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Charities want schools to cut uniform costs

SCHOOLS have been urged to consider cheaper uniforms as parents struggle with money.

Uniforms continue to be one of the biggest expenses for parents of schoolchildren.

Charities St Vincent de Paul and Barnardos have banded together with the National Parents Council Post Primary to ask boards of managements to reconsider their policies on uniforms.

The group said that uniforms should be "practical, comfortable and represent value for money for families".

Research from Barnardos found that 23pc of parents are paying up to €125 for primary school children.

Secondary school uniforms are even more expensive – 17pc of parents said that they were paying €150-€174, and a significant 15pc were spending more than €250 on uniforms.

And reports have emerged that some jumpers cost €5 to manufacture, but were being sold for €75, with schools receiving part of the profits.

Audry Deane, SVP social justice spokesperson, said that they have created a guide for boards of management in schools to help ease the cash strain.


"This checklist will help boards to think about their school uniform policy and offers various solutions on how to reduce uniform costs," she said.

"This is a time for all of us to contribute something positive and practical to parents to lessen the burden."

Barnardos' June Tinsley said that even the small changes can make a difference to parents' pockets. "Year on year, parents are struggling to cope with the costs of sending their children to school and uniforms are a huge part of this," she said.

The group said the boards of management should shop around for a range of uniform providers to ensure competitive prices and quality.

They should also consider the cost of maintaining the items, such as dry-cleaning costs.

"While there are significant merits to having a school uniform, there can be high costs associated with it," the group said.

"No school wants a child to be disadvantaged in his/her education because of their family's financial situation."