We've all seen the recent headlines about some schools now moving towards gender-neutral school uniforms, as the education system seeks to adapt to children questioning their gender identity.
While gender neutral uniforms are currently still the exception rather than the norm, recently there has been more awareness from schools who are considering their policy.
However, the important thing to remember is that schools have a policy to ensure that everyone wears uniform in a way that contributes to the school's identity and a sense of belonging.
We know that good quality uniform contributes to improved learning, better behaviour and greater child safety, so it's crucial for schools to avoid undermining those benefits when deciding on an appropriate response to individual cases and broader issues around gender.
As with most things, there are real benefits if you are willing to pay a little extra for a quality product and service. Schoolwear specialists throughout the UK industry are crucial in ensuring that option remains available to schools when they are specifying their uniform.
The growing use of competitive tenders means schools can ensure best practice and value by appointing specialist schoolwear suppliers who will guarantee consistent uniform colours and quality all year round, for all sizes and styles. Specialist suppliers can make it easy and convenient for parents to buy quality uniform in good time for the new school year.
School uniform from specialist suppliers has been shown to be less likely to shrink, tear or stretch compared with cheaper generic schoolwear. Frequently the garments are made from heavier fabrics and are therefore more durable and can stand up to the rigours of the playground whilst offering easy care for frequent laundering.
While no one suggests that school uniform isn't a significant expense for many parents, the cost is sometimes hyped up to make a story or a political argument. As our research highlighted, school uniform costs on average just 45p per school day. The real drain on many family budgets is the clothing children wear when they are not in school.
Many of us have been held "hostage" to our children's desire for branded clothing, and our research shows that one individual garment to be worn out of school could cost an average of £46.58, that's £13.10 more than the cost of a complete primary school uniform, excluding PE kit.
A significant issue within schools is behaviour, when this is good learning improves, and research shows a proper uniform is part of the solution with 83 per cent of teachers preferring their class to wear it. A uniform that is specific to a school creates a sense of belonging and helps make the child feel ready to work, in turn supporting a better learning experience.
Specialists throughout the schoolwear industry are in the business of producing and supplying uniform that meets high quality standards and provides children with something durable and lasting to wear. A uniform that is made well lasts longer, does the job better and offers genuine value for money. It will always provide better long term value over a cheaper and less robust garment.
Losing sight of that will be cheating our children and damaging to an industry that has served schools and families faithfully for generations.