Purchasing brand new school uniforms and replacing old and outgrown items, such as sweatshirts and PE kits, is expensive.
If you’re worried about finding the cash to cover school uniforms, then there may be financial support available to you, plus there are lots of clever ways to cut down on uniform costs.
In this instalment of the Cash Emergency Bible, CashLady looks at what you could do if you can’t afford school uniforms.
Your school’s school uniform policy
Your options when it comes to purchasing school uniform depend largely on the specific uniform policy at your children’s school.
In recent years the Government has faced pressure from parents to make school uniforms more affordable.
It has issued guidance that when setting their uniform policies, schools should keep costs to a minimum and be affordable for everyone.
Despite this, many schools still insist on branded clothing in specific colours or items bought from specialist suppliers.
Others, meanwhile, are more flexible, allowing parents to pick up lower-cost generic items in high street stores and supermarkets.
Check the school uniform policy
Check the details of the school uniform policy before purchasing any items and clarify whether non-school branded items are acceptable.
When you are on a low income and can’t afford school uniform
If you are on a low income and don’t have enough money to cover school uniform, then financial support may be available to you.
You’re probably on a low income if you get benefits such as tax credits or Universal Credit.
Contact your child’s school
In the first instance, you should speak to your child’s school about what support is available when you can’t afford the uniform.
They may help you with funding, such as accessing a grant from your local council or point you in the direction of a supplier who sells second-hand items of clothing.
Many local food banks now provide items of school uniform and so the school might provide further information or contact details.
Contact your local education authority (LEA)
Your local education authority is the council that deals with education where you live.
If you aren’t sure which one applies to you then have a look at the government website.
Like, your child’s school, your local education authority can provide information about how to apply for financial assistance and where to find it.
Saving money on school uniform costs
There are various ways to make items of school uniform work harder and last longer, which will save you money in the long run.
Children play hard and so investing in more durable items will save you having to replace them too frequently.
Invest in quality footwear
Paying a bit more for real leather school shoes from a shoe shop instead of the supermarket could save you having to replace them after one term.
Cover shoes in protection spray to keep them sealed in the wet. You can pick this up in most shoe shops and some supermarkets.
Choose bigger sizes
Kids grow quickly, so when shopping for school uniform chose items of clothing in a larger size.
They will soon grow into the bigger size and it will save you having to repurchase the same items again within a couple of months.
Label your child’s uniform
Replacing lost items of school uniform can soon add up, so putting tags on kid’s school trousers, shirts, sweatshirts etc helps ensure they don’t accidentally go home in another child’s school bag.
Tag them with surname only and then these items are easily passed down to younger siblings without having to replace the labels.
Hit the shops at the start of the summer holidays
Avoid stressful shopping trips just before the schools go back by planning ahead and hitting the shops early.
By avoiding the hordes you are more likely to get any low-cost items in the sizes that you want, meaning you don’t have to opt for pricier alternatives.