11th November 2013 - IPPN Welcomes Proposal to Cut School Uniform Costs

Any initiative that reduces costs for parents with school going children deserves welcome.

Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) welcomes today’s announcement by Minister Ruairi Quinn and Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore. The initiative to reduce the costs of school uniforms will be well received by parents and school principals.

 The key to cutting costs of school uniforms is the separation of uniforms from school crests as this allows for competition between retailers. The existing practice of a single outlet having a monopoly on school uniforms is not a good idea and definitely an unhealthy practice in a time when parents are hard pressed financially.

Sean Cottrell stated that “a school’s crest is important but it does not have to be on the school uniform for it to be understood. Children can be taught the meaning of the school crest art work and other aspects of the curriculum”.

IPPN is concerned at the sample questions asked of parents in the Ministers proposed ballot. Asking parents if they wish to have a school uniform or not, opens up the prospect of some parents voting against uniforms. This would create problems both in school and at home, in relation to branded clothing and competition between children, which would only add to the opportunities for bullying.

The third sample question provided asks the parents if they want a school blazer or a school crest on garments and what type. These are the very issues that are causing the problem in the first place. Balloting parents in this manner can be divisive and strain relationships.

For years principals have worked hard with their parent associations in consulting with the overall parent body. Voting is always considered a last resort when it comes to leading a group which is disparate in nature. IPPN recommends that schools continue to use best practice with their parent association with a view to making the best decision for their school in cutting the costs of uniforms.

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