New uniforms will cost academy £25K

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A FORMER headteacher has said he is amazed the new Holbeach academy will spend more than £25,000 to provide new uniforms for its students.

Parents of children who will be attending the new University Academy Holbeach from September are currently awaiting delivery of the new black badged blazer, black v-neck jumper and tie, which make up part of a smart new look for the school which comes into being at the start of the school year as the result of a merger between the George Farmer Technology and Language College and St Guthlac School, Crowland.

Year seven students will be expected to pay a contribution of just £10, while the uniform will be free for everyone else up to year 11. All those in Key Stage 3 will also receive a free PE kit of shorts, polo shirt, socks and rugby shirt.

The new academy will have about 1,000 pupils in years seven to 11.

But David Stevens, of Holbeach, who was formerly a headteacher in Norfolk, has hit out at the move, saying: “How can this profligate expenditure be justified in a time of economic recession?

“It is always easier to spend other people’s money than your own.

“Once again we see the triumph of show over substance. Free blazers don’t raise standards, but I estimate the cost of this will be around £25,000.

“This is money that would have been better spent on more teaching staff or equipment.

“I am a believer in school uniform and accept it helps to give a corporate unity to a school, but not at the public expense.”

Chairman of governors Chris Penney said he believed the cost would be greater than the £25,000 estimated by Mr Stevens, but defended the move, saying the school has been given an allowance per pupil from the Department for Education as part of its academy package.

He said: “It is a process endorsed by the Government. We get an allowance per child and we have chosen to spend it on changing the uniform.”