A north-east researcher has called for more regulation of school uniforms to help families struggling financially.
Dr Rachel Shanks, from Aberdeen University’s school of education, carried out a study into the uniform policies of 343 secondary schools across Scotland.
She found the current minimum £100 clothing grant was “very unlikely” to fund the clothing costs of a pupil attending school due to the cost of items such as blazers.
Dr Shanks’ study – the first of its kind to be carried out in Scotland – also found 20% of schools have a specific supplier where uniforms should be purchased from.
“The aim of the research was to look at the reasons given for school uniform policies and what is laid down in the policies,” she said.
“I found that, while some progress has been made to make school uniform more affordable in Scotland with the introduction of a national minimum clothing grant, only six local authorities make automatic awards of this grant when families are applying for other benefits. Nine local authorities roll over the school clothing grant into the next school year, and just one has both automatic grants and rollover of school clothing grant in place.
“More could be done, for example with statutory guidance on school uniform and dress code policies, through automatic enrolment for the clothing grant and its rollover from one school year to the next.
“Another way to make school uniforms more affordable is to regularly review items required by schools, for example to consider items such as blazers. As it stands, the national minimum clothing grant of £100 is very unlikely to cover the clothing costs of a young person attending secondary school for a year.”
Dr Shanks will discuss the findings of the research at a panel discussion, Making School Uniform Available, at 10am on Thursday.