Bury Labour has supported calls for more to be done in schools to help struggling parents by taking steps to keep down the cost of school uniforms and P.E. kits.
It follows a report by the Children’s Society in 2014 that identified the total spend in Bury on school ‘extras’ by parents was £19,545,547.
The same report concluded that 3 million families in the UK are struggling to pay for school uniforms and school ‘extras’, an estimated 13,374 in Bury.
It is not only the standard uniform that puts pressure of family budgets. Increasing costs, in many schools, of sports kits and other ‘voluntary’ extra costs, place an unnecessary extra burden on many families.
Added to this, the practice in some schools of single suppliers of key items of uniform and/or sports kit, means parents cannot take advantage of lower price uniforms and sports kit items.
In response, Bury Council is to launch a consultation with schools across the borough over new guidance on the price of uniforms and ‘extras’ in a bid to take the pressure off hard-pressed families.
School ‘clusters’ will be charged with monitoring the progress of this and take responsibility for themselves becoming inclusive.
Cllr Rhys Cathcart, Deputy Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Culture, said “We want to work with schools, but also get them to work together, rather than have the Council use simply a "carrot and stick" approach. This is an important issue and one that many families face difficulties with, so I hope we can see some swift progress on it.”