School uniform is a big part of independent school life, with it often reflecting the history of a school that has spanned centuries. We look at 10 school uniform statistics in the UK that will help explain current trends in the market and what different people think about school uniform.
1. Stevensons have made uniforms out of two million plastic bottles
School uniforms are getting more environmentally-friendly. Stevensons have started selling garments made from plastic bottles, saving 1.2 million bottles from being sent to landfill so far. It takes 18 bottles to make a blazer, five bottles to make trousers and two bottles to make a polo shirt.
David Luke is also reducing its carbon footprint with eco-school uniform, which uses a process that turns plastic bottles into clothing. Plastic bottles are used instead of crude oil in the production process, using less energy, reducing CO2 emissions and saving plastic from landfill.
Brabyns Preparatory School’s eco-blazer, by David Luke, will prevent approximately 2,250 bottles going to landfill.
2. 1% of the population is gender variant and uniforms are set to reflect this more
A survey of 10,000 people undertaken in 2012 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that 1% of the population surveyed was gender variant (expression by an individual that doesn’t match masculine or feminine gender norms).
From 1 September 2019, the Welsh government announced all schools will be made to offer cheaper, gender-neutral uniform. This means when clothing items are published by the school, they will not be assigned a specific gender. This is also to tackle rising costs of school clothing.
3. More independent schools are starting to develop their sportswear every three years
Managing director of Stevensons, John Stevenson, said sportswear is developing at a rapid pace with a shift towards more independent schools looking to develop their range every three years or so.
4. Back in the 1930s independent school uniforms were only available from one store
When Edge Grove School was established in 1935, the school’s uniform was only available for parents to purchase at Harrods. This was then followed by John Lewis.
5. 9 in 10 teachers believe that school uniform positively affects pupils’ behaviour
In a 2017 report called Attitudes to School Uniform by Trutex and The Diana Award, 604 children, 534 parents and 180 teachers were surveyed. When it comes to behaviour in the classroom, the majority of teachers (9 out of 10) think uniform has a positive effect on pupils’ behaviour.
6. 7% of children when asked to imagine there was no uniform said this makes them ‘very worried’
In Attitudes to School Uniform, 7% of children said they would be ‘very worried’ at having to wear their own clothes to school. However, 70% of 14-year-olds want to wear their own clothes to school.
7. 6 in 10 parents believe that wearing uniform counteracts bullying within schools
The report also showed interesting results when it comes to bullying, with 6 in 10 parents saying they think if children wear uniform this would counteract bullying.
8. Three quarters of British children wear uniform that is made under an ethical and fair-trading code of conduct
It seems that our British morals are strong, since three quarters of British children wear ethical school uniform supplied by the Schoolwear Association, whose members sign up to a code of conduct that includes ethical overseas manufacturing.
This highlights the importance for mainstream uniform suppliers to track and monitor where their uniforms are produced and how they are made, including the conditions in factories where the school uniforms are made.
9. The Schoolwear Association has over 200 members
The Schoolwear Association represents all those involved in the supply of school-specific uniform, including retailers, manufacturers and schools. It promotes best practice among its 200 members.
10. Nearly one-fifth of parents and carers have suffered financial hardship as a result of purchasing their child’s school uniform
A 2015 Department for Education survey found that nearly one-fifth of parents and carers reported that they had suffered financial hardship as a result of purchasing their child’s school uniform. This statistic is hard to ignore.
Research from the Schoolwear Association and Oxford Brookes University shows that the national average cost of a primary school uniform shopping basket is £33.48 without PE kit and £42.32 with PE kit. The national average cost of a secondary school shopping basket is £88.05 without PE kit and £127.32 with PE kit, due to the increased sports curriculum.
Get in touch with Independent Education Today at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have your own school uniform statistics to share.