Northern Ireland School Uniform Survey — August 2021

Research in collaboration with PEG shows that parents are, each year, spending £173 per primary school child and £378 per post-primary school child on school uniform, PE kit and footwear.

Responses from 1415 NI parents reveal that a large majority are negatively impacted by the financial burden of school uniforms and want to have a say about uniform policies in schools.

Results also reveal that 94% of parents are concerned about school uniform costs, which was not restricted to low income families, with 88% of households earning £55,000 or above also expressing concerns.

Key findings 

Nine in 10 parents additionally worry about needing to purchase new school uniform items including footwear throughout the year due to their child’s growth spurt. When it comes to the impact on family budgets, almost three quarters (73%) say that purchasing school uniform places financial pressure on their family, and 18% of families say that it has seriously impacted their health and wellbeing.

Parents also value a greater say over school uniform policies, with 92% agreeing that parents should be consulted on all proposed uniform changes and about satisfaction with school-approved uniform suppliers.

Parents also indicated strong support for a number of solutions that schools could adopt to help reduce costs, with nine in 10 backing options such as selecting blazers that can be hand or machine washed, allowing the school logo to be attached to plain uniform items and having some level of quality assurance around the uniform’s durability.

Parentkind fully supports parents’ wish to be consulted about uniform policy as well as on other areas of school life that directly impact on them. The charity calls on schools and policymakers to listen to parent voice on the cost of uniforms and make parents part of the solution.

Our methodology 

A short online survey, promoted to parents via social media, was active between 12th and 20th August 2021. 1415 parents completed the survey. Please note percentages may not always add up to 100% due to rounding.

Download the report