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2019 compulsory school uniform

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Dear Department for Education,

Another year... Another attempt to get a response.

I refer to a previous request
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

There are a growing number of schools which are making it compulsory to wear uniform with a school logo. Many schools are not only requiring compulsory logos, but also items to be purchased from a single supplier...

This in itself would display an unlawful action which doesn't fit in with competition law etc.

1. Can you please confirm whether a school with a view of compulsory logo/items purchased from a single supplier can legally enforce this Point of View.

Afterall, a uniform is just a school policy. A requirement to provide a child with an education is a legal requirement. legal requirements are given the force of law.

.....

2. What actions are schools legally allowed to take if a child does not comply with a uniform policy?

I ask as numerous school are currently sending pupils home for "incorrect" uniform (missing logo, slight deviation of styles etc).

I note that schools can only punish a child for their own behaviours. They cannot punish a child because their parents haven't purchased a uniform in a style set by a school.

.......

3. Please provide any guidance you have on the matter.

I would be happy with a formal written confirmation that a states funded school cannot legally enforce a strict uniform policy to require logo's etc on uniform or uniforms purchased from a selected supplier.

(FYI: there are many laws relating to monopolies etc, and a school being the sole producer etc... - extorting money from parents with extortionate prices.)

Additional notes:

I do not raise an issue with "uniform" in general, IE: Smart black trousers, shoes, white shirt... my issue on this is relating to requirement for a set logo etc that make uniforms unreasonably expensive for parents.

Research on school uniform costs also confirms no law on uniforms...
http://researchbriefings.files.parliamen...

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

MINISTERS, Department for Education

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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

 Dear  Pearsall 

Dear Mr Pearsall,

Thank you for your email of 16 October 2019.

It is for the governing body of a school (or the academy trust, in the
case of academies) to decide whether there should be a school uniform
policy, and if so, what it should be. It is also for the governing body to
decide how the uniform should be sourced. This flows from the duties
placed upon governing bodies by statute to ensure that school policies
promote good behaviour and discipline.

As you may be aware, the department publishes best practice guidance for
schools to support them with making decisions regarding school uniform.
This states that governing bodies should give high priority to cost
considerations.

It also states that schools should keep compulsory branded items to a
minimum and that exclusive single supplier contracts should be avoided
unless regular tendering competitions are run where more than one supplier
can compete for the contract and where best value for parents is secured.

The guidance sets out that the governing body should consult parents about
changes to the school uniform policy and should take into account the
views of parents and pupils. The guidance is available at
[1]www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-uniform.

As mentioned in earlier correspondence, teachers can discipline pupils for
breaching the school’s rules on appearance or uniform. This should be
carried out in accordance with the school’s published behaviour policy.
The school uniform guidance sets out further information on this.

If you have concerns about the school uniform supply arrangements in
relation to competition law, you can raise these with the Competition and
Markets Authority (CMA). As you may be aware, the CMA wrote an open letter
to schools and school uniform suppliers about the appointment of exclusive
suppliers for school uniform. The letter is available at
[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio....

As school uniform is set by the school’s governing body, any disputes
regarding an individual school’s uniform policy should be addressed at the
local level, in the first instance, via the school’s complaints policy.
Governing bodies must have a published complaints process in place to deal
with complaints about school issues, including school uniform. Schools
should work in dialogue with parents to arrive at mutually acceptable
outcomes.

I hope this information is helpful.

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2019-0037048. If
you need to respond to us, please visit:
[3]https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus and quote your reference number.

We need your help to make sure we provide you with excellent customer
service whenever you contact us, and are working closely with the
Institute of Customer Service (ICS) towards becoming an industry leader in
this area. Please follow the link below to complete a 5 minute survey to
tell us what we are good at, and more importantly, what we need to improve
on.

[4]Ministerial and Public Communications Division Feedback Survey 2019

Yours sincerely

Philippa D

School Systems and Infrastructure Directorate

Web: [5]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [6]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [7]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

 

References

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1. http://www.gov.uk/government/publication...
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
3. https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus
4. https://www.tlfadmin.com/view-survey/dep...
5. https://www.education.gov.uk/
6. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
7. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

Dear Department for Education,

Re
2019-0037048

Thanks for your typical generic fob off letter.

However, you didn't actually respond to my foi request.

Do you hold the information I requested?

Why have you failed to supply a copy of the information without a formal refusal notice...

1. Can you please confirm whether a school with a view of compulsory logo/items purchased from a single supplier can legally enforce this Point of View.

.....

2. What actions are schools legally allowed to take if a child does not comply with a uniform policy?

(I specifically mentioned exclusions... Which require a formal process.. surely you hold information and guidance you have provided to school on this subject?)
.......

3. Please provide any guidance you have on the matter.

This is information you should store... Yet haven't provided confirmation of if it's held out bit as required under the act.

Please review your response and respond within your legal requirements.

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

MINISTERS, Department for Education

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Thank you for contacting the Department for Education, you will usually
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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Wayne Pearsall 

 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on
11/13/2019 4:00 AM . You requested:

 

'1. Can you please confirm whether a school with a view of compulsory
logo/items purchased from a single supplier can legally enforce this Point
of View.

 

.....

 

2. What actions are schools legally allowed to take if a child does not
comply with a uniform policy?

 

(I specifically mentioned exclusions... Which require a formal process..
surely you hold information and guidance you have provided to school on
this subject?) .......

 

3. Please provide any guidance you have on the matter.'

 

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

In respect of your first and second questions, I can confirm that a school
can use single suppliers for their compulsory uniform. However as
mentioned in our previous correspondence, such contracts should be avoided
unless regular tendering competitions are run where more than one supplier
can compete for the contract and where best value for parents is secured.

Schools can enforce their uniform policy by disciplining pupils for
breaching the school’s rules on appearance or uniform. This should be
carried out in accordance with the schools published behaviour policy. The
Department provides published advice to schools which summarises what is
lawful and permissible in relation to a school’s behaviour policy. This
can be found in the link below. Advice on this is also included in the
uniform guidance also linked below.

 

Regarding your third question, under section 21 of the Act, the Department
is not required to provide information in response to a request if it is
already reasonably accessible to you. The information you requested is
available on the Department’s website on the following links:

 

1. School uniform: guidance for schools

[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

2. Open letter from the Competition and Markets Authority to schools and
school uniform suppliers on competition law

[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
    

3. Guidance on behaviour and discipline in schools

[3]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...

4. Exclusion: statutory guidance on the exclusion of pupils from
local-authority-maintained schools academies and pupil referral units.

[4]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

 

If you do not have access to the Internet at home, you may be able to use
facilities at your local public library.

 

I hope the above answers your questions in full and assume that you no
longer wish to proceed with an FOI internal review, unless you contact us
to state otherwise.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an
independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of your request. 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Yours sincerely

Philippa D

Web: [5]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [6]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [7]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
3. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...
4. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
5. https://www.education.gov.uk/
6. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
7. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

Dear Department for Education,

Re: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

Again you say punish etc...

But your guidance makes it clear a child can only be punished for their own behaviours.

How many children do you know that purchase their own uniforms?

........
14. To be lawful, the punishment (including detentions) must satisfy the following three
conditions:
1) The decision to punish a pupil must be made by a paid member of school staff or
a member of staff authorised by the headteacher;
2) The decision to punish the pupil and the punishment itself must be made on the
school premises or while the pupil is under the charge of the member of staff; and
3) It must not breach any other legislation (for example in respect of disability, special
educational needs, race and other equalities and human rights) and it must be
reasonable in all the circumstances.
15. A punishment must be proportionate. In determining whether a punishment is
reasonable, section 91 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 says the penalty must
be reasonable in all the circumstances and that account must be taken of the pupil’s age,
any special educational needs or disability they may have, and any religious
requirements affecting them.
.......

So to be clear, as a uniform is purchased by a parent, and it is not reasonable to punish a child for actions not of their own... Why would the DfE continue to claim a child can be punished?

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

MINISTERS, Department for Education

1 Attachment

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education, you will usually
receive a reply within 15 working days.

You can find out how the department processes your personal information by
reading our [1]Privacy Notice.

 

 

References

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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

 Dear Mr Pearsall 

Thank you for your further correspondence about school uniform policy in
response to Philippa Duployen’s message of 12^th November. You have
published her reply here:
[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

In your further correspondence, you have quoted the Department’s [2]2016
Behaviour and Discipline in Schools Guidance; notably paragraphs 14-15.

The guidance makes it clear (paragraph 13) that ‘Teachers can discipline
pupils whose conduct falls below the standard which could reasonably be
expected of them. This means that if a pupil misbehaves, breaks a school
rule or fails to follow a reasonable instruction the teacher can impose a
punishment on that pupil.’

If a pupil is breaching one of the school’s reasonable rules and is not
wearing a uniform or is wearing a uniform incorrectly, for example if a
shirt is untucked when it should be tucked, a tie is loose when it should
be tight, a skirt is hitched up when it could and should be worn lower, it
follows that the school can discipline that child in a proportionate
manner.

The Department’s own [3]non-statutory school uniform guidance links
uniform policy to a school’s behaviour and discipline policy, reiterating
the point within the Behaviour and Discipline Guidance that it is
reasonable for a school to set rules or policies (and by implication,
enforce those rules or policies if necessary):

‘It is for the governing body of a school to decide whether there should
be a school uniform policy and if so what that should be. This flows from
the duties placed upon all governing bodies by statute to ensure that
school policies promote good behaviour and discipline amongst the pupil
body’

I hope this has clarified why the Department considers it appropriate for
a child to be subject to sanctions for a breach of a school’s reasonable
uniform policy.  

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2019-0042272. If
you need to respond to us, please visit:

[4]https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely

Mark EARL 

School Systems and Infrastructure Directorate

Web: [5]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [6]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [7]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

References

Visible links
1. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
4. https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus
5. https://www.education.gov.uk/
6. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
7. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

Dear Department for Education,

Mark, I'm afraid your response clarifies nothing.

You are simply repeating a flawed logic that a child can be published if a parent didn't buy the correct uniform... So I repeat my question.

How many children are the DfE aware of that purchase their own uniform....

I'm sure the answer is zero? And therefore it isn't a child misbehaving... Is it. So I hope you can clarify this without your "side with a school who breaks legal requirements" attitude.

Also. Please provide the full policy guidance you store for exclusions

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

MINISTERS, Department for Education

1 Attachment

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education, you will usually
receive a reply within 15 working days.

You can find out how the department processes your personal information by
reading our [1]Privacy Notice.

 

 

References

Visible links
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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear  Mr Pearsall 

Thank you for your further correspondence of 19^th December in response to
my correspondence also of 19^th December.

I am afraid I have nothing to add to my message of the above date. You
clearly do not agree that it is right that ‘the Department’s own
non-statutory school uniform guidance links uniform policy to a school’s
behaviour and discipline policy, reiterating the point within the
Behaviour and Discipline Guidance that it is reasonable for a school to
set rules or policies (and by implication, enforce those rules or policies
if necessary)’.  Nevertheless, that is the Department’s position, the
reasons for which I explained to you in my previous reply.

The Department does not collect records on who purchases a child’s school
uniform. I agree with you though: it is highly unlikely that a child will
purchase his or her own uniform.

Is there a specific incident which has led to your concerns about
non-compliance with uniform policy being a feature of a school’s
discipline/uniform policy? If so, perhaps you could set out the details of
the incident in any further correspondence and we could look into this for
you?

You also asked for full policy guidance on exclusions. You were provided
this information by my colleague Phillipa Duployen in response to an FOI
request (case: 2019-0037048). However, I provide a link again to that
guidance here:
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio....

I should add that exclusion is not the only means at a school’s disposal
for it to enforce its behaviour and discipline policy.

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2019-0042763. If
you need to respond to us, please visit:

[2]https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus and quote your reference number.

As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our
customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your
comments via our website at:
[3]https://form.education.gov.uk/service/Po....

Yours sincerely

Mark EARL 

School Systems and Infrastructure Directorate

Web: [4]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [5]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [6]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
2. https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus
3. https://form.education.gov.uk/service/Po...
4. https://www.education.gov.uk/
5. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
6. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Wayne Pearsall please sign in and let everyone know.