Parents forced into debt to pay for school uniforms

Parents are being forced to fork out hundreds of pounds to kit out their children for attending state schools, according to a survey out today. This is from the Independent…

The average cost for kitting out a primary school pupil is now £156 – including uniforms, coats and bags – and £285 for a secondary school.

According to the charity Family Action, which carried out the survey, the cost has increased as the number of flagship academies and free schools increases.

The charity points out that this means parents on the poverty line are being forced to spend up to two-fifths of their income in August on back-to-school costs.

“Many schools use the transition to academy status as an opportunity for rebranding – which often includes changing the uniform,” says their report, The Big Stitch Up. “Although some headteachers will argue that rebranding a school can have a positive effect, it can also result in parents having to pay a significant penalty in back-to-school costs.”

The survey of 13 state schools – 10 secondary and three primary – unearthed one example of an academy where 70 per cent of parents had to take out loans to pay for the new £225 uniform.  The previous uniform for the old school had cost £99.

The charity is urging schools to scrap specially branded school uniforms let parents shop around for plan, standard clothing from a retailer of their choice.

More at:  Parents forced into debt to pay for school uniforms

Are you aware of situations where uniform costs are going up – as described in the article – perhaps when a school ‘rebrands’? Please share in the comments or on twitter and let us know how your school or your child’s school handles the uniform cost issue…

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Categories: Parenting.


  1. LynnCSchreiber

    SchoolsImprove LindsayGrahamUK was shopping for a blazer recently – blazer for some schools in town were over £100

  2. breakfast_lady

    SchoolsImprove LynnCSchreiber We’ve reluctantly added a supermarket supplier, as local indie was so expensive with poor customer service

  3. changepatriot

    SchoolsImprove School uniforms once ensured less well off held their own dress-wise.Then they went out of favour for equally good reason

  4. notahappyhooker

    itsmotherswork SchoolsImprove we paid 70 pounds for 2 sweaters, tie, rugby shirt and socks 🙁 no option all compulsory

  5. itsmotherswork

    notahappyhooker £70 not to be sneezed at, but it’s still a long way from £126, let alone £256.

  6. itsmotherswork

    notahappyhooker I’m dubious about surveying 13 schools to report an “average” cost across all schools.

  7. Mr_Boddy

    itsmotherswork SchoolsImprove £45 for a pair of school shoes. £12 a jumper (compulsory) then there’s the PE kit… Soon adds up!

  8. pannusf10

    itsmotherswork notahappyhooker SchoolsImprove most expensive item school blazer but cd have bought a generic and sewed badge on… £34

  9. pannusf10

    itsmotherswork notahappyhooker SchoolsImprove so far he’s ‘lost’ 2 PE kits (he’s tall I reckon older boys have had em away) irritating!

  10. LynnCSchreiber

    itsmotherswork SchoolsImprove depends on school. Bought blazer f daughter – £35 polyester, £56 wool. Posh public school £160

  11. LynnCSchreiber

    itsmotherswork SchoolsImprove if you can buy generic supermarket uniform, then much cheaper than branded uniform f specialist shops

  12. frdragonspouse

    Mr_Boddy itsmotherswork SchoolsImprove And so many prohibitions, especially for shoes! Someone tell the manufacturers!

  13. Subimaginati

    nicolajm1983 itsmotherswork Mr_Boddy SchoolsImprove My school gave me most of mine for free cos my parent wouldn’t pay for it.

  14. notahappyhooker

    itsmotherswork oh its not any kind of decent research, and believe me, i spend all my spare time reading bad research lol SchoolsImprove

  15. notahappyhooker

    pannusf10 logo embroidered at eldests school, also spent 50 or so on youngest, but split that up itsmotherswork SchoolsImprove

  16. SingLoudClear

    itsmotherswork another friend has spent as much as I have kitting out one as I have on two! Her schools uniform has changed and pretty much

  17. sophieml1

    itsmotherswork SchoolsImprove You have to buy clothes for your children.uniforms make it cheaper – 3 changes a week opposed to at least 5

  18. suebeauchamp

    SchoolsImprove LynnCSchreiber LindsayGrahamUK buy it to grow into and it could double as a graduation suit at that price !! #rippedbyday2

  19. rachelngeoff

    I have two children attending secondary school and both travel to and from school which costs £45 weekly and is breaking the bank, we don’t receive any help due to myself and my husband both working.
    I also have an issue with children being punished, given detentions For turning up to school in incorrect uniform because their parents are unable to meet the financial costs, how can this be right???

  20. rachelngeoff

    After speaking to many teachers at different schools, they didn’t even know how much their parents were being charged for their school uniforms?? Unbelievable. I know one boy has to sign in and out a pair of school shoes every day At the school office, how does this make a child feel?? Singled out because parents are struggling to meet the costs, shame on you

  21. rachelngeoff

    If schools are dictating that our children should wear school uniforms then why don’t they pay for it if it’s compulsory. If you go to work anywhere and they require you to wear a uniform they supply you with the uniform. So why aren’t schools providing the uniforms for our kids ????

  22. rachelngeoff

    Not all parents Will approach schools for help, even when they are struggling to meet the costs. I know I wouldn’t, I’d take out a loan first. I’m sure lots of parents would agree with me on that

  23. rachelngeoff

    Too many schools now just profiteering on the backs of parents and in the proceed punishing the kids For not wearing correct attire. And they say ‘Every Child Matters’ ???

  24. rachelngeoff

    Too much pressure on kids though to be the same, otherwise bullying starts if they have to wear the cheaper ones available

  25. rachelngeoff

    Was the items of good quality, if I went out and spent £70 on an outfit for myself I would expect it to be, but when your forced to buy certain school items, many a time the quality is poor and doesn’t last very long, therefore having to replace again in no time at all ??

  26. rachelngeoff

    Was the items of good quality, if I went out and spent £70 on an outfit for myself I would expect it to be, but when your forced to buy certain school items, many a time the quality is poor and doesn’t last very long, therefore having to replace again in no time at all ??

  27. rachelngeoff

    My argument is you shouldn’t have to approach school for help, this can be degrading for many parents and shouldn’t be put in this situation in the first place. Sick of being dictated to bY schools and knowing your business, sorry rant over

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