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How to Choose A School Uniform

If you are implementing a new school uniform policy, you may feel daunted by the process. If you are instituting a uniform for the first time in the school’s history, you may have several obstacles to deal with, including detractors, finding the right supplier, and determining the right uniform for your students. However, if you follow the process in an organized and proactive way, you can successfully put in place a school uniform policy that benefits students, parents, teachers, and the school as a whole. In this blog, we will go over the proper procedure for instituting a new school uniform policy, and how to choose the right uniform and supplier for your needs.


Educate yourself

The first thing you should do to ensure that the school uniform process goes smoothly is to do some research. Start by reaching out to other schools who have implemented uniforms for advice. They will have intimate knowledge of the school uniform process from which you can benefit. You will also need to familiarize yourself with the laws around school uniforms in your area to ensure that you are free of legal consequences. If there are people who are strongly opposed to the uniform, you may face threats of lawsuits; however, if you anticipate this problem and seek legal guidance now, you will be able to address this type of incident head on. The main issue that someone may have is the process through which you institute a uniform; therefore, following the proper procedure is crucial to this program’s success.


Start with a survey

The first step to avoiding legal problems during this process is to start by sending out a survey. In order to successfully institute a school uniform, you need a mostly positive response. A good response rate is one in which 65 to 75 percent of respondents vote in favor of the uniform. If there is a small but vocal minority opposed to the school uniforms, a response rate of 70 and above will help you leverage the school uniforms. Additionally, it is important for teachers to be in support of this measure in order to be successful. Turn to schools with uniforms to ask advice about how they conducted this survey.


Put together a committee

After a successful survey, you will need to put together a committee to pick a uniform. This committee should be representative of the community, and include a board member, a teacher, the principal or other high level member of the staff, and two to three parents. A committee is necessary because it is unrealistic for the entire community to come together to pick one. As long as the committee accurately reflects the demographics of the school, the school uniform decision will be a good choice for the greater community. The responsibility of the committee should be to create a vision of the uniform, find the right supplier, and then pick the choice; the greater community can then provide feedback.


Pick a uniform

As a committee, it is now time to come up with a vision for the school uniform. This will allow you to find the right supplier, as you will be able to narrow down your choices based on what you really want. First you will have to pick the right color. Many school go with the school colors; however, if your school colors do not lend themselves well to uniforms, go with neutral colors. Shirts in navy, light blue, white, and black are common choices, as well as slacks or skirts in khaki. Next, you will have to consider what style would be best for your students. Whether you choose polo shirts, button downs, or t-shirts, you must consider comfort above all else. If school uniforms are uncomfortable, students won’t be able to focus on their academics, and parents will not be willing to buy them. Choose a material like cotton, which is soft, easy to clean, and be breathable. Additionally, make sure that they are made of durable material, as kids will be kids and run around, play, and get their uniforms dirty. Parents will appreciate materials that are easy to clean and will last the high number of washes they will require.


Select a supplier

When it comes to choosing a school uniform supplier, there are several points to consider. First, shop around a bit in order to make sure you are finding the right supplier to meet your needs. Contact a few to get an idea of their inventory, options, and prices. Once you have narrowed down your options to two, ask specifically about the style the committee has voted for, and get a quote. Be sure to ask specifically for a quote, not just a price list. A quote will incorporate all the expenses, not just the prices for individual items. Based on these quotes, if you are still not sure which supplier to go with, have them present for the committee to determine the best match for your school’s needs. Choose the supplier that not offers a good price, but will offer a positive relationship that benefits the community as a whole. Once you have chosen one, you must run it by the community; display the uniform and distribute a list of prices and pictures. If any issues come up through this process, discuss them with the supplier to see if they can address them. If they can’t, outline the options they do offer to the community. Remember to be as transparent as possible through this process to decrease the chances of it having an negative impact.

Remember, there is no way to make absolutely everyone happy; as long as you have followed the procedure as diligently as possible. As long as the supplier provides incentives to the school and a high-quality product, you should be able to please a majority of people.

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