasonable”.

Last night bosses at the Children’s Society called for action from government to make sure uniforms are more affordable.

Lily Caprani, director of policy and strategy for The Children’s Society, said:

“Parents in the North East are fed up with paying the costs of stringent and prescriptive school uniform requirements that deprive them of the choice to shop around for prices they can afford.

“They are digging ever deeper into their pockets to pay for book bags and blazers when what they really want is for their children to receive a good education and a good start in life.

“We know that children whose parents cannot afford the cost of specialist uniforms face punishment and bullying for not having exactly the right clothes or kit.

“It’s time for the government to introduce legally binding rules to stop schools from making parents pay over the odds for items available only at specialist shops.”

Across the country parents pay about £2.1 billion per year on school uniforms. That is £1.3 billion more than what parents say would be “reasonable”.

In Newcastle, the Children’s Society found that 2,350 parents spend over £8,700 a year on their child’s school uniform.

Meanwhile, in Gateshead 1,804 parents spend over £6,700 on school uniform and in North Tyneside more than 1,900 parents spend £7,200 a year. In South Tyneside 1,300 parents spend £4,893 on their child’s uniform.

In other parts of the region, 2,976 families in Northumberland fork out more than 11,800 on school uniform per year and in Durham 4,490 parents spend a whopping £16,500.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 03 Mar 2015

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