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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Minister pledges to act on affordability of school uniforms

Northern Ireland education minister Paul Givan

Education Minister Paul Givan has said that he will act to ensure school uniforms are not a barrier to education for children and young people.

The Minister was responding to a motion in the Assembly today on making school uniforms affordable.

Welcoming the opportunity to address the issue, the Minister said:

“School uniforms create a sense of belonging to a school community, supporting positive behaviour and high self-esteem.

“Uniforms should also act to ensure that pupils of all backgrounds feel welcome in school.”

School governing bodies are responsible for setting their own school uniform policy and the Department has issued guidance to support schools in setting that policy.

The Minister continued:

“The current guidance makes it clear that in setting their uniform requirements, schools should ensure they represent value for money.

“The increasing costs of school uniforms, particularly with the use of branded items or uniforms only being available from a single supplier, places an unnecessary burden on parents and children, particularly those from a low-income household.”

The Minister added:

“Many schools have followed this guidance and I welcome that, however it also has to be said that there are other schools which have not. 

“That is not a situation which I am going to permit to continue.”

Committing to take steps to deliver an equal system for all families, the Minister concluded:

“Uniform policies must be developed with the best interests of the child and young person at heart.

“For my part, I will issue proposals for consultation in the near future seeking the views of stakeholders, parents and children as we move to provide a level playing field for families from all backgrounds.”


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