Back-to-school uniforms are costly

Back-to-school uniforms are costly

Children going back to school after the summer holidays is a relief for most parents, but when it comes to buying new uniforms for the kids this isn't so much of a warm welcome.

A new study carried out by Family Action have revealed that parents spend hundreds of pounds on basic necessities for their children when starting back at school.

Parents of secondary school teenagers will be set back £285 and if your child is at primary school then this will be £156 for materials such as bags, coats and the full uniform.

That means families on the poverty line are expected to spend up to two fifths of their August income on back-to-school costs as schools make punishing demands on cash-strapped parents.

Items that some schools are requiring parents to buy for their children include £98 coats, £89 blazers, £38 rugby shirts and £27 jumpers.

Single parents and 30% of couples are hit the hardest when purchasing the new-term uniform with nearly 40% of the monthly net income, after housing costs, being spent on this essential buy. According to The Family Action survey or 13 schools a Family with one child at secondary school and one at primary school buying a range of items will spend an astonishingly £441 over the summer.

Family Action, which provides services and support for disadvantaged families, is now calling on schools to scrap specially branded school uniforms entirely and let parents shop around for plain, standard clothing from a retailer of their choice. In place of branded items, schools should introduce sew-on badges, sold separately and at cost price.

David Holmes, Chief Executive of Family Action, said:

“This report shows that the cost of sending children back to school every September is becoming prohibitive for many families on low incomes. It’s not just the case of a badge and a jumper – these days schools expect blazers, summer and winter uniforms, and branded sportswear. We’ve even seen cases of aprons, boater hats and iPads being demanded. With local authority grants schemes offering only patchy financial support, parents are left to make very difficult choices about what items they can afford and what they have to sacrifice."

He added:"The fairest solution is to change the whole way we approach school uniforms. Let families buy good value plain clothes from a supermarket and add a school logo to them later.”

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