Furious parents have hit out over a school’s decision to make them buy compulsory BRANDED trousers and skirts for their kids’ uniforms.
From September all pupils at Tor Bridge High will be expected to wear trousers or skirts with the school’s logo woven in.
But the trousers will cost between £18 – £24.50 and skirts will be £10 – £14 and hard-up parents say they could get similar for a fraction of the price without the name.
Any pupil breaking the new dress code at the school in Plymouth, Devon will reportedly be put in detention at lunch and break times until they are suitable dressed.
The compulsory items are in addition to the blazer, tie and PE shirt which parents are currently expected to buy.
But mum-of-seven Michelle Berry, who has three children at the school, said she will refuse to pay.
She said: “You can buy trousers in Tesco for £4 and Tor Bridge are charging between £18 and £24 per pair.
“For boys one pair is never enough – all my children have three uniforms each.
“Worse still, they’re going to punish the children who don’t wear the right uniform. It’s not the children’s fault, they shouldn’t be punished.
“It wouldn’t be so bad if the trousers were a reasonable price. They’re saying if children can turn up in £100 trainers they can afford this uniform, but that’s not true.
“Children might have expensive bags or trainers, but they get use out of them other than school hours.
“No child is going to wear their school trousers on their day off. If you were in a job you would be provided with a uniform.
“Many parents are outraged at this. I’m definitely not going to pay.”
Michelle estimates her total bill for uniforms would be over £75.
Her oldest daughter is exempt from the policy as she will be entering her final year at the school in September – but at the same time she has another son starting there.
She added: “I have a large family, they outgrow their uniforms too so they aren’t going to last a whole year.
“How are low income families going to cope? We’ve got to take a stand.”
Fellow mum Hayley Burbage said: “I’m so angry with this decision.
“I’ve always put my son in Tesco school trousers and have never had a problem. Why should I be penalised for other people’s mistakes?
“I’m disabled and on benefits and although people think I have lots of money, I don’t.
“I can’t afford to spend hundreds of pounds on uniform my son will only wear for half a year because he’s grown too quick for it to last any longer.”
Another mum, Daynna Burdess who has two children at the school, said: “I completely agree that uniform needs to be smart, but to put such prices on items and making it compulsory is awful,
“We are a working family, spending £18 to £24 on a single pair of trousers for my son who will need at least three pairs and then adding two skirts and two pairs of trousers for my daughter is between £94 and £130.
“This is without the cost of blazers at £38 each and PE tops on top.
“At the moment you can get three pairs of trousers for the price of one in many shops and with the rate teenage children grow many families replace school trousers etc. termly.”
Emma Courtier said: “Charging parents £23 for a pair of school trousers is disgusting when the pair I get from a supermarket next door to the school are £6.
“I will have, in the not too distant future, four boys attending Tor Bridge High – my uniform costs for each child will be around £125.
“When my twins start, that will be a £250 plus spend in one evening on school uniform.”
Liz Dunstan, Principal at Tor Bridge High, said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but rather it is in response to our commitment to maintain high personal standards of uniform in school.
“It is also to help families know what to buy when so often, items sold as ‘school uniform’ are not suitable. Many schools, not only in Plymouth, but all across the country already do this.
“We chose to have the school logo in black as we recognise some of our children may need to wear their black skirt or trousers out of school and so this would be more discreet for them. These have been chosen to ensure quality at a reasonable cost through our uniform suppliers, Trutex.
“We understand that some families may still have concerns which is why we are holding a drop in meeting at school on June 13.
The letter also states clearly that parents who have genuine concerns about the affordability of the uniform should contact their relevant Head of School.
“We would like to thank all our parents for their continued support in raising standards at Tor Bridge High.”