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A school uniform plays a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone. Most schools in England have a uniform or dress code, and other rules on appearance.
The Department strongly encourages schools to have a uniform as it can instil pride; support positive behaviour and discipline; encourage identity with, and support for, school ethos; ensure pupils of all races and backgrounds feel welcome; protect children from social pressures to dress in a particular way; and nurture cohesion and promote good relations between different groups of pupils.
Above all, many schools believe that school uniform supports effective teaching and learning.
There is no legislation that deals specifically with school uniform or other aspects of appearance such as hair colour and style, and the wearing of jewellery and make-up, and this is non-statutory guidance.
It is for the governing body of a school to decide whether there should be a school uniform and other rules relating to appearance, and if so what they should be. This flows from the duties placed upon the governing body by statute to conduct the school1 and to ensure that school policies promote good behaviour and discipline amongst the pupil body.2
It is also for the governing body to decide how the uniform should be sourced. The governing body should be able to demonstrate to parents how best value has been achieved and keep the cost of supplying the uniform under review.
It should also bear in mind that sustainable sourcing can be part of the action a school can take to support sustainable development. A sustainable school has sustainable development as part of its underpinning ethos. This helps to prepare young people to live in a world where globalisation of markets, massive changes in our environment, and limits on natural resources, require different attitudes, skills and behaviours.
1. Section 21 of the Education Act 2002, as amended by the Education and Inspections Act 2006.
2. Section 88 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006..
3. Read frequently asked questions about school uniform.
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