Parents to be balloted on school uniforms

Department of Education to issue questionnaires to schools by the end of month

Parents are to be balloted on their opinions on school uniforms, the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has announced.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / THE IRISH TIMES

Parents are to be balloted on their opinions on school uniforms, the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has announced. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / THE IRISH TIMES

Mon, Nov 11, 2013, 14:11

Parents are to be balloted for their opinions on school uniforms, Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has announced.

Schools which require students to wear uniforms, as well as those thinking of introducing them, will be given a template questionnaire later this month.

The schools will then circulate the questionairre among parents who will be asked to decide on the type of uniform – if any – they want for the the 2014/15 school year.

Questions will include whether parents want a school uniform or not; if so whether the uniforms should be available in the large retail chains; and whether they want a school crest on garments.

Mr Quinn said empowering parents to determine school uniform policy was the most effective way to tackle back to school costs.

“Specifically I want all schools that currently operate a uniform policy, or contemplate introducing one, to ballot parents during the current school year before deciding on the policy to be adopted for the 2014/15 school year,” he said.

“I have consistently said that schools should listen to the parents on this matter since it is parents who incur the costs arising from the decisions that schools make. Balloting all parents should ensure that a school fully captures the views of its parent body”.

The department will issue a template questionnaire to schools by the end of this month. Schools are expected to complete the survey by the end of February to give boards of management adequate time to consider the wishes of parents and to determine the schools uniform policy for the next school year.

Mr Quinn said the department was also working on developing a Parents Charter that will further strengthen the position of parents generally within the school system.