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Minister responds to school uniform market study

27 April 2023

The Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Inna Gardiner, has pledged to work with school headteachers and the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority, JCRA, to make school uniforms more affordable for parents. 

The Minister has written to headteachers following a market study by the JCRA. She has shared the recommendations of the JCRA and outlined their joint aim for these recommendations to be taken forward this year, to come into effect from September 2024. 

The JCRA study – which has been published today – found that many stakeholders saw social and safeguarding advantages to having school uniforms. Despite this, it also found that there are two main factors which raise costs for parents. 

Firstly, many schools required branded and/or compulsory school uniform items: in some schools this made up more than 40% of all uniform items. which leads to greater expense for parents. 

Secondly, the JCRA identified that the small number of retailers, and the widespread use of exclusive contracts means that parents have a reduced choice when buying uniform.

The report makes three recommendations: 

  • The Government of Jersey should consider policy in other places, including the UK 
  • Schools should conduct regular reviews of all contracts and supply arrangements for uniforms 
  • The JCRA should develop more specific guidance on the design and operation of competitive tenders for school uniforms 

Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Inna Gardiner, said: “School uniforms provide pupils with a sense of community and identity and act as a social equaliser; they also make it easier for parents to get their children ready for school. 

“However, I’ve been concerned about cost and committed to reducing it since coming into office last year. I have spoken with parents who are concerned about the cost of school uniforms, especially with the cost of living rising. I have raised their feedback with Headteachers at my regular meetings with them. 

“Schools are already taking steps to make uniforms more affordable: many have re-selling communities for second hand uniforms, I welcome the finding that 90% of schools are already doing second hand sales. 

“This is welcomed by many parents, but it doesn’t address the market as a whole. It’s clear from this report that there is more that individual schools can do to ensure they are offering parents more choice and flexibility. At the same time, it shows that we need to put in place clearer guidance to support schools. 

“I have written to all headteachers today to ask for their support and suggestions in how we can develop guidance to make sure that school uniforms are competitively priced. I’d like to thank the JCRA for this study, which gives us a good factual background that we can build on.” 

The study is available online via the JCRA website:

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