Kate Stewart, a Liverpool entrepreneur, is calling for a change in government and local school uniform policies.
Kate is concerned about the impact of the current cost of living crisis on families’ finances, particularly those struggling to feed their children, let alone purchase new school uniforms before the start of the new school year.
“Central government sets out that every child has to wear a school uniform, but it’s devolved to local government and the board of governors at any given school to decide what that uniform shall be. Many schools are working with just one shop or chain who then has the monopoly on the branded uniform displaying the logo for that school. Branded blazers can cost over £100 and even jumpers can cost £30 so in these times it’s often not possible for lower income families to afford these items. We totally agree that children should wear uniforms to school but we disagree with branding, logos and the monopolised approach and policies. All I am asking schools to do is to change their uniform policies to allow plain or unbranded uniforms as an alternative. We believe parents should be able to buy the entire school uniform from high street shops or supermarkets, many of which have a good range of generic and affordable uniforms. Schools could provide parents with iron-on badges if they want the uniforms to be branded or display school logos. Some items, like blazers, aren’t just expensive to buy or replace if lost, but they are also expensive to maintain as they might be made from materials like wool and maybe can only be dry cleaned. It’s just not sustainable for families anymore to be able to do that if they even could in the first place. We need to make school uniforms more affordable and more accessible and just help out those who need it most. It’s often the children that are suffering and I cannot just sit back and watch.”
Kate purchased 250 sets of uniforms last summer and donated them to local councillors to distribute in their respective areas, in addition to campaigning for change. This year, she will do the same, and she is also asking local businesses to support her initiative by donating items or money to help those families who are truly in need.
Kate has always been passionate about assisting families in deprived areas, particularly in her hometown of Liverpool, as she recalls the financial struggles and challenges she faced as a young, single parent 22 years ago.
If you would like to make a monetary donation to Kate’s Kids School Uniform Appeal then please visit her GoFundMe here.