Whilst it may be difficult to get a child into a top state school, affording the school uniform needn’t be such a problem according to findings from a survey conducted by the Schoolwear Association (SA).
A study of the top 20 state schools in England revealed they all had a uniform, with the majority stipulating a blazer and tie. Researchers added up the cost of compulsory, school specific daywear outfit items requested by these schools – which may include a blazer, jumper, cardigan, trousers, skirt, kilt, shirt, tie, socks or tights – but not sportswear. Additional, non-school specific items may be required to complete outfits.
Prices in the top 20 state schools ranged from £29 at Newport Girls’ High School, which only stipulates a school specific shirt and jumper or cardigan, to £188 at St Michael School, which stipulates a school specific blazer, shirt, skirt/kilt and a jumper or cardigan.
“We see more and more schools and academies upgrading to smarter and better quality uniform and we want everyone to see it as a worthwhile investment in our children’s futures,” says David Burgess, chairman of the Schoolwear Association. “This new research shows that good school uniform is great value, especially when compared to the cost of the branded clothes many children wear out of school. Most parents and teachers agree that good quality, school specific uniform contributes to improved learning, better behaviour and increased child safety. We know the cost can be significant for hard-pressed families, so as an industry, we’re working with schools and spearheading initiatives such as school uniform vouchers to help. We believe every child is worth it.”
The SA also points to previous research by Oxford Brooks University, which showed a children’s designer sweatshirt costs over £46, which is more than the cost of an entire primary school outfit.
“Responsible specialist schoolwear suppliers provide quality products at competitive prices with a mix of school specific uniform items and generic garments to create a smart look at an acceptable price,” continues Burgess. “They work closely with schools, and we have recently produced a guide to school uniform for head teachers and governors to help them to get best value from uniform, including how to carry out competitive tenders with suppliers.”