A MUM from Altrincham is speaking out against the cost of uniform as schools reopen across the borough.

Louise Bird, whose daughter is starting at Altrincham College on Monday, was shocked at the cost of branded items deemed 'compulsory' at the school.

Only available at two shops – Monkhouse in Altrincham and Petites Modes in Sale – the branded items come to a total of £171.75, according to Louise.

Louise sought similar, unbranded items at high street shops and supermarkets, finding them for around £60.

She said: "I'm used to buying uniform for primary school, so when I went into the shop I had a rough idea, but I thought, 'this is costing me a fortune'.

"The stuff isn't very good quality. It costs more than double, but it's no better quality than in the supermarket."

She added: "You can't shop around. The price is what it is.

"When you get into these shops, it's unbelievable, really. It wasn't like that when I went to school. It seems like a bit of a money-making scam to me."

Louise shared these findings with the school's head and governors, as well as Altrincham's MP Sir Graham Brady, Minister of State for School Standards Nick Gibb MP and Mike Amesbury MP.

Mr Amesbury was responsible for a bill passed in the spring intended to limit the cost of uniform via guidance issued to schools by the Government, but this guidance is not due until the autumn.

Louise's email to the school and the MPs said: "Whilst I know Altrincham College is not an outlier amongst Trafford schools, it is not right that parents have to bear this cost, particularly given the financial impact of Covid-19 on families in the north west.

"The cost of uniforms will be hitting the poorest families the hardest, creating a barrier to accessing the best possible education."

She asked Altrincham College and other schools to review their uniform requirements, making it easier to get items on the high street or second hand.

She thinks a branded blazer and tie is 'reasonable', as well as a branded polo shirt for PE, but the rest of the items are 'completely over the top'.

Responding to Louise's suggestions, headteacher Kim Earle told The Messenger Altrincham College is looking into giving its parents more choice.

She said: "Our school, like other schools, is currently investigating a wider range of uniform suppliers to give parents and carers more choice about where to shop.

"We have always had nearly new uniform on offer to families who would like it – this is free of charge.

"However, since the pandemic, we have been unable to collect many items for health and safety reasons and also a lack of storage space with major building work happening on our school site.

"Like most schools, we have written to parents and carers to ask for unwanted uniform in good repair which can be passed on to current students."