Hard-up parent criticises school’s uniform policy

A WORRIED mum who said she was struggling with school uniform costs claimed children faced bullying and would be punished if they did not wear a school’s “branded clothing”.

Katie Cardwell (30) said the policy of Rawmarsh Community School, run by Wickersley Partnership Trust, was “bullying material” and put parents in a difficult situation.

She said she had seen a letter from MP John Healey to Wickersley Partnership Trust, which runs the school, questioning the strict uniform policy but felt it was too little, too late.

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In his letter, Mr Healey said: “Parents across Rotherham are struggling with the cost of living crisis with rising energy bills, petrol and food prices and extra costs for school uniforms are particularly unwelcome at this time.”

Katie said: “Uniforms are quite expensive.

“Once you go to secondary school, you have got to wear branded clothing — you cannot just go to Asda.

“The PE kit with a pair of trousers, a T-shirt and a jumper, which is all required, costs £45 — this is without the footwear.

“I can’t afford this uniform but he would be put in isolation if he doesn’t wear it.”

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Katie pointed out the issue of the cost of branded uniforms had been raised in parliament earlier this year.

She acknowledged Mr Healey had written to WPT director Helen O’Brien about the issue.

But she added: “It’s a bit late, isn’t it? Children are back at school now.

“I’ve talked to a few parents, and everybody seems to feel the same way — we’re all struggling, there’s no real option to try and save any money.

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“John Healey said a pair of trousers costs between £10 and £15 but that’s not true — they cost £19, which is a lot for only a pair of trousers.

“There’s obviously the shirt, the tie, the jumper — everything.”

Katie said she thought the whole point of wearing a uniform was so that everybody was the same, and the number of children being bullied would be significantly reduced, but the current policy did not help with this.

Katie added: “When children are going to turn up in a uniform that’s a lot more worn and a bit older, they may be wearing a uniform, but it’s still bullying material.”

The Advertiser approached the school for a comment but did not receive a reply.