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Schools: Uniforms

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL660, tabled on 27 May 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to the proposal by the 'Let Clothes be Clothes' campaign for unisex school uniforms in finalising the statutory guidance on the costs of school uniforms.

Answered on

11 June 2021

It is for the governing body of a school to determine uniform policy. In making decisions about its school uniform policy, and all other school policies, a school must have regard to its obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty. Where a school has different dress codes for male and female pupils, they will need to carefully consider their obligations under equalities legislation not to discriminate unlawfully on the grounds of any protected characteristic. The department publishes guidance to help schools understand how the Equality Act affects them and how to fulfil their duties under the Act: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools. This includes a duty on schools not to discriminate unlawfully due to the protected characteristics of sex and gender reassignment. The department also publishes non-statutory best practice guidance on school uniform which is clear that “in formulating its school uniform policy, a school will need to consider its obligations not to discriminate unlawfully”: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/514978/School_Uniform_Guidance.pdf. For example, it is not expected that the cost of girls’ uniform is significantly more expensive than boys.

Under the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021, the forthcoming statutory guidance will be limited in scope to the cost aspects of uniform, but we will continue to make our non-statutory guidance available to schools alongside it.