If your child is starting school this September it may seem far too early to be thinking about buying school uniform. After all, there is a whole summer ahead of us before we even need to think about school.
However, as early as it may seem, it is worth considering buying school uniform from now. By August most high street stores will have moved on from selling school uniform to Autumn/Winter ranges and even Christmas stuff! Plus some places may have sold out of certain items or sizes by the end of the summer and you don’t want to be among the throng of parents trying to get things last minute.
So now we have covered when to buy, let’s look at a few more top tips for buying school uniform.
What to buy
Your child’s school will give you a list of the uniform your child will need. They will also tell you if items need to be official school garments, with the school badge on, which need to be bought through school or an official uniform shop. Or if they can be generic garments which means you can buy them in many high street stores and online.
Usual items for the school uniform include:
- Jumpers, cardigans, sweatshirts
- Polo shirts, shirts
- Boys: trousers, shorts
- Girls: trousers, skirts, pinafores, summer dresses
- Socks, tights
- PE kit – plimsolls, t-shirts, shorts
Additional items for your school might include book bag, PE bag, tie, school coat, hat, blazer, lunch box or bag, water bottle.
Where to buy
This depends on your school’s uniform rules. If all items have to be official school uniform then you will probably be limited to one or two uniform shops and buying through school.
However, if garments can be generic then there are plenty of places to buy, both on the high street and online, and it can pay to shop around. Most department stores and major high street stores sell uniform. Another good place to try is your local supermarket – most of the main supermarkets sell uniform, usually at very reasonable prices.
How much to buy
How much uniform to buy is always a bit of a tricky question to answer. It depends on how often you want to wash uniform. For example, if you only do a wash once a week you might need five school jumpers, but if you put the washing machine on twice a week, then three will suffice.
You will only need one set of PE kit, as in most primary schools they will only use this once or twice a week.
Try to buy garments that have room for growth – you don’t want to buy a whole set of uniform and then replace it within a few months because your child has grown. Many school skirts and trousers have adjustable waistbands so they can be adjusted as your child grows.
If, after starting school, you realise that you haven’t bought enough uniform then don’t panic! Uniform is available all year round, even if it’s not physically in stores it is usually available online or through your school, so you can always buy more during the term.
Starting to buy school uniform now means you can spread the cost over the next few months – maybe buy a few things this month, and then more next month and last minute things at the end of the summer.
Some schools offer second hand uniform so this could be a way of reducing the cost of items, particularly ones that are branded with the school badge that can be quite expensive and only on sale through the school or certain suppliers.
Supermarkets are an ideal place to buy plain uniform pieces – they offer great value packs of shirts, trousers, skirts and socks and will often have plain coloured jumpers and cardigans to match the colour you need.
Also, look out for offers on school uniform. Some high street shops and supermarkets will have discount periods of 20% off or 25% off school uniform and clothing over the next few months so keep an eye out so you don’t miss the offer times.
If your family income is low, you might be able to get some help to pay for uniform. Your school may well provide a school uniform grant – contact your school to find out if they do. Some local councils provide help with the cost of school clothing – to find out if you are eligible in your area go to https://www.gov.uk/help-school-clothing-costs
It is important to get school shoes fitted by an experienced fitter. Your child will be wearing them every day so they will need to fit properly with some room for growth.
For ease and speed, it is a good idea to get school shoes with Velcro fastenings as they are easier than laces for a small child to cope with.
Let your child wear their new shoes for a few days before starting school so they can get used to how they feel and can learn how to put then on and take them off properly – they will need to get change at school for PE by themselves so will need to be able to put their on shoes on.
Yes, you do need to label EVERYTHING! At least 30 children in your child’s class will be wearing exactly the same as your child so it’s important to label all of your child’s school things, including socks and things like lunch boxes, bags, gloves, hats and scarves.
There are a variety of labelling options:
- Sew-on name labels – woven name tags are long-lasting but do take time to sew on every item.
- Iron-on name labels – quicker to put on than sew-on labels but don’t always last as long.
- Laundry pen – simply writing on your child’s name with a pen is the easiest and quickest option. However, if you just use a biro then it will wash out. You can get special laundry markers which will last or use a permanent marker. Many school clothes, even some socks, have a space on the label to write names.
- Stickers or stamps – you can buy sticky name labels and name stamps. Search online for products which might work for you.
It can take time to label everything but it is worth the effort. You don’t want to lose items, especially when you have spent a lot of money on uniform.
Once you have bought all the school uniform it’s a good idea to get your child to practice putting it on and taking it off. Show them where their name is labelled in it so they know where to look to check things are theirs. And don’t forget to take time for that ‘tear in the eye’ moment of seeing your child in their brand new uniform for the first time – a memory that all parents of school-aged children have.
Early Learning Furniture is a supplier of school furniture and resources for early year’s education in primary schools, nurseries, pre-schools and playgroups. For more information on our products please contact us or call our sales team on 01733 511121.