The government has said pupils should wear school uniforms during the pandemic as they pose little risk of spreading coronavirus.
“Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal,” the department for education’s advice reads.
“Some schools may have relaxed their uniform policy while only certain categories of pupils were attending. We would, however, encourage all schools to return to their usual uniform policies in the autumn term. Uniform can play a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.”
Matt Easter, co-chairman of The Schoolwear Association, said the decision was the right one for students.
He said: “We welcome today’s updated guidance from the Department for Education with regards to school uniform. School uniform is a vital aspect of day-to-day life for pupils across the UK and ensuring that children return to the classroom in their regular uniform will help to restore routine and a sense of normality following months of home learning.
“Headteachers and school leaders right across the country know the positive impact a sensible school uniform policy has on pupils, teachers and parents. As an industry, from suppliers to retailers, we are working together to ensure that the shelves will be fully stocked and ready for when schools are set to fully re-open in September.”
“Headteachers and school leaders right across the country know the positive impact a sensible school uniform policy has on pupils, teachers and parents” – Matt Easter, co-chairman, The Schoolwear Association
Several schools have announced they will temporarily ditch strict dress codes in favour of casual wear. Lathallan School, an independent day and boarding school in Scotland, is one such school to make the move, after a survey of its parents revealed that 90% were in favour of the safety measure.
A flurry of headlines appeared earlier this month after Conservative MP Andrew Lewer, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Independent Education, told the Telegraph that traditional school uniforms are “at risk of dying out”.
“Covid-19 has already gravely disrupted the schooling of children right across the country,” he said.
“The last thing we want to see is it now striking at one of the great traditions of British schools, distinctive uniforms worn with pride by pupils at 90 per cent of our schools.
“As health experts such as Professor Linda Bauld have pointed out, the coronavirus risk from a school blazer or tie is minimal.”
Professor Bauld, a public health expert at the University of Edinburgh, has said that “school is not a high-risk environment” for spreading coronavirus.