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It's the €5 uniform that 80pc of schools ban from classroom

SADLY for most parents, the idea of a €5 uniform is too good to be true.

Discount store Aldi has launched a school outfit for little more than the price of a Happy Meal, but for 80pc of schools it will break uniform rules.

The cut-price clothes are not an option for most cash-strapped parents as schools insist they buy jumpers with their unique crest.

The uniforms are a one off specialbuy at Aldi and will only be available while stocks last. They go on sale in 94 stores around the country next Thursday.

A spokesman for Aldi said: "We are confident we will have enough to meet the anticipated customer demand."

Tesco is also getting in on the act with a range of low cost school uniform items, along with established players such as Dunnes who have a wide back to school range currently on offer.



Crest



The children's charity Barnardos has welcomed the availability of cut-price uniforms.

However, according to their CEO Fergus Finlay, schools will turn away many children if they opt for the cheaper clothes.

"Unfortunately not all families will be able to fully avail of Aldi's offer as Barnardos school costs research for 2011 showed that more than 80pc of primary school pupils and 96pc of secondary school pupils in the survey attend schools that require uniforms with the school crest on them.

"This significantly adds to the cost as parents are forced to go to specific retailers. School specific tracksuits start from around €35, jumpers can cost €40-60 while coats and blazers cost over €100."

Mr Finlay warned costly uniforms could create an extra barrier to education for children in poverty.

"The combination of costs that strain already stretched budgets can colour children's perception of education, making an already uphill battle for learning even harder.

"Education is a right, not a privilege. Our children should not have to sacrifice their futures because of market demands."

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn recently spoke out about the costs, calling for the National Parents Councils to "mobilise parents' and schools' associations to raise this issue with school authorities."

However he stressed that he could not tell schools what to do.

"The department cannot, under any statutory instrument or legislation, compel a school to do X or Y in the area of uniforms," he said.

A spokesperson for the minister told the Herald he "has clearly signalled his support for any measures that can reduce uniform costs for parents, including measures such as the use of generic type uniforms or the use of sew-on crests or school badges.

"It is important that schools are sensitive to the financial pressures on parents in making decisions, not just about school uniforms but about any matter that has cost implications for parents."

Sinn Fein TD Sean Crowe called the price of these uniforms with crests "a racket".

"I thought the whole point of school uniforms is to do away with kids being slagged for not being able to afford the right clothes," he said.

"When a jumper costs €60 or €70 it's not even the case that the parents can buy two so the kid can wear one while the other's in the wash."