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Introducing New School Uniforms


This can be a daunting task and often requires a focussed and determined effort by the BOT. 

The following info is based on our experience with schools who have implemented a school uniform successfully.

It is in our interest as a company to provide the following info.

The reality is that every school is going to have its uniform detractors. They are usually in a small minority and will try and force home their own agenda. Sadly this may include, threats of legal action, letters to the local newspaper, mobilizing the community etc.

For many BOT or school uniform committees this type of confrontation often leads to dismissing the idea as it becomes too difficult.

The most important thing in the school uniform process is to understand the procedure and the law regarding school uniforms.

Get acquainted with the latest publication from the Commerce Commission regarding school uniforms.

Understand the law regarding school uniforms. Get independent legal advice if you need to or go to the NZPLC website (New Zealand principals and leadership centre) and do a search on school uniforms. This website provides legal literacy to principals, board members etc.

Click here to read legal commentary on school uniforms from the NZPLC.

The following insert is the crux of the legal paper provided by NZPLC  

The courts are not likely to disturb the rationale of a Board for introducing or maintaining a uniform nor is it likely that a court would find that a Board did not have the legal authority to establish a uniform.

The legal challenge is likely to be mounted on the method or process used to introduce the uniform.


Basic guidelines

The BOT needs to conduct a survey that is simple and to the point.

The response rate is critical to implementation. According to schools who have been through this process a 70 to 75% response rate is considered a successful response.  60% in favor of a uniform could still be considered acceptable. If the opposition to uniform is particularly vocal and a small group has the potential to divide the community then a 70% in favor is going to give the BOT more leverage in the process.

It is important to get the teachers behind the survey to ensure the required response rate.  An incentive to respond is a good idea.

The most important thing is to get advice, consult with other schools that have been through the process.

Make sure the process is robust.


The BOT needs to put together a uniform committee that represents the community.

Ideally the uniform committee should consist of a member from the board, a teacher, a senior member of the teaching staff (deputy or principal) and two or three parents.

The reality of the process is that the whole community cannot decide on all the styles and the colors as this leads to chaos. The BOT has been democratically elected by the community to make decisions for and on behalf of the school. If the uniform committee has representation from the community then their decisions on the uniform are valid.

The committee must provide first provide direction, choose the supplier and the uniform and then make that choice available to the greater community for comment.


When it comes to choosing a supplier there are many things to consider. The reality is that most suppliers can all supply the same product. What it comes down to is the total package.

The following steps should be considered.

·         Call up 3 suppliers, give them a brief on colors styles etc, set up a meeting, and ask them to present samples.

·         After the meetings you should get a good idea of what products are out there and how much they cost. At this stage you may wish to eliminate one supplier from the process.

·         Decide on the styles that you like and get each supplier to quote on the same or similar styles.  If a supplier can not supply a specific style then get them to quote on a similar style. Remember a price or price list is not the same as a quote. A quote is the total package. A price list could mean the price of buying one item. Don’t just request a price list as you will be uninformed.

·          Based on the final quote, ask each supplier to do a final presentation to the school uniform committee or the BOT. This allows for a good question and answer session before making a final decision.

·         Choose a supplier based on the total package, the benefits to the school and the community. When choosing a supplier it must be subject to a condition that the community approves the uniform and the price package. Set up a space to view the uniform and send out pictures and proposed prices

·         If there are issues regarding styles and prices give the chosen supplier an option to respond.

·         If the supplier cannot respond accordingly go back to the community and outline their options. Or even better set up a meeting with the supplier and the community for a question and answer session. Transparency is paramount sometimes the community does not have the big picture and more explanation is required.

·          Remember you cannot please every one and it might mean making a call that a few people are unhappy with. The important thing is that you followed procedure.

·         At this stage you may also decide to get more quotes, delay the process, or throw out the concept of school uniform.

Choosing one supplier does have its merits.

·         One point of contact

·         Bigger incentives to the school

·         Quality control

If the school has a fully operational retail outlet with a dedicated operator then using more than one supplier is an option.

For any school, the fear of being locked into high prices or even low prices and bad quality over a long period of time is a concern.

References are important – call and check.

Call up few schools and ask a few questions about product, price and service.

If you require more information, contact us.
Ph. (09) 4269797