All school uniforms across Wales are to become gender-neutral, the Welsh Government has announced.

From September 1, parents will no longer be encouraged to buy gender-specific items as the Welsh Government seeks to tackle the rise of school uniform costs.

The statutory guidance issued by the Department for Education reveals that Welsh state schools will have to change their uniform codes. This includes no exclusive deals that force parents to buy from a single supplier, uniform items to be widely available and expensive designs avoided.

Kirsty Williams, the Welsh Minister for Education, stated that "families will know how expensive new uniforms can be, this guidance puts a statutory responsibility on schools to consider the affordability, access and availability when setting their school uniform and appearance policy".

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"Along with PDG Access, this guidance will help reduce the burden on families, so our children can focus on fulfilling their potential and enjoying a healthy academic and social life.

"We should not be enforcing outdated ideas of what clothes are suitable for their gender, especially if it makes them wear something they feel uncomfortable wearing.

"This new guidance makes clear that school uniform policies should not dictate items of clothing based on gender."

British governing bodies will also be expected to consider ways of decreasing uniform costs which currently set families back around $523 a year.

This new rule also means that state schools can no longer have separate uniforms for boys and girls so children can pick any item they would prefer to wear, reports the Sun.

From September 1, school students will be able to choose if they want to wear a skirt or pants. Photo / Getty Images
From September 1, school students will be able to choose if they want to wear a skirt or pants. Photo / Getty Images

The government's decision came after a discussion after the last summer heatwave in which some parents protested that uniform policies were too strict.

During the discussion, respondents backed the introduction of gender-neutral uniforms.

"This should include the choice for all children as to whether they wear trousers or skirts, regardless of their gender assignment or sexuality," one wrote.

Another said, "The practicality of having a uniform policy that prescribes only gender-neutral garments would be difficult to fulfill. However, having a policy that allows children to wear any garments that form a part of the uniform policy should be allowed and encouraged."