Written by Alan McIntosh
It’s that time of year, the holidays are nearly over and soon the roads will be filling up with the school runs. Our little darlings will soon be returning excited or taking their first few nervous steps. It’s also that time when we have to start thinking about what they are going to wear. Sometimes, however, that problem can be taken off us where schools have uniform policies.
School uniforms have always been popular in the UK, unlike in other parts of the world, but their popularity has declined from the mid 1960s. Some saw them as badges of authoritarianism which restricted children’s freedom of expression, encouraging children to see their schools as prison, making them want to rebel.
Photo Credit: Dlisbona
Others saw them as an aide to help maintain discipline, cut down peer pressure and something which could help save parents money. They have often been called equalisers in the school playground: rich or poor, children at schools with uniforms all look the same.
But school uniforms have changed a lot over the year, in style and also price. The days when you had to go to certain shops to get the ‘correct’ uniform are also long gone for most schools with generic styles being adopted by many. This change has allowed many large retailers to enter the market and has brought the benefit of falling costs.
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In Asda a girls pinafore can now set you back as little as £5, whilst Tesco’s online site shows them beginning at £10. Gingham dresses in both now start from as little as £4 and sweatshirts and jumpers start at £3. Packs of 2 polo shirts for girls both in Asda and Tesco begin at £2 and jersey trousers in Asda start at £2. Back to School girl cardigans in Tesco are priced at £3, whilst in Asda cardigans its £4.
For boys, a 2 pack of trousers can be bought in Tesco for as little as £5, whilst the price of a single pair costs £3 in Asda. A two pack of white long sleeved shirts costs £3.50 in Asda, whereas a three pack in Tesco begin at only £6.50. Twin strap school shoes also begin at £8 in Asda, whereas two strap shoes in Tesco begin at £14.
Schools governing bodies are responsible for setting school uniforms and cost must be a major factor that they consider when they are setting their policies, so if you have a concern about the cost of your children’s school uniforms, these should be raised with the schools governing bodies.
Local authorities also have a responsibility to assist parents who are financially struggling with the cost of buying school uniforms, although each may have their own eligibility criteria and procedures, but information on their policies should be available from their websites.