Schoolwear Association Mailer – 07 May 2020

A message from the SA

On behalf of the Schoolwear Association we hope you and your families are well. As we look ahead to potential announcements about children returning to schools and the easing of some lockdown restrictions, of course it is critical to continue to observe government regulations, but it is also important we start to consider how the industry can jump back into action ahead of an unprecedented back to school period.

Given the unexpected events of the last few months, it is easy to forget how recent political events of a different kind were our greatest source of concern. The debate over the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill is continuing in Westminster, as does our work with WA Comms to ensure the industry’s voice is heard.

We wanted to share a response by Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, to a petition from Emma Hardy, which was presented in March. Hardy’s petition called on government to bring forward legislation to limit the number of compulsory branded items of schoolwear; ensure that all items are available from at least two suppliers, and cap the total cost of compulsory items of school-wear.

In response, Gibb outlined current Department for Education guidance on school uniforms, and reiterated his Department’s support for the Private Member’s Bill in progress. Crucially, Gibb stressed that “any future statutory guidance on uniform cost will be respectful of schools’ decision making in this area”, and “the government does not wish to dictate to schools a numerical limit on the number of branded items or a ban on single supplier contracts. Rather, it wishes to provide a robust framework that aids decision making at a local level.”

This is an important distinction made by Gibb, and highlights the government’s inclination against intervention as demonstrated by their reluctance towards a numerical limit or ban on single supplier contracts.

Whilst this encouraging news is testament to the ongoing work from WA Comms and the SA exec we must remain committed to push our arguments with the key decision makers in Westminster as it is important to highlight that amendments can always be made to the Bill during its passage through Parliament.

Matthew Easter and Mark Stevenson, co-chairs, Schoolwear Association

Uniforms for Uniforms

On Friday 1 May, Clayesmore School united from home by wearing their school uniform to show their gratitude to frontline workers in uniform.

The Uniforms for Uniforms campaign was designed to remind children that they are not alone and how proud Britain is that they have been able to adapt in order to keep learning from home, as well as raising money for the NHS Charities Together – Covid 19 Urgent Appeal.

Read more in CWB magazine here.

SA survey

Thanks again to all of those who completed the SA’s survey looking at the industry’s thoughts and concerns over the current crisis. The results demonstrated clear concerns about re-opening under social distancing rules, but also a strong sense of resilience across the industry.

You can read more about the results in CWB magazine here.

You can also find advice from the British Retail Consortium and the Union of Shop, Distribution and Allied Workers about implementing social distancing rules. The guide is available for download here.

We are always looking for more stories about what SA members are doing during these difficult times. If you have any experiences or tips to share, please email edward.sheldon@tankpr.co.uk