2010 March 5

If you’ve had to buy new school uniform items this year, you may be dreading the arrival of the spring and the demanded for new PE kit becuase it’s getting to be an expensive business!

Uniform is good for children’s sense of community and for ensuring equality between those who have a lot of disposable income and fashion sense, and those who lack one or the other, or both. But it’s not a cheap option, whether you’re buying in a high street store, via the school’s own shop, or even shopping online. And if you have a child who is already in adult sizes, as many thirteen year olds and up are, these days, you also end up paying VAT on their ‘children’s’ clothing.

There are some ways to save money if you’re canny:

1.    Ask the school to consider wholesalers who can produce small orders (say under fifty items) of essential uniform clothing in larger sizes – this might be embroidered polo shirts or logo-printed sweatshirts, which can then be sold to parents whose children are classed as ‘outsize’ by other suppliers.

2.    Consider swap shops for outgrown clothing – often a PTA committee can be organised to set up exchanges of informal jackets worn for school events held in public or specialist clothing like cricket togs, which are swiftly outgrown and yet still wearable by a smaller student, perhaps in a lower year.

3.    Request that essential items such as white T-shirts worn for PE and sporting activities be non-branded – this means you can buy the cheapest available, or even persuade the school shop to bulk buy them for you. The school logo could be kept for items like kitbags that are not going to be outgrown, and still give a sense of uniform when children are taking part in outdoor events.

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