Managing the back-to-school costs can be difficult. Every year families face the cost to buy uniforms and other back-to-school accessories, and with the current rise in the cost of living, many families are struggling even more than usual.
According to a report by The Children’s Society, the average cost of uniforms for secondary children is now just over £300 per child, per school year.
For families with one child, this is difficult enough but for families with more children, the costs for uniforms can be unaffordable, and with energy bills and grocery prices increasing, this is another essential cost that families must find the money for.
The same report also revealed that 95% of the parents that responded to the survey believed they are expected to pay an unreasonable amount for school uniforms.
In addition to this, around 220,000 children’s school choices were estimated to be based on the uniform affordability rather than suitability for the child, which shows how big an impact the cost of uniforms has on families. Many schools have strict uniform policies, with some children being sent home for wearing items that are not acceptable under the school uniform policy.
Where to find cheaper uniform
For schools that allow more flexibility around uniform, for example, where just a specific colour of trousers, skirt or shirt/blouse is required, you can often find better deals in supermarkets. However, some schools insist that polo shirts or sweaters display the school logo, in which case it is difficult to find ways to make savings. Some schools run a trade-in for a uniform that is in good condition so that you can swap for the next size up when you return items.
The Department of Education has announced guidance for schools to keep school uniform costs reasonable, so schools with strict uniform policies may start to make some changes to help reduce the cost of uniforms.
Buying school shoes is one of the more challenging parts of the school uniform, as you don’t want to pay a fortune, but you also don’t want the shoes to fall apart. Kids who are playing football at lunchtime or doing lots of other activities that speed up the wear and tear of their shoes can get through pairs of shoes at an alarming rate. Getting the balance between price and quality will help to make sure the shoes last longer and The Independent has published their recommendations based on tests that they recruited kids to help with.
The best shoes for low budgets were the Shoezone Trux easy fasten for £12.99, while the best overall were the Start-Rite Impulsive II lace-ups, costing a more significant £60 from Startriteshoes.com.
School uniform loans
The Central Liverpool Credit Union is always looking for new ways to help families across the Liverpool City Region to afford the essentials such as school uniforms.
We have now launched a school uniform loan that members are able to take out even if they already have an existing loan with the CLCU. The loan is up to a maximum of £300 and the loan repayments must be affordable to applicants.
We understand how challenging these times are and we are here to support you and your family at every step of the way to help wherever we can.
Find out more about our school uniform loans.