Parents up in arms over new school uniform costs

Published date: 19 May 2017 |
Published by: Josh Morris 
Read more articles by Josh Morris  Email reporter

Geraint Parry Headteacher of Ysgol Brynhyfryd 

Parents have called on a school to think again after their new uniform policy specified a single supplier which parents say will cost them hundreds.

The price list from the new Ysgol Brynhyfryd uniform includes blazers at around £30, skirts at around £20 to £25 and trousers at around £18. The specified PE top for senior boys costs £34.

Parents say many of the items are available for a fraction of the price at supermarkets and buying a complete new uniform for just one child will cost hundreds more than it could.

Dawn Dean,of Cyfylliog, who has one 13 year old son at Ysgol Brynhyfryd said: "Some don't mind paying for blazers or jumpers, but the trousers are £18 and that's extortionate when you can buy decent trousers at the supermarket for a fifth of a price. It just seems extortionate when you have to buy five pairs, if they rip them in the playground that's £18 down the drain. For my son he's growing out of things as well, so without the trainers, shoes, socks and shirts, just the uniform itself and those pairs, it'll be over £200, which is ridiculous.

"I know they want to make the kids look smart, but that's ridiculous. There's families with two or three children and it's not fair.”

Other parents complained that the specified pleated skirts were hard to get hold of outside of the preferred supplier even if they could.

Charlotte Roberts, Llandyrnog, said: “My eldest is in year 10 and although doesn’t have to buy the blazer and PE kit to expect me to spend £100 before new shoes to see him through 9 months is ridiculous. When my youngest goes up in 2018 again the cost is an issue £150 plus shoes, bag, coat. I don’t believe making them wear ill fitting blazers and expensive jumpers will benefit anyone to be honest. I believe it’s a cost issue for most parents judging by what I’ve read.”

The school has offered to exempt year 11 and 13 pupils from having to wear blazers for one year with financial support on offer for parents on lower incomes.

Writing to parents, Headteacher Geraint Parry sought to play down fears.

“I regret that this change has caused you concern. I am aware of some of the concerns that have been raised on social media and I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the key points you raised, and in doing so, I hope to provide some clarification and reassurance,” Mr Parry wrote.

“We have put in place financial support arrangements for existing families as well as there being additional support available via Denbighshire County Council.

“I would also like to clear up what may be a misunderstanding. Our parents are free to purchase the uniform garments from any supplier, providing that the brand and colour specifications are followed. This means that if parents find the same items cheaper elsewhere or online, they can purchase these items and where appropriate make arrangements for the embroidery to be completed locally with our uniform suppliers.

“With regard to the other points that you raised, I can confirm that the pleated skirt was specifically chosen for its classic design and most importantly because it cannot be rolled up to form a short skirt.

“I hope you will appreciate that by specifying the brand and style, we can be certain that we secure consistency in style and colour throughout, and in turn prevent a recurrence of our current uniform issues. This will also prevent any disappointment or unnecessary expense in the event that the incorrect garments are purchased and prove to be inappropriate.”

  • See full story in the Free Press

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