Tanaiste to push ahead with plans for cheap uniforms
Gilmore: wants generic uniforms
TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore is pressing ahead with plans to force schools to allow parents opt for cheaper uniforms instead of expensive crested jumpers and blazers.
Meetings between Mr Gilmore's officials and the Department of Education will take place in the "coming days and weeks" to hammer out the details.
The Department of Education has expressed some concern over the approach being taken by Mr Gilmore's office, and Education Minister Ruairi Quinn prefers a system where individual schools and parents decide what approach to take on uniforms themselves.
But the Tanaiste's office wants to make sure all schools allow generic uniforms and sources close to Mr Gilmore raised the idea of cutting funding to schools which did not follow the new rules.
However, they hope the Government will not have to go this far, but there is frustration at the lack of progress made to date on the cost of uniforms.
"The Department of Education is adopting a default position," a source close to the Tanaiste said. "We have to find a way around that."
Another source said they hoped to get schools to comply with the rules without taking drastic options.
"You could do a number of things, you could link it to funding, you could try other methods but you would hope you wouldn't have to go that far."
The source also said the plans will be legislated for if necessary, and the proposals have been welcomed by the Competition Authority, St Vincent de Paul and children's charity Barnardos.
A recent survey by Barnardos found parents of primary school children were paying as much as €150 for a uniform, with the cost rising to €250 for secondary school pupils.
It also said school-specific tracksuits start from around €35, jumpers can cost €40-€60 while coats and blazers cost over €100.