To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to monitor compliance with the statutory guidance entitled Cost of school uniforms, published on 19 November 2021; and if her Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of the cost of school uniforms on the level of children who do not attend school.
While it is the responsibility of school governing boards to determine their uniform policy, the Department expects schools to comply with the guidance on the cost of school uniforms. The Department continues to engage with the sector to ensure that schools are aware of their obligation to have regard to the guidance and in July 2023 published the results of a survey of school leaders looking at changes made as a result of the guidance. The survey results can be found at here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-and-college-panel-omnibus-surveys-for-2022-to-2023.
The Department also continues to assess compliance with the guidance through engagement with key stakeholders, including school leaders and uniform suppliers, and via correspondence from parents.
The Department has no plans to make an assessment of the potential impact of the cost of school uniform on attendance. The guidance on the cost of school uniform is clear that, where it is suspected that financial hardship has resulted in a pupil not complying with a school’s published uniform policy, schools should take a mindful and considerate approach to resolve the situation.
Last year, the Government introduced strong new expectations on schools and Local Authorities to work together to tackle absence. The Department will continue to monitor attendance data to understand and assess the impact of the attendance reforms.