Law on school uniform

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Dear Department for Education,

Is there a (Law) in the United Kingdom that, allows a state school (both Academy and LA run), the legal right to refuse to educate a child purely on (branded school uniform adherence)?

If so, please can you send us the link?

To clarify. Not guidance, not policies, not codes of conduct. (Actual Law).

Yours faithfully,
Mr D. Bird

MINISTERS, Department for Education

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Dear D Bird,


Thank you for your request for information, which was received on
14/09/2018. You requested  


Is there a (Law) in the United Kingdom that, allows a state school (both
Academy and LA run), the legal right to refuse to educate a child purely
on (branded school uniform adherence)?


I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(“the Act”).


There is no legislation in England that specifically relates to the right
to refuse to educate a child based on their school uniform.

The decision whether or not to have a uniform and if so, what this will
be, is decided at school level by its governing body. This flows from the
duties placed on all governing bodies by legislation to ensure that school
policies promote good behaviour and discipline amongst the pupil body. The
Department does have non-statutory guidance on school uniform, which
includes detail on student non-compliance. I have copied the relevant
section below for your information.

The guidance is available at:




Pupil non-compliance

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.

A head teacher, or a person authorised by the head teacher, may ask a
pupil to go home briefly to remedy a breach of the school’s rules on
appearance or uniform. When making this decision schools need to consider
the child’s age and vulnerability, the ease and time it will take, and the
availability of the child’s parents. This is not an exclusion but an
authorised absence. However, if the pupil continues to breach uniform
rules in such a way as to be sent home to avoid school, or takes longer
than is strictly necessary to effect the change, the pupil’s absence may
be counted as an unauthorised absence. In either case the pupil’s parents
must be notified and the absence should be recorded. If a school is
considering excluding a pupil in response to breaches of uniform policy
then this must be in line with the legal requirements for exclusion.


The Department has statutory guidance on the use of exclusions, although
this does not specifically relate to the use of exclusions for uniform
matters. The guidance is available at

It states that:

Permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort, in response to
a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school's behaviour
policy; and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously
harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.


Education is a devolved matter, so you may wish to contact the Scottish,
Welsh and Northern Irish administrations regarding their policies.

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

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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."

 I Floyd 

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Wayne Pearsall left an annotation ()

I made a request late year,

I asked for information which they didn't provide...

Basically, they can't punish a child of its actions of their parent. A child cannot purchase a uniform. The parent does. So if it's the incorrect uniform, then... Tough cookie school policy.

Punish my child, for my actions, and see the full force of law

Wayne Pearsall left an annotation ()

Oh and they lied!

The importance of cost consideration
The School Admissions Code 2012, which is statutory guidance, states “Admission
authorities must ensure that […] policies around school uniform or school trips do not
discourage parents from applying for a place for their child.” No school uniform should be
so expensive as to leave pupils or their families feeling unable to apply to, or attend, a
school of their choice, due to the cost of the uniform. School governing bodies should
therefore give high priority to cost considerations. The governing body should be able to
demonstrate how best value has been achieved and keep the cost of supplying the
uniform under review.