Hucknall head defends policy after parents banned from buying cheaper school uniform

The National Academy, Hucknall.
The National Academy, Hucknall.

Bosses at a Hucknall school have defended their uniform policy after criticism from parents.

Parents of pupils at National Church of England Academy, on Annesley Road, said they were banned from buying supermarket school trousers – costing as little as £6 – but instead forced to purchase bespoke logo-embroidered uniform at £16.

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Tesco worker Donna Lambert, aged, 45, mum to 11-year-old Lilleigh said: ‘It’s definitely a price rise, and I could see why that would be a problem for lots of parents.”

And support worker Lorna Dignum, mum to 11-year-olds Phoebe and Scarlett Price, said: ‘I think it’s an outrage, the amount that they are charging.

“It’s outrageous. I have twins, so the cost is doubled for me, and I dread to think what other parents with even more children must have to pay.

“Of course, don’t forget that you have to buy two pairs as well, for when you wash one of them.”

“Overall I’ve paid £291 for the both of them, this year and it’s a lot more than some people can probably afford - especially bearing in mind the current economic climate.”

However, the school, part of the Diverse Academies Learning Partnership and supported by the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham, has defended its policy. In a statement, Martyn Jobling, principal, said: “Uniform is a very important aspect of being a student at National Church of England Academy - we have high expectations about the standard of dress for all students. Instilling a sense of professionalism and high standards into students is beneficial to their learning, creates a sense of belonging to the academy, and introduces important values around dress that will be expected of them when they move into employment.

“The move to branded trousers and skirts is part of the academy’s drive to improve standards of uniform. It is a direct response to feedback from parents, governors, and the wider academy community that students approach to uniform was not on a par with other local academies/schools.

“Due to supply issues with the new items, students may continue to wear the plain trousers as in previous terms until 15th September initially – no student will be sanctioned in any way for not wearing the new items of uniform. This extra two weeks should allow the outlets to obtain sufficient items of stock to ensure all students are able to attend the academy in the correct new uniform from this point. We will work with students and families who are struggling to obtain the new uniform by this point and will review the situation again at this date.

“We have met with our nominated stockists and their suppliers regarding the lack of uniforms available to students and their families. From our meetings we have been assured that all issues regarding stock levels will have been rectified by 15th September 2017.

“At the end of last week, Hucknall Sports received a delivery of branded items and have a full range of sizes. All families who pre-ordered items will receive them by the start of term from Hucknall Sports.

“Some parents have queried only using two stockists – we have an existing relationship with both Hucknall Sports and Price and Buckland, and both carry all other items of National uniform. This trusted relationship was an important factor in maintaining these local businesses as our key stockists.

“We would also like to address the allegation that the academy is receiving commission from the sales of uniforms. We can categorically state that the academy does not receive commission from any supplier, and items we sell to students to replace lost uniform within the academy are sold at cost price.

“The academy spoke to a number of suppliers prior to launching the new trousers and skirts, and we selected the supplier who offered the best value for money, in terms of cost and quality. This decision was supported by our governors, which has specific parent representation.”