Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle, Emma Hardy, is calling for a total ban on all logoed school uniforms and for children to be granted the right to wear plain clothes from high-street chains instead.
This labour MP - a seat described by the Guardian in 2005 as an " isolated fishing port grim east coast town' - has composed a letter to the Department for Education in which she is urging the government to issue statutory guidance to stop schools forcing parents to buy more expensive branded blazers, sweaters and sportswear.
Hardy - a former teacher at Willerby Carr Lane Primary School where she spent 10 years - also wants a ban on parents having to buy from a single stockist, which she claims bumps up the price, explaining a plain blazer from Tesco may cost you £10 as opposed to £33.00 for the same equivalent in one of your more specialist stockists.
Arguing: “If schools want to have a badge, they could supply sew-on badges to parents." Assuming all her constituents can sew!
Naturally, we here at All Shorts Schoolwear are outraged by the news.
While Hardy's latest round of rhetoric may be music to the ears of her constituents of Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle - a deprived area undergoing regeneration with low income roots and high unemployment - in a drive to secure votes, we mustn't ignore the wider picture here.
Firstly, we strongly advise Emma Hardy to reconsider her proposals, proposals which - if granted - would doubtless threaten the future of many of our high-street school uniform suppliers - a notion which in turn would culminate in unprecedented job losses for their countless employees; Livelihoods which may take years to recover - if at all.
Rather than assuming full responsibility for the unprecedented high-levels of poverty in the UK, it would appear schools and retailers are once again being held to account for someone elses mistakes by the powers that be.
While it is true supermarkets offer attractive in-store cut-price deals for cost conscious parents, the reality is, not everyone stops to consider the economic, environmental - let alone the ethical implications behind these immorally low-priced school garments.
Surely Hardy must realise the only reason why many of our high-street supermarkets can afford to sell budget price clothing is because such garments are likely the result of forced labour in overseas factories where working conditions are - for the most part - anything but humane.
It stands to reason, if you are purchasing a shirt for fewer than £2.00 in a British supermarket, it can't have been manufactured in the UK where the minimum hourly rate for those 25 and over currently sits at £8.21. Such a cruelly cut-price item has to mean it was constructed unethically, either in some dismal sweatshop out in the middle east where labourers receive as little as twenty pence per week - and often involves children; Or by some other poorly underpaid labourer.
Surely, Emma Hardy wouldn't want us to assume her proposal now meant she approves of sweatshop manufacturing, that it is now suddenly acceptable for Britain's schoolchildren to turn up for school proudly wearing clothes - unbeknown to them - conceived at the hand of another person's suffering? Is this the sort of message she really wants to send out, given the abolition of slavery here in Britain in 1833 post the introduction of the Slavery Act? A case of double standards?
Most of the parents we talk to all say they would much prefer to buy into quality than to fall into the trap of paying less and shelling out for endless replacements over the year.
Smart corporate branded uniforms sets the tone of any given school, raises academic standards, instils a real sense of pride, helps combat bullying and reduces bad behaviour, says The Schoolwear Association, which conducted independent research back in 2017 which looked at dress and well-being, and the kind of appearance-related pressures which, if went undetected, could lead to mental health issues.
While unbranded items of school uniform may seem like the most attractive of the two options to some, it is simply a short-sighted solution and makes no real economic sense - aside from all the unethical implications involved, with many preferring to live by the adage: "buy cheap buy twice."
Regrettably, within the appalling three years it has taken this administration to debate the ins and out of Brexit - for which no conclusions have yet been reached months beyond the set leave-by date - we have witnessed record number shop and factory closures in the textile industry, with the falling pound and cheap, off-shaw equivalents cited among the top two factors responsible for their demise.
Now they feel the only answer is attack by bullying schools into completely changing their uniform policies to reflect the miserable reality of the UK's 4.1 million children living in poverty, while forcing the hand at the same time of retailers to slash their prices - which many know is simply nigh on impossible if they are to survive in our present economic climate.
For us as independent retailers, it would mean us cutting our long-established ties with what remains of our British textile manufacturers and looking elsewhere for alternative solutions; an idea many of us British suppliers would certainly not want to entertain. Such a move would completely go against everything we believe in and doubtless result in more future commercial losses on these isles in the long-run.
If the government were to go ahead with Emma Hardy's proposal and impose statutory guidelines to schools preventing them from insisting on branded school uniform, the ramifications would doubtless prove detrimental for our nations independent school sector, (unless they came under the exclusion zone.
For a start, the notion - if passed - would by its very definition - deny these schools the right to a corporate identity, which in turn could have far reaching implications for their commercial image, as well as on pupil behaviour and their subsequent academic performance, let alone decimate a fundamental aspect of our English culture with its roots in Tudor times.
Granted, we can think of several Measures in addition to those being currently proposed by- Emma Hardy, measures which - if introduced - would have far reaching benefits for the British textile industry and the wider economy respectively.
To start with, urgent investment in the UK economic infrastructure is desperately required, with a call for increased collaboration between more and more schools, colleges and universities to further strengthen the gap between the workplace and learning in the classroom.
In addition, raising import duty for unethically produced products coming into the Uk is another solution we believe ought to strengthen our own manufacturing output, create fairer competition, secure British jobs and reduce the exploitation of foreign workers.
We also welcome these recommendations by the Centre for Retail Research, who in its own report Retail At Bay 2018 proposed a compromise that could be put into effect immediately, were the Chancellor so minded. This would involve a twin system:
1) Continue with business rates but halve the rate of rates;
2) Introduce a turnover tax on all retailers;
3) Abolish the maze of exemptions from business rates.
You may have noticed one or two changes to our website lately. Many of these changes include product and page updates. Yet, the most important change we have made recently is to the trading name.
All Shorts Limited remains unchanged. However, we have created a new brand for our schoolwear specifically.
All Shorts Schoolwear is now a trading name of All Shorts LIMITED.
Following the announcement, managing director, Alistaire Anderson, said: "We are excited about the new brand and its associated new trading name. It makes perfect business sense to create a separate brand specifically for our school apparel. By creating All Shorts Schoolwear gives the brand complete focus and direction and will enable us to better serve the needs of this area of our industry in all its glory.
"the good news is, we've kept disruptions to an absolute minimum. In fact, customers will have experienced few disruptions - if any - to any of our services.
Our online shop continues to sell high-end unbadged items of schoolwear to our retail customers and school accounts continue to be managed in-house.
With the exception of PayPal - which we have dropped as one of our payment options - customers will still be able to make secure online payments using their credit/debit card. These payments will be processed by Stripe and will continue to show up as All Shorts Limited on your statement.
"Naturally, we have adopted a new URL to coincide with the name change: www.allshortsschoolwear.co.uk. This said, the previous domain, allshortsuk.co.uk will remain active for the foreseeable future and will always redirect visitors to the new site every time it is used.
"In addition, new email addresses have been introduced and customers will shortly be receiving a memo from us advising them of these changes and how they affect them.
"Creating All Shorts Schoolwear has meant a great deal of work on our part. Not only have we had to update our website, but design and print new stationery and literature, too. In fact, it's required huge infrastructural changes which will ensure better future prospects for growth and development in the short, medium and long-term.
Dress smart, think smart, remains our underlining core motto, and classic cuts for classy kids, has been adopted as our new industry brand image.
Last, but not least, preparatory schools from within the Independent sector will continue to remain our primary focus, in particular those with a traditional boys' uniform, and our social media output will carry on reflecting our passion and vision for what we see as one of our underpinning cornerstones - occasionally maligned by some quarters.
"It only remains for me to thank all our customers and suppliers for their loyalty these past two and a half years. Without them and their ongoing support, there would be no All Shorts Schoolwear."
Your feedback is important to us. Therefore, please feel free to post a comment in the box below and share with your friends and associates.
By Philip Anderson
Disclaimer: the views expressed here are my own and may not necessarily reflect those of All Shorts Limited.
Definition: gender neutrality (adjective form: gender-neutral), also known as gender-neutralism or the gender neutrality movement, describes the idea that policies, language, and other social institutions should avoid distinguishing roles according to people's sex or gender, in order to avoid discrimination arising from the impression that there are social roles for which one gender is more suited than another.
Earlier this year You may have heard the Radio 2 DJ Sara Cox on her soapbox banging the drum for girls to be allowed to wear trousers at school instead of skirts just like the boys in the name of gender neutral uniforms for all.
Yet, might one be forgiven for concluding that, what she was actually saying: the only acceptable clothing for girls is boys wear with 'Male' being the default gender? A case of females desperately fighting for supremacy by meandering after the male persona?
Official figures from the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) estimates that, of the 15.5 million children living in Britain, 2,000 identified as gender neutral in 2017 cutting across 71 variations, with in excess of 50 weekly referrals to the Tavistock Centre in London.
Today, a number of primary and secondary schools now allow boys to dress in skirts and girls in shorts, and actively encourage gender neutrality from a very early age; as young as five in some cases; With one secondary school in Oxfordshire last year reportedly banning boys from wearing shorts in the hot summer months – but who said they were free to wear skirts instead if they so desired.
My findings reveal that across the UK, approximately 80 state schools - 40 primary and 40 secondary - have introduced gender-neutral school uniforms.
“We introduced the policy more than a year ago,” said Paula Weaver, headteacher at Allens Croft Primary School in Birmingham, the first school purported to have adopted a gender neutral school uniform.
Adding: “Children are expected to wear uniform, but they can wear whatever part of that uniform they want.”
For other schools it’s about obliterating anything that remotely resembles gender stereotyping.
“This year we’ve gone from a girls’ uniform and a boys’ uniform to a skirt uniform and a trousers uniform,” explains Liana Richards, deputy head teacher at Uplands Community College in East Sussex. “It’s about recognising the rights of students who feel they might not fit into the binary genders." No mention of the “Rights” of parents – least of all, the rest of the pupils.
Why all the fuss towards a universal neutral dress code?
It is felt this latest move is part of a government-funded initiative to support LGBT children in schools and be more open to them questioning their gender or sexual identity.
Questioning their gender and identity” at five? Remember, we are talking a mere 2000 children out of a total of 15.5 million who identify as gender neutral.
Even a few high-street retailers have dropped "Boy" and "Girl" from their labels, with John Lewis amongst the first, prompting these angry comments from fellow shoppers:
“You have let us all down John Lewis,” wrote one. “if only people stopped pandering to the PC brigade. There are only two sexes, male or female.”
“John Lewis’s introduction of ‘gender neutral’ kids clothes is a worrying sign of the times,” added another. “Expect mental health issues to rocket.”
Even TV presenter, Piers Morgan weighed in on the debate, writing “Britain is going officially bonkers” in a tweet that has attracted countless thousands of likes.
With ruan-shah writing in Families – the straight-talking blog for parents - in 2018: "Being gender-neutral and gender-fluid is not something that is easily accepted by everyone, especially other children because they are not experienced with this concept, and cannot understand this. The child’s peers will see them as different and an outcast, and whenever someone is different in any way, others cannot understand them and see them as an easy target to bully."
Is it not possible for both genders to wear different items of clothing and still live as equals in today's modern society?
What is it about girls wanting to dress and look more and more like boys?
What is really behind this whole war on gender?
On the one hand, girls would argue they are fighting solely on grounds of equality and the desire for acceptance. Whereas boys who do not identify with gender neutrality would probably see it as a personal attack on their masculinity.
Up until 30-40 years ago, the majority - if not all prepubescent girls all wore skirts or dresses for school and recreation along with either ankle or knee-high socks. Again, denoting their subordination to their senior female counterparts who generally went about in tights or full length stockings; nothing to do with gender stereotyping; merely a case of and accepting their position in, the human hierarchy.
Rules were far more stricter then than they are today. Seldom did prepubescent girls - and boys for that matter - challenge the status quo. Granted, the war - it was suggested certainly gave rise to independence and more liberal thinking for a percentage of women with several turning towards more intense manual and managerial tasks - positions normally occupied by men.
Nevertheless, the education system held on to the Dickensian tradition of single-sex schools - or at least single-sex classes with clearly defined boundaries for boys and girls for upwards of three or more decades post world war II. Until then, there were separate playgrounds for each sex and partitions dividing the girls from the boys in the main buildings in co-educational schools.
Only post the abolition of these gender divisions did tensions amongst these genders escalate, with integration providing much cause for debate amongst educationalists and pupils, respectively.
Furthermore, Bare legs on British prepubescent upper-class boys still denotes subordination and trousers a sign of manhood, particularly amongst the Royals.
Any boy in short trousers is looked upon as a minor of immature years. Only when he reaches a certain age - 8-9 upper-class, 11-13 middle and working-class - does he graduate to long trousers; a clear sign he has reached the age of maturity when he will doubtlessly inherits certain responsibilities befitting his years, as in the case of HRH Prince George; A trend which has fallen out of favour with the majority of today’s suburban Britain.
In addition, making younger boys wear short trousers was also used as a form of discipline in years gone by. Should a boy persistently breach school rules post his transition to long trousers, a head might strip him of that privilege and insist he goes back into shorts for a period of time till he repented of his ways and subsequently prove himself someone befitting the right to wear manly attire. Could you imagine the uproar if a head executed that same policy today?
Yet, one might equally argue that it is acceptable for society to impose gender neutrality on everyone else, irrespective of their views.
Perhaps we should introduce gender neutral schools for those who identify with gender neutrality? Yet, given the fact that, of the 15.5 million children in Britain, only %0.1481 identify as "Gender Neutral", the move might seem somewhat unlucrative.
How would you vote? Post a comment below and remember to invite your friends and associates to join in the discussion, too.
Thank you for reading.
Engendering Sons: Doable or Desirable
Gender Neutral Parenting - Pros and Cons
Gender Neutral Parenting - Has it Gone Too Far - The Telegraph
40 Secondary Schools Across England Have Banned Skirts
School Uniform Should Be Gender Neutral in Wales - BBC News
A time of festive cheer and goodwill to one and all.
As 2018 draws to a close, we would just like to thank you for your business and to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2019 filled with Health, Joy and Success!
Don't miss our Online Winter Sale! Starts 26th December until 5th January 2019.
There's 20% off everything!
Just use code: WINTERSALE at checkout.
VAT and postage charges not included.
Subject to availability.
See full offer terms and conditions.
Which of these apron fabrics do you favour as a school or children's day nursery? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments box below.
A P R O N: Always Put Responsibility Over Negligence.
"Roll up your sleeves, aprons on, time to get creative!"
Those highly inspirational words of my form teacher way back in the days of primary school never ceased to fill me with overwhelming feelings of determination and positivity.
I recollect we had two sets of aprons: polycotton for domestic science and PVC for all art-based activities.
Even as a small child, I would often find myself marvelling at how much more protection the PVC apron afforded me and my clothes than that of the cotton drill variety.
On one occasion, disaster struck. I was nine at the time, happily minding my own business, standing at my work table, thoughtfully modelling something out of clay, when a small boy accidently staggered full pelt into my work table. He was carrying a plastic jug full of red paint at the time.
I shall spare you the graphic details. However, needless to say there was a mighty thud, followed by an anguished gasp from the boy as the jug he was cradling, flew clean from his hand and struck me squarely on the chest, sending out a tongue of paint that drenched my apron neck to hem.
Had I been wearing a cotton apron at the time, the consequences would have undoubtedly proved fatal, with the contents soaking through and immediately staining my sleeveless woolen jersey. Thankfully, the PVC apron saved my clothes on that occasion.
admitted, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) may not be the most environmentally friendly of the two fabrics with fewer options for recycling with the majority going to landfill. Nevertheless, PVC is longer-lasting, easy to clean, protects against moisture and bacteria and has the ability to retard flame.
Whereas cotton - a seemingly more child-friendly natural alternative, softer to the touch and breatheable - is a costly material to produce, averaging 7.8 megalitres of water per hectare. Regrettably, once woven, cotton aprons do not repell moisture in the same way as their PVC counterparts as in the above example, fail to protect against flame and invariably command lengthy sterilising routines involving washing at 90 degrees plus.
Yet, how we manage our plastic waste here in the UK is crucial. The greatest challenge came in the wake of China's recent decision in 2017 not to accept anymore imports of the UK's plastic waste.
It is understood that the UK Government is investing in new recycling projects. However, the end result for managing the vast quantity of plastic waste currently produced is a long way off, with 2042 set as the current date for achieving the country's present targets.
With more and more schools converting to plastic-free zones, the PVC apron may shortly fall out of vogue as a protective garment worn by pupils in the classroom, with many looking to more eco-friendly alternatives.
In the meantime, we'd very much welcome your thoughts on the cotton vs the PVC apron and which of these two options you feel work best for you as a school/children's day nursery.
When all said and done, a form of absolute protection really does help obviate negligence and the need for an apron of some description is most definitely essential, regardless.
All Shorts sells a variety of both PVC & Cotton bib aprons for Parents and Schools.
Parents: Click here.
Schools/Youth Groups: Click here.
When it comes to caring for your child's school clothes, what techniques work for you?
With parents of primary-aged school children spending upwards of £250.00 per year on school uniform for each child, taking care of these clothes afterwards is paramount if you want to save money.
We know many of you have your own tried and tested methods for taking care of your child's school clothes. Please feel free to share them with us. We want to hear what works and doesn't work for you. In the meantime, we've put together a few tried and tested methods to help you increase the life-cycle of your child's school clothes.
Stay subscribed for further updates.
To kick us off:
1. Ensure to follow the care label's instructions.
If it says "only wash at 40DGS", then the advice is to not exceed this temperature.
School garments - by their very nature - are prone to shrink when subject to intense heat and would thus be rendered unfit for purpose after an exceptionally short space of time.
Check out this useful article on care labels.
2. Basic washing machine maintenance.
This is another excellent method of ensuring positive outcomes for your children's school uniform.
Regular filter and door rubber seal checks can very often reveal an assortment of articles from broken pencils, sweet papers and lose change.
Sounds familiar? Such items if undetected, could damage your clothes and machine, with pencils snagging and mercilessly tearing away fabrics during the washing process - thus leaving you with the unfortunate task of shelling out more unnecessary money on engineering bills and uniform replacements.
We highly recommend that you check pockets and sleeves thoroughly before placing such items of clothing into your machine.
Checkout these useful laundry tips
Do you have any tips of your own to add?
Stay subscribed for more hints and tips on this topic.
3. Colour catchers.
You could try introducing these in with your washing; Supposedly designed to eliminate colour washing rules completely.
Watch this short video.
4. Wear An Apron.
Another excellent suggestion for increasing the life-cycle of your children's clothes is to encourage them to wear an apron when helping out in the kitchen, or when participating in craft sessions at school.
Try to see the apron as a small life-time insurance policy against uniform damage. For the cost of one of our PVC aprons at £8.99, you could end up saving in excess of £100.00 over the school year on dry cleaning, repairs and replacements.
Just imagine what you could do with £100.00. It could quite easily finance a school trip, text books and stationery; A special gift even.
Buy yours today and watch the savings quickly increase.
Remember: whatever the theme, the apron always keeps them clean!
5. Avoid tumble drying clothes where at all possible.
Line drying your clothes will not only make them smell fresher, but The sun's ultraviolet rays is a great source of antiseptic which kills bacteria.
Tumble-dried clothes also produce lint and culminates in fabric deterioration and pilling.
Apparently, an average tumble dry cycle uses just over 4kWh of energy and produces around 1.8kg CO2.
If all households with a tumble dryer hung up one load of washing outside each week, we would save over a million tonnes of CO2 in a year.
calling all theatres - classroom clothing for your war drobe
Add a splash of authenticity to your children’s theatrical wardrobe courtesy of our British-made traditional boys school clothing from the small online family schoolwear company with the conscience.
Our rich ensemble of traditional British-made boys formal school garments truly guarantee your cast a character, whether that’s Just William, Jennings or Tom Long out of Tom's Midnight Garden, you can certainly depend on our clothing to create that all-important paragon, with one noteable exception: we don’t do caps.
Take these adjustable waist grey cord shorts. Now these really are the Cloth of Kings. Fully constructed here in Britain from 100% cotton corduroy fabric supplied by Brisbane Moss, (M Chapman & Sons Textiles Ltd) winner of the Queens Award for Industry. This particular style of cord shorts found favour with the BBC in 2017 when we were contacted by Rosalie Tyack from the costume and wardrobe department of the Father Brown set, Selly Oak. It was this that inspired us to widen our marketing brief beyond schools to screen and stage.
Choose from our timeless classic corduroy and worsted wool short trousers, blazers, luxury woolen jumpers and knee-high turnover top socks.
Made for children and not by children, everything is sold new, with over 50% of products manufactured under the All Shorts brand with built-in reinforcements and a life-time guarantee.
It’s really that simple.
Contact us today to get started.
• sample products are supplied on a first come first served basis Subject to availability
I see the stage is almost set; email us now to complete the look!
We're back with some frightfully delightful news concerning changes and special additions we've introduced to our website recently to greatly enhance your user experience while browsing and shopping with us.
Many of these changes and additions include: personal buyer profiles, (customer accounts), new school enquiry form and a revised About Us page complete with internal and external references.
Today, we shall focus on creating your personal buyer account profiles.
They have finally arrived. Yes, they've been 14 months in the making, and now they have at long last become a reality.
Most Ecommerce websites have them and are usually free to create. This said, customers who choose not to create a personal buyer profile with All Shorts, will still have the option of buying as a guest.
Creating a buyer profile has many benefits. It allows you to store information like addresses and credit card numbers for future checkouts, to reorder and save items to shareable wishlists or to save time during future purchases.
To create your All Shorts personal buyer profile, (customer account), , simply click login in on the tool bar to get started.
You'll then be asked to Entre an email address. After you've done this, you'll then be prompted to entre a password.
Latest recommendation: Use a pass phrase. Security experts are now recommending a “pass phrase” rather than simply a password. Length: up to 20 characters - but not usually fewer than 12 - comprising seemingly random words strung together along with numbers, symbols and upper and lower case letters. Try to come up with a memorable phrase, but which you know others couldn’t guess. Avoid using famous quotations
Longer passwords are harder for criminals to crack.
Should you have any questions concerning your personal buyer profile, or you encounter a problem and require assistance, please contact us and we shall do everything we can to help.
We usually respond within the hour during our official hours of operation: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Requests received outside of these times will be handled on the next available working day.
Meanwhile, thank you for creating your very own personal buyer profile with All Shorts; We look forward to welcoming you to our online shop.
Personal Member Pages for trade customers complete with ecommerce.
When will the Government actually wake up and realise the knock-on effect cheap imports are having on #British #manufacturers.
Only last week we learn of the unfortunate demise of Balmoral Knitwear - one of #Ayrshire's long-established manufacturers of some 122 years with the loss of 42 jobs. Yet another huge blow for the British textile industry.
The company said it has been unable to continue due to increased competition from low cost garments sourced offshore, the increasing cost of raw materials and the recent devaluation of the pound.
All Shorts has been selling Balmoral school jumpers for the past couple of years along with fellow competitors John Lewis and Harrods of London.
Fortunately, stock levels for us remain relatively substantial. However, we are already in talks with another British manufacturer; details to be confirmed.
Our thanks to all the staff at Balmoral for their exemplary service and our deepest sympathy to the company's 42 employees who now find themselves without a job and doubtlessly experiencing all the usual crippling uncertainty that comes with unemployment.
Two Caucasian male models required between ages 9-13 years for product photoshoot for All Shorts Limited.
Your child will be modelling Boys' School wear.
Please send in a head and shoulders photo of your child, plus height and waist measurements.
Please send all details and photograph to: email@example.com
Closing date: 7pm Friday 8th March 2018
Photoshoot date: Monday 9th April 1pm
Wrap time: 3pm
Location: Keele Hall
Hourly Fee: £15/hour
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.