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School uniforms 'too expensive'
7:00am Thursday 22nd November 2012 in Local
DESPERATE pleas are being made to make school uniforms cheaper for pupils across Worcestershire.
A leading politician says many parents struggling with the cost of extra childcare, holidays and activities are forking out more and more for jumpers, skirts and blazers.
Councillor Richard Udall wants the county council to intervene by asking schools to allow families to buy items from more than a single shop.
He has cited a report from the Office for Fair Trading, which found that nearly three quarters of state schools place restrictions on where uniforms can be bought from.
He said: “It means parents are not able to take advantage of cheap offers in supermarkets and high street stores.
“As a result, families are paying between £5 and £10 extra on items such as jumpers, skirts and blazers.
“The cost of equipping children for a new school year can be a huge burden, especially during the summer when many parents are struggling with the cost of extra childcare, holidays and activities.”
He said council chiefs needed to ensure the burden is kept as low as possible, by making sure no school was allowed to restrict uniform purchases “from a single shop”.
He also called for a new push to help parents resell uniforms their children have grown out of to others, and an investigation into minimising the amount of changes schools are sometimes tempted to introduce to the clothing.
The call was rejected by Councillor Jane Potter, cabinet member for education and skills, despite her admitting that uniforms were expensive for parents.
“I do sympathise on this,” she said.
“I know it is expensive, but it really has to be up to the governors at the schools when it comes to uniforms.”