Mum sets up town's first 'uniform bank' to help struggling parents - The Stratford Observer
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8th Aug, 2022

Mum sets up town's first 'uniform bank' to help struggling parents

A DETERMINED mum left reeling at school uniform costs is on a mission to set up Stratford’s first ‘uniform bank’.

Kirsty Powell who has two children at Stratford School was shocked when she realised a single PE kit would mean forking out £56.

The 31-year-old said altogether the uniform items came to around £170 for each child – which included blazers at around £35 and skirts displaying the school logo at £25.

She said: “I am extremely concerned about the cost. With two children at the school I will need to shell out £56 per PE kit, two blazers and a school skirt and that is before the basics of shoes, trainers, shirts and trousers. Then we need to add stationary and school bag on top. I feel sorry for those purchasing bus passes as well.

“It has put a massive financial strain on my family personally and we do not know how we will afford it all this year.”

She added the PE kit was only available to order online and was non-refundable once names were printed on, meaning a waste of money if it did not fit.

The freelance photographer has created a Facebook page to encourage parents to pool together unwanted uniform to help families, and has begun to set up collection points across the district including in Stratford, Alcester, Welford and Bidford.

She has also launched a petition calling on Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi to support a campaign to bring down school uniform costs. Over 160 parents signed in less than 24-hours.

Spokesperson Emma Mort from the Warwickshire National Union of Teachers said: “We expect a school to ensure the items of clothing in any dress code are affordable for all who wish to attend the school.

“We urge all schools to look at the impact the cost of their school uniforms has on pupils and getting rid of single suppliers and ensuring uniforms are generic and can be bought in a number of places, including supermarkets would be a welcome step.

“With 30 per cent of children living in poverty, according to the Child Poverty Action Group, schools should be doing all they can to ensure that they provide a poverty proof environment.”

But the school said its uniform pricing was in line with other schools in the area and separate blazer badges, shirts and trousers were standard from any uniform supplier.

A spokesperson added: “The school appreciates that financial pressures can affect many parents during the current economic time and that school uniform can add to those difficulties in the summer months.

“Our PE uniform, though bespoke, does not have to be bought in its entirety, the kit options are there as a personal choice, for example names do not need to be added to the kit and students can just buy the basic shorts and top alone.

“However if this provision is still difficult for the family the school is happy to work with families to help make the uniform more affordable and accessible to all.”

Stratford School is keen to hear from concerned parents. Email, and search SUA Uniform Bank on Facebook for details on the ‘uniform bank’ project.

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