Every September when the new school year comes around there’s always a bit of controversy that comes with it. School uniforms.

Whether a school decides to change their school uniform or tighten the rules on what can and can’t be worn, it’s something which can bring issues to school staff, parents and pupils.

Following several reports of confusion and controversy at schools across Gwent regarding uniform, Alice Rose looks at the positives and negatives behind uniform policies.

The UK is a place where strict uniform policies are mainly seen in secondary or comprehensive schools and sixth forms, and there have been many stories and articles about pupils or parents who are angry with the rules.

This leads to one question – are school uniform policies necessary or not?

John Kendall, head teacher at Risca Community Comprehensive School, said that he believes a uniform is important for schools, but that everyone in the school community needs to agree before it is given the go ahead.

Mr Kendall said: “I think the first thing about uniforms is that there needs to be a community decision.

“Uniform is a tricky thing and whatever the policy may be it isn’t always liked.

“It is important that the community helps to make the decision as well as the school, that’s what it should be.”

However, Mr Kendall also believes that communication is key to implementing a school uniform, and said that if a school doesn’t properly communicate then that can lead to further issues during the term or year.

“Communication is crucial, it needs to be done so everyone knows what can and can’t be worn and it needs to clear,” he said.

“It’s quite a simple thing really and I don’t think there should be a problem,” he added.

But can wearing a uniform lead to possible bullying or problems at school because of what children have to wear? A children's charity said that uniforms could cause problems for children, whether the policy is relaxed or strict, but equally, non-uniform could cause problems as well.

Body image was one of the main things that children have rang up to speak about, but bullying was also an issue with uniform too.

An NSPCC Cymru spokesman said: “Problems in school and bullying are two major concerns raised by children and young people contacting ChildLine over the last year. Between them, more than 40,000 counselling sessions were carried out by the children’s helpline in 2015/16 as they made up 14 per cent of all contacts across the UK.

“Over the last few years we have also seen a significant number of boys and girls contacting ChildLine and telling us how they have been made to feel bad about their own body image. This can include what they wear, their appearance and the pressures of social media.

“If a child was being bullied because they were wearing their own clothes or school uniform we would encourage them to tell someone what was happening. Every child should be allowed to grow up without suffering from all forms of abuse."

The main concern for parents however was that certain schools with strict uniform policies may turn the attention away from children's learning.

Emma Huws, whose daughter Georgia Bradbury was sent home with a uniform infringement sticker from Chepstow School because of the soles of her shoes, said she understands uniform policies, but believes any policy should not take the forefront over learning.

Ms Huws said: "I think the school should be inspiring learning and I don't see what students are learning if they are being told off over their uniform or are being placed in isolation.

"It's fine if the policy states exactly what the school uniform should be but it has to be specific and it has to be detailed and sent in advance to parents."

Even though strict uniform policies can be seen as difficult or can be unclear, in some schools, pupils have actually wanted a more formal uniform policy. One school that implemented this was Risca Community Comprehensive, and head teacher John Kendal said when he first arrived at the school pupils wore polo shirts.

He said: “In 2009 I came to the school and it had a uniform with a polo shirt.

“After being there a while people kept asking me if I was going to change the uniform. At first I thought that people were worried and didn’t want me to change it, but then I realised they did want me to change it, they wanted a more formal uniform.”

The school currently has a uniform of a shirt and tie with black trousers or skirts and shoes for its pupils, which Mr Kendall said he is proud of as it was a joint decision of the community and the school.

“It’s not only about it being a decision for everyone, it’s useful for the pupils in later life too and sets an example for them,” he said.

“I think any sort of corporation has to have a uniform, and wearing a set uniform now prepares the children for that as well.”

At the moment, the school is currently ordering in special ties that match the ones pupils wore when the school was first opened in 1977 to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year.