School uniform prices ‘coming down’ but technology costs driving up overall spend for parents

Newspapers have been full of alarmist reports that this year it’s more costly than ever to fill a schoolbag with the required items a child needs for the coming year. But is it true? This is from the BBC

According to a study commissioned by John Lewis, school uniforms cost the average family £116.50 a year – adjusted for inflation – in the 1960s.

In the 1980s, again adjusted for inflation, that rose to £135.30. For the 2010s, it has dropped back to £100.80.

So if it is not clothes that newspapers complain are make kitting out your children more expensive, what is it?

A scroll through the numbers shows that most other items – from calculators to school bags – are all cheaper relative to incomes than they have ever been.

There is just one set of items that seems to be skewing the modern school bag and making its contents very expensive – technology.

“We are seeing items like e-readers, tablet computers and mobile phones appear in the schoolbag for the first time,” says Matt Leeser, head of technology buying at John Lewis.

“You can fit a lot of books in an electronic reading device.”

That may be good for taking the weight out of a child’s backpack but it also makes parents’ bank accounts lighter too.

“Parents should take the time to consider the purchases they are going to make,” says Mr Leeser. “They need to consider what technology products are right for them and fit in with whatever else they own in the home.”

Mr Leeser also worries that parents going into stores for the first time may be faced with a bewildering array of devices on offer.

“Talk to the schools that the children go to. Make sure the technology they buy is right for the schools and how they plan to teach.”

More at:  School uniform costs ‘coming down’

Does your/your child’s school give parents guidance on purchasing technology? Is this an area schools could and should become more proactive in to avoid parents spending more than they need? Or is this outside of a school’s remit or expertise? Please share your thoughts, experiences and suggestions in the comments or on twitter… 

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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove There’s something called “inflation” that means costs always increase. Trouble is that wages aren’t increasing at same rate

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