Commenting on new statutory guidance requiring schools to keep the cost of uniforms down, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

"School uniforms should be a leveller, yet they remain one of the biggest cost pressures for parents. We are deeply concerned about the financial hardship many families are currently facing. Schools do a significant job dealing with the effects of poverty in their classrooms, but schools cannot act alone and urgent action to tackle the scourge of child poverty is needed. Any measures from Government to support families, and bring the costs of school uniform down, are welcome. 

"Branded or specialised school uniforms place unnecessary financial pressure on parents and carers to provide unaffordable clothing for their children, when similar, cheaper options can often be found in supermarkets or high street shops. This has gone on for far too long, and cuts particularly hard at a time when the cost of living is rocketing. It is welcome, therefore, that today's guidance advises keeping branded items to a minimum and permits high-street options. We are also pleased to see guidance on second-hand uniforms being made available, which are not only cost-effective but sustainable options."