Northern Ireland news

Secondary school pupils asked for views on cost of school uniforms

Secondary school pupils have been asked for their views on the cost of school uniforms

SCHOOL pupils have been asked for their views on uniform costs amid concerns about high prices and branded PE kits.

The Secondary Students’ Union of Northern Ireland (SSUofNI) has launched a survey in partnership with the Parent Engagement Group (PEG), which has been lobbying for a change in policy.

Research by the PEG found that parents spend an average of £378 on a post-primary child's uniform and £173 at primary level.

It also highlighted concerns around mandatory branded PE kits, which are much more expensive than generic sportswear.

The PEG found that the mandatory PE kit for one voluntary grammar in Co Antrim, which included branded jogging bottoms and a polo shirt, cost up to £259.

Ellie-Jo Taylor, SSUofNI's equality officer, said the survey will give students a chance to have their say on an important issue.

"For years, the increasing cost of school uniforms has been outlined and for years this impact on students has been ignored," she said.

Parents in receipt of benefits including income support and Universal Credit can apply for uniform grants.

But they only cover a fraction of the cost.

Naomi McBurney is lobbying for reduction in the cost of school uniforms. Picture by Mal McCann

The Department of Education said it is reviewing the school uniform grant.

PEG spokeswoman Naomi McBurney said children were aware of the high cost of uniforms.

"We want to ensure that young people are given the same opportunity to join the conversation around school uniforms and lend their voice to any change that the Department of Education might introduce," she said.

The survey can be accessed via https://bit.ly/SSUYPSurvey

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