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People Are Calling For 'Repressive' School Uniform To Be Abolished

People Are Calling For 'Repressive' School Uniform To Be Abolished

Ministers have been told that school uniforms are 'repressive' and stop kids from 'expressing themselves'.

Gregory Robinson

Gregory Robinson

Most of us had to wear a school uniform back in the day - and remember how much trouble we'd be in if we ever forgot our blazers - but now people are calling for them to be abolished.

Yep, some people are arguing that school uniforms are 'repressive' and they should be abolished to let kids 'find their own style', ministers have been told.

And that's not all. For parents, branded school uniforms can cost up to three times more than the unbranded alternatives. These could now be scrapped under the proposed new bill.

Branded school uniforms could now be scrapped under the proposed new bill (

The Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill is a House of Commons Bill introduced by Mike Amesbury, the Labour MP for Waver Vale.

The Bill has government support and would require schools to keep branded items, such as blazers, to a minimum and to make arrangements for second hand items to be available.

The Earl of Clancarty told the Lords he supported the proposals to cut costs, as written in the Bill.

He later said: "Better still, get rid of school uniforms."

Our 12-year-old selves are literally jumping in excitement.

"They're an outmoded idea," he added.

"Ultimately a repressive aspect of the educational system itself, designed to keep children in line and indeed, in effect, part of the wider educational policy working against a child-centred approach to education.

"No school has to have a school uniform. Nevertheless the government does not take a neutral stance on this, strongly recommending that schools do have one.

"Moreover, in their guidance, the department states that a school uniform policy 'flows from the duties placed upon all governing bodies by statute to ensure that school policies promote good behaviour and discipline amongst the pupil body'."

To emphasise just how much he's opposed to uniforms, Lord Clancarty later revealed that his 16-year-old daughter attends a school with no uniform.

He even went on to read a quote from his daughter, where she spoke about the benefits of not having to wear a uniform. "Thank God I don't have to wear a school uniform. I wouldn't be able to express myself every day."

Lord Clancarty added he believes uniforms make it 'particularly easy' to identify the poorest children and are 'not a means of levelling up'.

He said: "Whereas over 90 per cent of schools in England insist on school uniforms, a much lower percentage of parents - around 67 per cent- are in favour of them.

"There is increasing school uniform scepticism and the government and schools should listen to those voices."

Uniform without logos embroidered could become compulsory under a new proposed law (

But several peers disagreed with the Lord Clancarty, some of whom argued the opposite would happen.

Liberal Democrat education spokesman and former teacher Lord Storey recalled working in a school in a deprived community where the headteacher and governor did 'not believe in school uniform'.

He said: "It led to competition for the latest designer clothes, the latest sweatshirts, t-shirts, trainers or whatever it was.

"This created great upset amongst the pupils and those who couldn't afford the latest 'gear', as they called it, often were name-called and bullied."

Education minister Baroness Berridge said: "The government does encourage schools to have school uniform because of how it can contribute to the ethos of the school and create a common identity among pupils.

"As many Lords have said, it is a social leveller so I have to also disagree with Lord Clancarty."

On the Bill, Lady Berridge said the guidance is expected to be issued to schools in the autumn and they should begin thinking about making changes, with peers calling for a phased introduction.

The legislation would make guidance given to schools about cost of uniform policies legally binding, with the minister saying schools will be expected to limit the use of branded items to low-cost or long-lasting pieces of uniform.

The bill has government support (

That means parents and carers in theory should not have to spend lots of money on new branded blazers, jumpers and ties each year.

Lady Berridge added: "The guidance will also provide information to schools about ways they can achieve the benefits of a branded item while also keeping costs to parents low... this might involve the use of sew-on or iron-on logos, amongst other approaches."

The Bill received an unopposed second reading and will undergo further scrutiny at a later date.

Until then, class - and uniforms - are still in session.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, News, School