New rules which could come into force this spring could end misery for thousands of parents across the country by cutting the cost of school uniforms.
The change in the law could mean schools are banned from setting the exact uniform parents have to buy – which at the minute can cost an average of £340 per child in secondary school in £255 in primary school.
Instead schools will be able to define basic rules – such as the colour of shirts and trousers – but won’t be able to set an exact style or say where they have to be bought from.
Instead parents will be able to go to supermarkets and pick up much cheaper ranges – potentially bagging a whole uniform for well under £20.
New guidelines came into force in Wales last September which mean uniform codes have to exclude exckusive deals and expensive logos – as well as making sure the choice of uniform is widely available.
Following a Sunday People campaign, Labour MP Mike Amesbury will introduce a bill this week which is likely to become law by spring.
Mr Amesbury said: “Head teachers will be required to draw up a totally inclusive uniforms policy. This issue has been brilliantly highlighted by the Sunday People.”
Nearly one in six families say school uniform costs are to blame for them having to cut back on food and other basic essentials, compared with one in seven in 2015.
Mum-of-three Karen Howard, 46, a teaching assistant in Hull, said: “We can’t afford three branded sets so this news is fantastic.”
One parent told the Poverty Commission: “The cost of school uniforms is like having to afford two Christmases.
“You start shopping at the beginning of the summer holiday, so you can pace yourself over the six weeks.
“To do that you have to take money out of the food budget, or less on the electric. But this stuff is essential, so you have to afford it.”