AN ANGRY Limerick mother of four has called for schools to abide by the 2017 Department of Education decision that pupils should have a choice of wearing generic uniforms with sew-on crests after she was met with a demand for a whole new bespoke uniform.
While the school her children attend has said that the change is needed to modernise uniforms, “the only thing that is different is the colour” the mother – who does not want her name published – told the Limerick Post.
The school has specified that pupils must wear the new specially-crested school jumpers and tracksuits.
The decree wipes out chances of families using hand-me-downs to save money. The school has specified only one outlet to supply the new uniforms, so there are no options for families to shop around either.
The woman included in her communications with the Limerick Post a picture of a pile of more than 20 jumpers and tracksuit tops with an assortment of ties, which will now need to be sent to salvage.
“The new uniform leaves us with no choice but to get rid of old uniforms, except for skirts or trousers. We can’t pass them on to younger siblings or to friends with younger children,” the mother said.
“And, as I look at the big pile of clothes that is now going to the clothes bank, I wonder is post-pandemic and pre-recession a good time to introduce a new uniform? Have the notions of using, reusing, reducing, recycling, upcycling not reached our high-flying green flag schools?
“I’m not having a go at our school alone. Lots of schools seem to be making parents buy crested uniforms.”
The mother priced the difference between the designated and store-specific items the school wants her children to wear with similar items in chain stores.
“The difference is €54 per child. And that’s just for the jumper and tracksuit,” she found.
“The new jumper is of an unusual petrol blue shade – which can’t be found generic – ruling out the cost-reducing option of a stick-on crest.”
The Limerick mother said she is in full favour of children wearing uniforms as it eliminates arguments about what to wear, but the new decree from the school in question means she won’t be able to buy back-up garments so that her children can have a change of clothes if they spill something on themselves or just get dirty and sweaty.
“How in the name of God does doing the same thing in a different colour modernise the uniform? We’re still having a shirt with lots of buttons that little fingers can’t fasten, a woolly jumper that irritates sensitive skins – one of my children has eczema and it drives him mad – a stripy tie that no adult would dare wear, and a formal grey bottom. You can’t even put the jumpers in the dryer.
“Can anyone think outside the box and come up with a modern, eco-friendly, affordable, and child-friendly option that doesn’t add to the financial burden on families at a time when the cost of living is already soaring?” she asked.