School’s ‘Nike only’ PE kit policy sparks parental ire

A secondary school has been accused by parents of creating a culture of materialism and bullying after it introduced a Nike-only rule for pupils’ sports kits.

Parents and marketing experts have lashed out at the governors of Shevington High School, Wigan, after children were informed they could only buy Nike-branded sportswear as new clothing for PE lessons.

One parent claims the ruling “encourages materialism and bullying”, while consultant psychologist Dr Aric Sigman believes it could promote stealing among youngsters whose families cannot afford the apparel.

Sigman says/ “Nike is a great sports brand, but the school has chosen a brand synonymous with US globalisation. It’s a message to children that greed is good.

“It’s unethical and immoral that a school is embracing a logo-centric society, in the one place that should be a haven from branded activity.”

Some parents have complained they cannot buy the kit at the same price as non-branded sportswear. The school’s headteacher Helen Mackenzie is reported as saying: “A polished, professional PE uniform was agreed by the school council… to raise standards and improve learning.” She adds that the cost of the kit was taken into consideration.

There is widespread debate over how much marketing and branding should be allowed in schools. Education secretary Ruth Kelly has imposed a ban on the in-school sale of branded goods, but one comprehensive has set up its own marketing services agency to create partnership and sponsorship deals (MW November 3).

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