New statutory guidance on the cost of school uniform – Friday 19 November 2021

This week I highlight new statutory guidance on the cost of school uniform, NGA guidance on Ofsted inspections and additional DfE funding to tackle bullying.

Statutory guidance on the cost of school uniform
Today the DfE published statutory guidance to ensure the cost of school uniforms is reasonable and secures the best value for money. The guidance outlines the cost considerations which schools should consider when developing and implementing their uniform policies and managing their uniform supplier arrangements. It also covers the provision of second-hand uniform, other support with the cost of school uniforms and the information schools should provide to parents regarding their uniform requirements.

All schools should review their current uniform policy to determine if any changes are required and Governing bodies should be compliant with much of this guidance by September 2022. The exceptions to this would be where this would breach a pre-existing contract or informal agreement with a uniform supplier (particularly when the supplier may already have stock) or a school would need to run a competitive tender to set up a new contract for their uniform. All schools should be fully compliant with the guidance by summer 2023.

New NGA guidance on Ofsted inspections
NGA’s newly published Ofsted guidance, ‘Ofsted inspection: a guide for governing boards’ has been developed to help governing bodies know what to expect from an Ofsted inspection, understand what inspectors consider and the evidence they consult.

Full Ofsted inspections have resumed since the start of the academic year and many unions and organisations have raised concerns due to the implications that inspections may have on teachers and school leaders, while still recovering from the pandemic.

The guidance comes as the government announced £23.85million funding for Ofsted over the course of three years to accelerate the number of inspections on schools to ensure all schools are inspected by 2025. The push for increased inspection activity follows the recognition that parents and learners need up-to-date information about the quality of education within the school.

Extra support to tackle bullying
The DfE has confirmed over £1 million of funding for five leading organisations to provide anti-bullying support to schools and colleges. The extra funding will go towards projects targeted against LGBT, SEND and hate-related bullying. This builds upon the £3.5 million already delivered to charities and organisations supporting schools to combat bullying, promote diversity, and improve wellbeing for staff.