Back to School – School Uniforms for all Budgets
With the start of a new school year comes the inevitable buying of new school uniform and shoes. This can be an extremely costly time for all us parents and carers out there. Here’s a guide to what’s on offer this summer and some tips for getting the best value out of your buys.
Buying school uniforms – some tips
Kids will be kids and no school uniform will be bomb proof. Take a look at these ideas to help you get the most out of your time and money.
- Look for stain-resistant shirts. Whether it be pen, paint or half their dinner down their tops, it’s a fact that children can be messy individuals. Stain resistant fabrics are often coated in teflon, or other similar products, so the stains come out easier in the wash.
- Scuff proof shoes are a good idea for the playground. They will tend to look a lot better a few months into the school year. Also, patent shoes for girls seem to be more hard wearing due to the shiny coating.
- Look for school trousers with reinforced knees, in case your darling decides they want to become the next England goalie (or if they spend half a term crawling around the playground pretending they are a cat – true story!)
- Label EVERYTHING. Invest in some writeable or ready printed labels or buy a clothing stamp, so you can rifle through school lost property with confidence and not have to head back to the shops for replacements.
- Ask if the school (or their PTA) has second-hand uniform swap or sale days. It’s a great way to recycle old uniforms and can save us lots of money.
- Keep an eye out in your high street charity shops and local Facebook selling groups for second hand bargains.
- If your school allows it then always buy dark coloured socks. White socks don’t stay white for long, especially when found caught up in the dark washing load on a Sunday evening.
- Size up on girls tights. Most, especially the cotton knit type, have a habit of shrinking in the wash and can have you running back to the shops for more within weeks.
- Hate ironing? Look for crease resistant options on school clothes and simply pop on a hanger to dry.
Supermarkets are increasingly becoming the places we head to stock up on uniform throughout the year as they offer really good prices on a whole range of back-to-school items.
You can shop for school uniform online and in store at Asda. They have a wide range that covers all different shapes and sizes, including slim fit, plus fit and longer leg for both girls and boys school uniform see here. They also offer a free click and collect service and a 100 day satisfaction guarantee too.
With many schools insisting on children having tops with their logo on, it’s handy to know that Tesco offer an embroidery service for their school uniform. You can check if your school is included here. If your school is not on the list, you can nominate them. Tesco also promise a 5% cash donation to your school when you buy from them and home delivery within approximately 14 days or earlier.
With the recent closure of Tesco Direct, you will have to head to their stores to see their full range of schoolwear on offer. They do offer a 100 day guarantee on their school uniform. They have a 2 pack of v-neck school jumpers starting from £6.
Morrison’s Nutmeg school clothing is available in-store and online. With prices starting from only £2 for a pack of 2 polo shirts.
They also offer a generous 200 day guarantee on school wear. If, for any reason, you are unhappy with your purchase of Nutmeg clothing, you have up to 200 days to return it and receive a replacement or refund.
Sainsbury’s Tu range have a 5 pack of white polo shirts from £6.00 which means you have one for every day of the week! Also a 2 pack of school trousers with reinforced knees from £7. They also run regular promotions of 25% discount on the Tu range, so keep your eyes peeled in store to make more savings.
Aldi have a range of school uniform on sale and the prices are incredibly cheap! Just £5 for a complete uniform including two polo shirts, one round neck jumper and a pair of trousers OR a skirt. See more here.
On The High Street
Argos are now stocking a smaller range of Tu school uniform and shoes at the same prices as Sainsbury’s, which is helpful if you want to make use of their free next day collection from one of their stores.
Peacocks are offering buy one get one half price, in store and online.
Debenhams currently have 20% off their school uniform in their summer sale, which takes this school pinafore dress down to £9.60 (for smaller sizes). They also offer a free next day ‘click and collect’ service with orders over £20.
Marks and Spencer
Somewhat a British institution when it comes to school uniform, Marks and Spencer have been back in the game of recent years and are now offering stain resistant shirts, trousers with a weather repellent coating and scuff resistant shoes. They have a school uniform shop online too, check if your school is listed here.
They offer free delivery on school uniform with orders over £50 and a free next-day store collection service if you order by 10pm. They also offer a name-label service by text. Prices start from £5 (plus your standard network text charge) for 50 iron-on name tapes.
John Lewis pride themselves on the quality of their school uniform. Their school trousers all come with reinforced knees and seams and their products are teflon coated to keep stains and spills away more easily. You can also pick up bargains in their online sale for girls and boys. You may also qualify for a £5 gift card when you spend £50, with your John Lewis rewards card, check the offer out here.
Next are known for being fashion forward and their school uniform also has some nice little touches for the trendy kids out there. Like these jersey culottes starting from £10. Orders placed before Midnight can now be delivered to most of their 500 selected Next Stores the following day with free delivery.
Matalan are very good on their prices for school uniform such as this 100% cotton school jumper starting from £5. They also now have a range of school shoes online featuring brands such as Kickers and Sketchers.
Clarks claim that they test their school shoes in 60 different ways ‘from flexing leathers 500,000 times to pulling laces to destruction’. Check out their range here and book a fitting appointment at your nearest store.
Startrite shoes are currently offering 30% off their plimsolls and selected trainers when you purchase full price school shoes. They offer free standard delivery on full price shoes too. You can also check out their outlet for any sale bargains from the previous season.
Check out their back to school range here.
Check out their back to school range here.
Office & Schuh outlets selling cheap slightly-damaged shoes
High street chains Office and Schuh each have a website – separate from their normal online store – where you can pick up some mega-reduced, ex-display shoes that may have suffered some minor wear-and-tear after being tried on in store.
Label It Or Lose It
My Name Tags
My Name Tags are offering a 10 year guarantee on their products and they are also currently offering free delivery with code SHIPFREE18
Stamptastic offer personalised name stamps for all your children’s belongings, so no sticking or sewing required! If you order by 10am, Mon-Fri, you qualify for same day dispatch too. They also have a 20% commission payment scheme to your school’s PTA once the PTA registers with them. Find out more here.
Labels for Kids
The slogan for Labels for Kids is ‘because kids lose stuff’ and they’re not wrong! You can buy 30 stick-on clothes labels for £6.99 plus P+P.
School logos for less
If you want to buy schoolwear from the high street but your child’s school insists on having their logo on the uniform then head to Our School Badge. They will send you embroidered badges of any size and shape and you then fix them to your child’s uniform by ironing them, no sewing skills required! They claim that their badges will stick to ‘virtually any fabric’. They offer no set-up charges, a fast turnaround time and free delivery too.
School Uniform Grant
There is help available for UK families on very low incomes in the form of a grant to help with school uniform costs. However, the amount varies from county to county so the best way to check if you are eligible is through the government’s website here. Enter your postcode to see what might be available to you.
The Glasspool Trust
They give grants towards clothing/school uniforms http://www.glasspool.org.uk
Individuals cannot apply direct-they must apply through an organisation which can administer the grant. Schools could do the applications themselves but if they were unwilling to do the application/take the funds into their bank account then they can contact Michael at Citizens Advice St. Helens on 01744 751380 to book an appointment and he’ll do it for them.
They will need to obtain a written quote on letterhead paper from a shop/supplier confirming how much the uniform will cost and the shop/supplier must be willing to accept payment via cheque as they cannot give cash to individuals.
Another source which could potentially be used to obtain funds for school uniforms is Acts 435: http://acts435.org.uk
Again, individuals cannot apply direct-only Acts 435 advocates, such as a person from Citizens Advice, can submit requests on the website
I would urge anyone facing hardship to contact the local Citizens Advice Bureau if they are struggling financially as they have a wealth of information, support and advice etc.
Uniform bank and swap shop
It’s worth checking to see if any local School Uniform Bank & Swap Shop’s exist, a search on google and Facebook will reveal if any exist locally.