Education: School Uniform Working Group minutes - December 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the school uniform working group on 4 December 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Deborah Lynch, Scottish Government (chair)

Maxine Booth, Association of Directors of Education Scotland

Izzie Eriksen, ApparelXchange

Linda Gibson, NASUWT

Alison Herbert, Scottish Council of Independent Schools

Leanne Mcguire, National Parent Forum Scotland

Kelly Munro, Carers’ Trust

Linda O’Neill, CELCIS

Joanna Panese, Scottish Autism

Sara Spencer, Child Poverty Action Group Scotland

Kimberley Wong, Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights

Douglas Forrester, Scottish Government (secretariat)


Andrene Bamford, Educational Institute of Scotland

Mary Cane, YoungScot

Sara McFarlane, Connect

Carol Thorpe, Educational Institute of Scotland

Mark Stevenson, Schoolwear Association

Greg Dempster, Association of Head Teachers and Deputes in Scotland

Matthew Sweeny, COSLA

Tracy Johnston, Education Scotland

Stuart Pescodd, Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The chair welcomed members to the meeting and noted apologies.

Minutes and actions from the previous meeting

The chair noted the minute of the 12 October meeting was shared with the group for comment. No feedback was received, and this note will now be published.

The chair noted the minutes of all meetings up until 12 September have been published on the Scottish Government website. There appears to be an issue with the minutes showing on the working group’s page, however the secretariat is working to fix this.

The chair provided an update on actions. It was noted that the National Parent Forum Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group Scotland and Connect had met to discuss text on positive communication with parents and carers. This has been incorporated into the latest version of the guidance. 

Action: Secretariat will publish the note of 12 October meeting and ensure all meeting notes appear on the working group page.

Discussion on updated guidance

The chair noted that she had circulated the latest draft version of the guidance in advance of the meeting. Some comments have already been received. The majority of those suggested minor amendments. The chair asked that any additional comments are shared with her by 12 December. A final draft will be shared with the group early in the new year. This will show changes in track to highlight any changes.

Action: additional comments on the guidance to be shared with the chair by 12 December. A final draft of the guidance will be shared in the new year.

Summary framework

The chair noted Dr Rachel Shanks from the University of Aberdeen and colleagues have developed a framework for action on school uniform. The chair and NASUWT met with Dr Shanks to discuss aligning this framework to the guidance and incorporating it into the summary as a visual to support understanding. This could also be used to support development of the resource for parents and carers, and children and young people. The chair and NASUWT will continue to engage on the development of the summary and keep the group updated on progress.

Good practice

The chair asked the group to share examples of good practice in relation to school uniform which could be included in the guidance. It was noted that some examples have already been shared. These mainly focus on affordability and sustainability and examples related to equality and diversity would be especially welcome.

Action: group to share examples of good practice with chair by 12 December.

Draft guidance

The chair noted that a copy of the draft guidance had been shared with others, including Dr Shanks, the Cabinet Secretary and Mr Greer and they have been given the opportunity to provide feedback. This will be considered and incorporated, as appropriate, into the final draft of the guidance to be shared with the group.

The following points were raised in discussion.


  • the guidance should make clear that risk assessments regarding footwear for physical education should be undertaken for specific activities. The chair will engage with Education Scotland on this point.
  • members discussed whether pupils who wear head coverings were being asked to purchase those in school colours. The group noted that they were not aware of this specific issue. However, there were other examples of schools being prescriptive generally about clothing and accessories.


  • the chair noted that the structure and order of the guidance was unchanged. However, the introductory text of the key considerations section has been updated to try to make clear that the 3 issues should be considered equally. The summary will also reflect this. The group were asked to confirm to the chair by correspondence if they are content with the order of the key consideration or if they a strong preference for the structure to changed.
  • the formatting of the guidance should make clear where new sections begin. The chair will consider this, in line with Scottish Government publishing and accessibility standards.

Action: group to confirm by correspondence by 12 December, if they are content with the order of the guidance or if they would prefer it is changed.


  • there are lessons to be learned from the implementation of guidance on school uniform in England and Wales. It was noted that communication and engagement are key. Opportunities to support implementation, such as targeted communication, workshops, webinars, etc. should be explored.

Development of guidance for parents, carers and children and young people

The chair advised the group that work continued to develop a resource for parents and carers, and children and young people. Drafts will be shared with the sub-group for consideration initially. It was noted that these resources should be user-friendly and communicate key messaged from the guidance. It remains the intention that these will be published alongside the main guidance.

Next steps

The chair indicated that once all comments have been received, these will be considered, and relevant updates made to the guidance. A final draft of the guidance will be shared with the group in mid-January. Once the group are content with the final draft, it will be cleared internally before being shared with the Cabinet Secretary and Mr Greer. The target date for publication remains Spring 2024.

Date of next meeting

The chair indicated that if it is necessary to meet again, a doodle poll will be circulated to consider availability. 

The chair thanked members for their continuing collaboration on this work. It was noted that working group meetings have provided valuable opportunities for open discussion to support development of the guidance.

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