WEAVER Vale MP Mike Amesbury has said the Government must bring in his affordable school uniforms law next year.
The MP said he will maintain pressure on Government to ensure his new law, which is aimed at slashing the cost of school uniforms across England, is in place ready for the next academic year.
But he says it is ‘unfortunate’ his private member’s bill has not bene implemented in time for children returning to school this autumn after gaining Royal Assent in May.
Mr Amesbury added that guidance to be issued to schools shortly.
The idea is for schools to keep logos on clothing items to a minimum and to end ‘never-ending monopolies’ where one firm has the contract to supply uniform to a school seemingly in perpetuity.
“This will ensure affordability is centre stage,” the Weaver Vale MP told BBC News.
“There’s been statutory guidance around since 2013 but guidance is guidance and far too many schools, whether that’s principals and headteachers or governors, have ignored it.
“Some schools have been great though.”
The new law must take effect in time for the 2022/23 academic year, he insisted.
Mr Amesbury explained: “It must be in place next year.
“I’d be incredibly disappointed to say the least but, very importantly, so would hundreds of thousands of children, parents, families and campaigners if it doesn’t happen on time.”
The new law also gives parents the right to challenge their school if it fails to put the new law into practice.
The Labour MP said: “Of course, they’ll have a complaints process, whether that’s to governors, headteachers and principals, right up to the Secretary of State, and that’s a fundamental difference from the word go.
“It will also introduce competition so no longer will there be that single supplier arrangement by a nod and a wink forever and a day. Procurement will be introduced.”
He said schools would also be expected to set up swap shops to improve parents’ access to second-hand uniforms, while addressing the sustainability agenda.
Many volunteers are already providing that service across the country – and that includes Emma Ball, who set up the Uniform Exchange Winsford, covering schools in both Winsford and Northwich.