School uniform costs hitting parents in the pocket

A COUNCILLOR has slammed rising school uniform costs which are causing more financial strain on parents struggling through the cost of living crisis.
Research from the Parent Engagement Group discovered that the average cost for a post-Primary school uniform in the North came in at an eye-watering £378.
The group found that items in obscure colours and only available from a limited amount of suppliers meant that costs were being driven up.
Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh slammed the price hikes stating that they go against the original principle of the school uniform – which was to save parents money.
He said: “The principle of having school uniforms was that it would be a mechanism that would reduce the costs for parents by everyone having the same clothes.
“There’s always peer pressure amongst school students to wear the latest clothes and the principle of a school uniform is meant to avoid that.
“Parents don’t feel pressurised into buying their children the latest fashions – it’s a good principle.
“However, that only works if school uniforms are priced reasonably. Unfortunately, it seems that the objective of reducing costs has been turned on its head.
“It’s now being looked at as an opportunity to take advantage of parents. The reality is that it’s almost impossible for parents who are facing the cost of having to clothe a number of children to send to school while living through a cost of living crisis.
“I’ve had a number of people come up to me to complain about it. Unfortunately, it’s the case now that every school has uniforms that are priced out of their reasonable range.
“I think everyone expects to pay a reasonable price for a good quality school uniform. However, paying exorbitant prices is just unacceptable.”
Cllr O’Cofaigh insisted that action at governmental level needed to be taken with schools also lending a helping hand to reduce costs.
He added: “We maybe need to see legislative action to prevent price-gouging by greedy companies who are making and exploiting an opportunity here.
“I think schools have to take responsibility as well to ensure there are cheap options for parents.
“Schools also need to be properly funded – there’s chronic underfunding of our schools at the minute. They shouldn’t have to rely on parents’ money from uniform sales to make up for shortfalls in money from Stormont.
“The idea that school uniforms are meant to prevent parents from forking our large amounts of money to clothe their kids in the latest fashions, is now being turned into another opportunity to exploit parents.”

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