Secondary School Uniforms in Isle of Man Schools

Closed 16 Feb 2023

Opened 16 Jan 2023

Feedback updated 30 Aug 2023

We asked

We asked for your opinions on the principles of secondary schools uniforms in Isle of Man schools to inform a review of the current uniform policies that are in place.

School uniform is a key element in promoting the ethos of a school, providing a sense of belonging and identity and setting an appropriate tone for an education setting. It is acknowledged to deliver important benefits to students, schools, families and the wider community.

By creating a common identity amongst all pupils, regardless of background, a uniform can offer many benefits, some of which include:

  • Improved concentration and orderliness in the school environment
  • Acting as a social leveller
  • Promoting equality and a sense of togetherness
  • Helping to identify students outside of the school site
  • Highlighting people on school sites who should not be there
  • Promoting pride and belonging for students in their school and local community

Schools work hard to maintain high standards in compliance with their published uniform requirements, helping all stakeholders understand what is expected from students and as a result encouraging and supporting the benefits a uniform offers.

You said

A public consultation was open for four weeks in January and February 2023. A total of 1,162 responses were received, with 1,044 identified as key stakeholders. Included in the respondents were teachers, students, parents and uniform providers.

50% of respondents stated that uniform ‘could be made more cost effective’.

50% of respondents stated that uniforms ensure students are not singled out because of what they are wearing.

In answering the question ‘what role does school uniform have in the ethos and culture of schools’:

  • 62% of respondents stated it shows students as representatives of the school in the community
  • 50% of respondents stated it fosters a sense of belonging
  • 50% of respondents stated it allows a predictable selection of clothing for students who may find this stressful

When considering costs, 60% of respondents stated that the number of branded items in a school PE kit should be minimised. The full consultation results have been uploaded and can be viewed on the 'files' section below.

We did

Following review of the consultation results, no change to the existing Department’s School Uniform Policy Guidance from July 2021 are considered necessary.

Individual schools set their own Uniform Policy, in line with the guidance issued by the Department.

The consultation results have been reviewed and considered by all Secondary School Headteachers. Please find in the 'files' section below a summary of planned changes to the school uniform, to be implemented in the academic year commencing in September 2024 (subject to approval by the schools’ Governing Body).

Opinions on school uniform and the appropriateness of the questions to be asked as part of the consultation were sought from school leaders and student focus groups. The points below came out as part of this research and may be of benefit to interested parties:

  • Schools would like parents/carers to know that they are happy to be approached if concerns arise about the acquisition of uniform. In the past, schools have been able to donate new and/or pre-worn uniform/footwear to families in their communities who are unable to acquire items for whatever reason
  • Families can apply to the Department for uniform assistance from the available educational endowment provided by a benefactor – more information and an application form is available from the DESC's homepage under downloadable documents
  • Schools referenced parents/carers raising concerns about the cost involved in replacing items of lost uniform. Schools seldom experience items going missing permanently, but each school is left with a considerable volume of unnamed lost property each academic year. When lost items are clearly labelled with the student’s name, they are often quickly returned to the owner
  • Lost items that cannot be returned to their owner are kept for an appropriate length of time by schools and may be donated to other families if not claimed
  • PE departments have a stock of items that they lend, or sometimes donate, to students who may not have access to the required items for lessons


The Isle of Man Government has committed to consulting the public with a view to introducing guidance, where possible or required, to the Island’s secondary schools to inform their school uniform policies. Head teachers, together with their governing bodies, set the uniform policy and guidelines in each school. 

Any guidance resulting from this consultation would aim to address any potential parity issues around secondary school uniform, where possible and practicable to do so. It would also seek to minimise the cost of school uniform, if feasible, in order that accessing the required items does not become a barrier to participation in learning.

The consultation seeks views on:

  • What should be included within the scope of the guidance
  • The role that school uniform plays within the ethos, culture and day to day social life
  • The considerations available to schools and the Department of Education, Sport and Culture in minimising school uniform costs, where possible

The draft principles which are intended to be incorporated as part of the school uniform policy.

Why your views matter

The consultation is open to anyone with an interest in secondary school uniform policy, but especially secondary school students, parents and carers, teachers, other education professionals and those who provide school uniform items.

In addition, we have made arrangements to specifically seek the views of children and young people on school uniform policy. These views will be considered, together with the findings of this consultation, to inform future policy and guidance development.

It is envisaged that the guidance will inform secondary schools’ policies.

It is not intended that school uniform on the Isle of Man will be abolished. Therefore, that is not within the scope of the consultation.

How to respond

You can respond online by clicking on the 'Online Survey' link below, by email to Rachel Birch at or in writing to:

Legislation, Policy and Research Manager
Department of Education, Sport and Culture
Thie Slieau Whallian
St John’s
Isle of Man

What happens next

The results will be considered and used to inform an update to the existing school uniform policy as appropriate.


  • All Areas


  • Students
  • Children & young people
  • Parents, carers and & guardians


  • Education 16-19
  • Early years & primary education
  • Secondary education