|Uniform email to Secondary schools
The Education team have been receiving an increasing number of communications that are focussed around making reasonable adjustments for pupils' - specifically school uniform. Most cases are for students with sensory needs, ASC or pupils who are gender dysphoric.
We know many schools are working closely with these pupils to ensure a balance is found between adhering to a uniform policy but also making adjustments for those who are not able to do this.
If your school feels they need further support, advice of guidance to ensure you are working within your statutory responsibilities laid out in the DFE guidance (below), Code of Practice and the Equalities Act please contact Kelly or Louise.
In developing and implementing its school uniform policy, a school will need to consider its obligations not to discriminate unlawfully. For example, whilst schools can designate different uniform requirements for boys and girls, girls’ uniforms should not be significantly more expensive than boys’ or vice-versa, as this may constitute unlawful sex discrimination.
To avoid discriminating against those who share particular protected characteristics, governing boards should aim for their uniform policy to be as inclusive as possible.
Schools should engage with parents and pupils when developing their uniform policy to ensure that it is suitable for their school community, recognising that their school community may change over time.
If a requirement will affect a certain group with protected characteristics more than others, schools should think very carefully about whether this requirement is the best way to achieve their aims and what mitigations could be put in place.
Such a requirement will need to be justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim if it is to be lawful, and the policy will need to be flexible enough to allow for necessary exceptions.
Even when a policy has been agreed, schools should be willing to allow for some individual variations to their uniform policy, where necessary to avoid indirect discrimination. For instance, reasonable adjustments must be made, as appropriate, for pupils with a disability.If the school does not allow for these adjustments where they are necessary, this may constitute indirect discrimination.