Uniform United: Haberdashers’ Slade Green Primary pupils lead sustainable movement
In a ground-breaking initiative called Uniform United, pupils at Haberdashers’ Slade Green Primary are spearheading a sustainable culture-changing movement.
What started as a social action project by Year 5 pupils in a Junior Dragon’s Den competition in June between the five primary schools in our Trust and led by Envision, Uniform United thoroughly impressed judges at the Dragon’s Den competition enough to win, not only by addressing the financial challenges faced by families in affording school uniforms but also by championing sustainability and community welfare.
The heart of Uniform United’s initiative lies in promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, ensuring every child, regardless of background, has access to a complete, well-fitting school uniform.
The group have actively engaged with parents at the school gates to ask for uniform donations, posted adverts in the school newsletter and social media and orchestrated a successful ‘Year 6 Donation Day’ – the last day for Year 6 leavers, who were allowed to wear their own clothes to school if they donated unneeded uniform, before starting their secondary school journeys.
I can see that we are not only creating a legacy but an environment where it's the norm for families to collect free uniform and I'm so proud to have been one of the founders of this initiative.
- Jola, Head Pupil, Year 6
Uniform United has had an impact on lots of our families. Every child now has access to free school uniform making our school an even more inclusive environment.
- Adriel, Head Pupil, Year 6
What sets Uniform United apart is their commitment to the three Rs – Rescue, Repair and Recycle. Not content with merely collecting outgrown uniforms, the group organised swap shops, distributing over 200 pieces of uniform in the first event alone. Recognising that many families discarded uniforms due to minor issues like missing buttons or hems, Uniform United not only learned to sew but convinced the school to incorporate basic sewing skills into the curriculum – connecting pupils with the Haberdashery traditions and roots of the Haberdashers’ Company, our main sponsor.
Their triumph in the Dragon’s Den competition is commendable, but the true victory lies in the lasting cultural shift at Haberdashers’ Slade Green Primary. With new families joining the school in September, many were provided with full sets of uniform at the latest swap shop event.
Jan Mintram, Principal at Haberdashers’ Slade Green Primary, said:
The children's hard work and effort led to them winning a Dragon's Den 'social action' competition but more importantly has developed a culture within the school where it has become the norm to rescue, repair and recycle school uniform, reducing the financial burden on families whilst breaking down the stigma of wearing second hand uniform and tackling environmental challenges for a more sustainable future.
Uniform United exemplifies how young minds, driven by a sense of community and environmental responsibility, can lead transformative change.
Mr Cojan, a parent of children in Nursery and Year 4 stated:
The uniform swap shop is an amazing idea, please keep it up! It helps parents to keep the costs down and recycle uniforms, thus caring for the environment.
With other Trust schools contributing with uniform donations, the project is not only an integral part of Slade Green Primary’s ethos, showcasing the power of social action, it has inspired us all to think about our commitment to a better, more sustainable future.
Watch Uniform United's Primary Dragon's Den winning presentation