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Gravesend shop owner brands headteacher 'Hitler' in uniform supply row
A GRAVESEND shop owner has compared a school headteacher to Hitler for stopping him from selling its uniform.
Dilip Ahluwalia, 56, runs the Gravesend School Uniform Centre and says Mayfield Grammar School won’t let him sell to parents as it has favoured shops which pay donations to the school.
This is despite their products being more expensive for parents, according to Mr Ahluwalia .
He cites a recent speech by government education minister David Laws calling on schools to make uniforms as cheap as possible for cash-strapped families by allowing more competition between suppliers.
The shop in Barrack Row is running a campaign to get schools like Mayfield to relax their restrictions and stop "ripping off parents", according to its owner.
Mr Ahluwalia told News Shopper: "The headteachers are Hitlers. They call it donations: I call it backhanders. They are ripping parents off.
"The parents are doing the walking and talking and coming to me.
"I can get the same stuff from the wholesalers and sell it on with only a £3 mark-up for the embroidery.
"Competition is healthy for business and healthy for the parents.
"I want to get together with the schools and suppliers and thrash it out but the headmistress of Mayfield won’t even come on the phone."
Mr Ahluwalia claims he can undercut Mayfield’s existing suppliers on every item including tartan skirts for £22.99 compared to £28.99 charged by the regular supplier.
He added: "They are not going to stop me this time: I am going to take it to the end.
"Every parent in Gravesend should be able to choose where they go to buy their uniform."
The row comes just two weeks after 30 pupils were sent home on the first day of the new Ebbsfleet Academy first for violating the school's tough new uniform policy.
Mayfield Grammar School headteacher Elaine Wilson defended the school’s decision to ban Gravesend School Uniform Centre from selling its uniform.
She said: "The school regularly reviews the quality and price of its school uniform to ensure best value for parents.
"The school is an integral part of Gravesham community and supports the local economy - all three of our current suppliers are local businesses.
"The school complies with Department of Education guidelines in regard to uniform and has no plans to increase the number of school uniform suppliers at this time.
"We have written to Mr Ahluwalia and informed him of our decision."
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