SA launches guide to specifying and sourcing uniform

The Schoolwear Association, whose members together help to clothe three-quarters of Britain’s children, has launched a guide to specifying and sourcing uniform for head teachers, governors, teachers, managers, buyers and other school staff involved in the process.

The aim of the guide is to ensure every child and every school benefits from the advantages of a high quality, good value uniform in terms of its benefits to learning, behaviour and safety.

David Burgess, Chairman of the Schoolwear Association, says: “A growing body of research bears out what teachers and parents instinctively know, that school specific uniform is more than just a practical and cost effective solution for schools and families, it also drives a sense of belonging and pride for students. Like schools, many schoolwear businesses are part of their local community, with high ethical values and standards of service, providing local jobs for local people. We believe they deserve support but we also recognise that schools must always seek value when specifying uniform, which is why we have produced this guide.”

The guide contains advice on producing a tender document, with links to further in-depth resources available to download from the Schoolwear Association website  It advises schools when tendering to ensure potential suppliers are commercially viable without making overly-complex requests for financial information that place an unnecessary burden on them.

It responds to changes in the regulatory landscape covering school uniform.

David Burgess points out

Schools and academies need to be aware that during the autumn of 2017 the Department of Education guidelines on buying school uniform are expected to become statutory, and schools will need to make sure that they are aware of their responsibilities,”

“If schools continue to require a sole stockist of the school specific part of their uniform and they have not already gone through a tendering process, they will need to put uniform contracts out to tender and consider carefully the benefits of sole supplier agreements versus a shared supply arrangement. It always has to be born in mind that sudden changes can be disruptive to availability and so longer term consultation would be preferable”.

“On behalf of schoolwear suppliers of all kinds across the UK, we are committed to working with schools and the Department of Education to ensure a fair deal and to ensure that standards are not compromised. School uniform represents good value because of the benefits it brings to schools, parents, teachers and students in learning, behaviour and safety. It is important that we ensure no child is left behind so our industry works with schools and education officials to recommend and support schemes to help disadvantaged families. This is tangible evidence of our affirmation that quality school uniform is an investment and every child is worth it.”

To download a copy of the guide, go to

The Schoolwear Association represents British businesses involved in the manufacture and supply of school-specific uniform, from manufacturers to wholesalers and independent retailers. Established in 2006, the association is run on an entirely voluntary basis by some of the sector’s most experienced professionals.