Uckfield Community Technology College Downsview Crescent, Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 3DJ tel:01825 764844 Email: email@example.com
UCTC New Uniform from September 2012
Frequently Asked Questions
I know lots of people who are happy with the current uniform; why change it?
A large number of students, parents and members of the community have been saying for many years that the current uniform of navy polo shirts, navy sweatshirts and navy trousers/skirts is shapeless, dreary and scruffy. They would like to see UCTC have a uniform that reflects the outstanding students of the College. In the first phase of our consultation there was a ‘parents only’ questionnaire and the response was that 434 voted for change and 192 against change.
Why was the consultation with parents and students in Years 7 to 9?
Years 7 to 9 were consulted as these were the students who were affected. Year 11 would be unaffected as they would have moved on to the Sixth Form or further education. Year 10 would be in their final year and not be required to purchase blazers, and therefore would be the last year to have a coloured polo shirt. The consultation process was wide and included parents/carers, students, staff and Governors. In addition, Years 5 and 6 children from our Partner Primary School were consulted at their UCTC Taster Days.
If you are changing the uniform, why can’t you change it to black trousers and skirts that are easier to find on the High Street?
The College was aware that a number of parents had difficulty in purchasing navy skirts and trousers, especially for KS4 students. However, during the consultation process many parents stated that it was not a problem purchasing navy trousers and skirts and that a move to black would lose the College’s identity and branding.
Do I have to buy the skirts and trousers from Sussex Uniforms?
No. It was requested that the College source an ‘approved style’ of trousers and skirts to ensure parents knew precisely what their children should be wearing. There have been issues of students saying to parents that leggings, chinos and even jeans are acceptable types of trousers, and that the very short tight tube skirts are acceptable. This had led to parents making purchases of unsuitable uniform that their children have then been told not to wear. The College approved a style of trousers and skirts; these are tailored trousers and box pleat skirts. Parents may purchase these styles of trousers and skirts from any supplier. However, Sussex Uniforms have sourced quality items of these styles and hold a stock for the convenience of parents. We have been assured by Sussex Uniforms that they will source navy trousers and skirts for all sizes and heights of students and therefore no parent will be unable to purchase these items of uniform if they are unable to find them in the High Street or on-line.
Why do we have to change to shirts and blouses; polo shirts are comfortable and practical?
One of the options considered was to change the uniform to a different coloured polo shirt to provide contrast in colour, and to find a colour that was available in ‘lady fit’ as well as regular, which had been very popular with Year 11s when choosing their Y11 polo shirts. However we were surprised to find out during our investigations that availability of polo shirts is decreasing and that the colours available are very limited (especially when looking for lady fit as well). It was pointed out to us that there may be issues in future proofing a new uniform if we chose a coloured polo (such as turquoise or purple) as it may not be available in years to come. Colours come and go with fashion.
If the uniform is changing to shirts and blouses then why can’t we have plain white that can be purchased on the High Street?
The vast majority of parents were against plain white shirts as they felt inappropriate styles would be worn and that for the girls they may be thin and tight and therefore show underwear. There was a very strong feeling that the students should not have a uniform that could be adapted ‘St Trinians’ style’. The only other colour shirt/blouse that is available on the High Street as standard is light blue, however this is worn by another local secondary school and there was concern over identity. In addition, although light blue shirts and blouses are available within High Street school uniform ranges, there would be difficulty sourcing these for students wearing adult sizes.
Why are the blouses and shirts so expensive?
The blouses and shirts are good quality and easy care and are sold in packs of 2. A pack of 2 blouses in size 28 inch chest to 34 inch chest is £20.95 and £24.95 for size 36 inch chest to 44 inch chest. For the boys a pack of two shirts in size 12 inch collar to 13 ½ inch collar is £20.95, and £24.95 for size 14 inch collar to 17” collar. Therefore the cost for one blouse or shirt is from £10.48 to £12.48 depending on the size required. The cost of the current navy polo shirts is from £10.95 to £12.95 each, slightly more than the new blouses and shirts.
Why are the girls wearing a blouse rather than the same shirt as boys? This means we can’t pass the item down to different sex younger children in the family.
The style of blouse for girls is with a revere collar which will help to avoid issues of them being worn inappropriately. The fabric for the shirt and blouses is of a good quality and therefore not see-through. The style of the blouses is gently fitted and will look smart, and fit all shapes and sizes. Whatever style of blouse had been chosen it would still have been a girls’ blouse in girls’ sizes and therefore not a ‘unisex item’. The very clear message from the students was that they wanted to move away from the baggy and scruffy look of unisex items.
Why will the girls not be wearing ties?
Although many parents felt that girls as well as boys should wear ties, many also felt girls should not be required to wear ties and there was concern again that ties for the girls could lead to the girls wearing them inappropriately. The College felt that girls would very rarely be required to wear ties in the workplace and therefore in preparing our students for adult life it was unnecessary to require girls to wear ties in school.
How much does the tie cost?
Both the Key Stage 3 tie and Key Stage 4 tie cost £6.95 each.
Why is there a different Key Stage 4 blouse/shirt and tie?
Year 11 students have for many years worn a different coloured polo shirt. Parents have complained that this is a waste of money for less than one year’s wear. Students have said that they like to have a differentiated uniform from the younger students and suggested that they were allowed to wear the different top for two years, in Years 10 and 11, hence the KS4 shirt/blouse.
Having the girls and boys KS3 and KS4 uniform means there are 4 different uniforms, why?
The only items of uniform that are different between the two Key Stages are the blouses and shirts/ties. All other items of uniform (the trousers/skirts and blazers, and the optional jumpers and cardigans) remain the same throughout all years. Years 7 to 9 will have a plain blouse or shirt and tie for the 3 years in Key Stage 3 and Years 10 and 11 will have striped blouse or shirt and tie for the 2 years of Key Stage 4.
Why have you appointed Sussex Uniforms as sole supplier for the blazers/jackets?
The College appointed one supplier of the branded items of uniform as this provided best value for money. Considerable time was taken contacting many potential suppliers. Sussex Uniforms were the only company to offer the combination of an on-line service, telephone sales, outlet shop and be prepared to come in for open evenings. Sussex Uniforms have negotiated cheaper prices with the manufacturers because they have placed large orders. If more than one supplier of the branded items had been appointed there would likely have been increased costs as their buying power would not have been as good. We also heard that in schools where students can buy any blazer, wealthy students have purchased designer label blazers and this had undermined the purpose of uniform being a sign of equality.
My child has perfectly good polo shirts and sweatshirts, why can these not be worn?
The navy polo shirts and sweatshirts are to be worn as PE uniform, providing a practical solution to the issues raised about the white T shirts being cold and see-through, and difficulty in purchasing plain navy tracksuit tops. This ensures these items are recycled.
I have heard that the blazers are very expensive and need to be dry-cleaned.
The blazers sourced have been chosen for value for money, comfort, durability, wash-ability and smart design (many students viewed a range of blazers in the Principal’s office and gave their opinions on the best styles). They are Teflon coated, crease resistant, machine washable, easy-care and quick drying. The cost of the blazers is £24.95 for size 28” chest to 35” chest and £28.95 for 38”chest to 48” chest.
Why are the uniform and pricing not yet shown on the Sussex Uniforms Website?
Although the delivery of blouses and shirts has this week arrived at Sussex Uniforms, the blazers have yet to be delivered. They are due to arrive during the second week of July. Sussex Uniforms have not put the uniform on their website as they are not yet in a position to accept or fulfil orders (and in particular did not want parents to pay for the ‘Next Day Delivery’ option if the stock was not yet available to deliver). If you require any further information about the availability and pricing of uniform please do not hesitate to contact Sussex Uniforms; they will be very happy to hear from you. Telephone 08449 210 160, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I cannot afford to buy the new items of uniform?
At UCTC we are an inclusive Community College and any parent or carer with financial concerns regarding uniform should contact either their children’s Assistant Director of Year or Caroline Tucker, Assistant Head (Finance and Resources). We are always keen to support those families in need and all communications will be dealt with completely confidentially.
What will happen if I don’t send my child in the new uniform in September?
At UCTC, we believe there is a strong link between students’ uniform and their learning. Uniform sets a tone of positive team spirit and pride in our outstanding college. The College has always had a policy of imposing sanctions for students who do not conform to uniform regulations and will continue to do so.