Catholic schools issue cautious welcome for new uniform plan

The Catholic Primary Schools Management Association (CPSMA) has issued a cautious welcome to Education Minister Ruairí Quinn’s move to reduce the cost of school uniforms.

CPSMA General Secretary Fr Tom Deenihan told The Irish Catholic he “welcomes any initiative that would reduce the costs of school uniforms for parents”.

However, he added that the decision “should be made at local level, taking into account the schools’ ethos and tradition”.

“It is important that anything that could reduce costs for parents would be considered by school management. Many people including teachers, pupils and parents are proud of their school uniforms and that needs to be respected,” he said.

Fr Deenihan’s comments came after Minister Quinn’s call for schools to ballot parents for their opinions on school uniforms.

Schools which require students to wear uniforms, as well as those thinking of introducing them, will be given a template questionnaire later this month.

The schools will then circulate the questionnaire among parents who will
be asked to decide on the type of uniform – if any – they want for the 2014/15 school year.

Questions will include whether parents want a school uniform or not; if so whether the uniforms should be available in the large retail chains; and whether they want a school crest on garments.

Mr Quinn has said empowering parents to determine school uniform policy was the most effective way to tackle back to school costs.