Britons tend to support compulsory school uniforms
Most Britons believe children should wear uniforms to school – and nearly two-thirds say schools should help to provide them, according to a new YouGov Political Research survey.
Almost two thirds (65%) say that uniforms for secondary school pupils (children aged 11-16) should be compulsory, while 49% say they should be mandatory in primary schools (ages 4-11).
But the cost of clothing a child in full school uniform can run into hundreds of pounds every year, with added costs for every growth spurt along the way. Recent research by the Children’s Society found the average yearly spend in 2020 was £337 for secondary school children and £315 for primary pupils.
In November 2021, the government introduced statutory guidance to help families cope with the cost by requiring branding - such as school logos - to be kept to a minimum, allowing parents to buy cheaper items from supermarkets and shops rather than school suppliers.
The guidance also stipulates that school websites should signpost parents to where second-hand uniforms are available and ensure uniform supplier arrangements are value for money.
Most Britons would like support to go further, with two-thirds (66%) saying schools should help to cover the cost of uniforms.
This includes more than a third of Brits (37%) who believe schools should help to meet the expense by providing uniforms to children from low-income homes, while an additional 29% say schools should give uniforms to all pupils.
Only a fifth of the public (22%) think schools shouldn’t have to contribute to the provision of uniforms at all.
Conservative voters are more opposed to schools paying towards uniforms, with 33% of those who voted Tory in the last general election saying so compared to 12% of Labour supporters.
At the same time, Tories are most likely to support the compulsory wearing of uniforms, with 81% saying they should be mandatory in secondary schools and 62% in primaries.
Labour voters still tend to support mandatory uniforms for children in secondary school (61% are in favour), although they are divided 42% to 46% on whether they should be required for children in primary school.
Older people are more likely to support compulsory uniforms
Those who left school decades ago are more likely to support school uniforms than those fresh out of education, though all age groups are more in favour of compulsory uniforms than against.
More than three-quarters of the over-65s (77%) say secondary uniforms should be compulsory, compared to fewer than half of those aged 18 to 24 (47% say they should be, 32% say they should not be).
And more than half of over-65s (53%) think they should be mandatory in primary schools, compared to 40% of 18 to 24-year-olds (34% say they should not be).