Schools: Uniforms

Department for Education written question – answered on 26th July 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 11 June (HL 660), what assessment they have made of the report School Uniform: Dressing Girls to Fail, published on 5 July; and whether they took into account the finding in that report that uniforms are more expensive for girls than boys when drawing up the statutory guidance on the cost of school uniforms.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department has reviewed the findings of the report ‘School Uniform: Dressing Girls to Fail’ and is engaging with stakeholders, including the authors of the report, ahead of publishing statutory guidance under the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021. This statutory guidance will be limited in scope to the cost aspects of uniform. Schools have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 not to discriminate unlawfully due to the protected characteristics of sex and gender reassignment.

Where a school has different dress codes for male and female pupils, they will need to carefully consider their obligations under equalities legislation not to discriminate unlawfully on the grounds of any protected characteristic.

The department published guidance to help schools understand how to fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010, this guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools. The department has also published non-statutory best practice guidance on school uniform which is clear that, “In formulating its school uniform policy, a school will need to consider its obligations not to discriminate unlawfully. For example, it is not expected that the cost of girls’ uniform is significantly more expensive than boys.”. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/514978/School_Uniform_Guidance.pdf.

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