Hucknall county councillor wants review into 'school uniform postcode lottery'
A Hucknall councillor is backing calls for an urgent review into Nottinghamshire County Council’s school uniforms policy.
Coun Dave Shaw (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall West at County Hall, is backing his fellow Independent Alliance member Coun Debbie Darby (Ind) who has called for the review after claims that the county council operates a far less generous school uniform allowance scheme that Nottingham City Council.
Coun Darby says the county council only gives a school clothing allowance in ‘exceptional circumstances’ to families.
It defines this as families who have ‘lost clothes in a fire, flood or theft, been made homeless or those fleeing domestic violence.’
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Nottingham City Council, she adds, offers support to families on a variety of benefits.
Coun Shaw said: “With the county council not taking action over the rise in branded school uniform costs – it’s vital that they provide at least an equal service to the poorest in our county.
"Why should a family in Hucknall not get the same support as somebody in Hyson Green?
"I hope by raising this, we can end the postcode lottery that means our poorest get a raw deal.”
Coun Tracey Taylor (Con), cabinet member for children and young people, said: “No child should suffer or miss out on their education because a school’s uniform requirements are too costly.
"There is new statutory guidance for schools to ensure that uniform costs are reasonable for families.
"The county council has recently reminded all Nottinghamshire schools of that guidance.
“Nottinghamshire County Council’s school clothing allowance is discretionary for families in exceptional circumstances and based on need, rather than set measures.
"The council’s scheme applies to all school age children and to families living outside the county if their children attend county schools.
"Nottingham City Council uses a number of criteria including benefits eligibility, pupils in specific year groups (reception, year one, year four, year seven, year nine or year 11).
"The city scheme also excludes pupils who attend academies and free schools, meaning it is, in fact, available to pupils at less than 60 of the city’s schools, and at primary phase only.
“I would urge parents to contact their school if they are struggling to afford the school’s uniform; and especially if the uniform policy does not seem to comply with Government guidance.”