School uniform prices - North East families have their say and tips to help for the new term

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit the pockets of North East families, we take a look at some tips to help the school uniform budget stretch.

August is here and it will soon be time to start thinking about the new school year – and all of the preparation that comes with it.

Uniform provider David Luke has issued advice aimed at helping families make savings where possible.

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Audit

Families have been having their say on the price of school uniforms ahead of the new term in September. Picture: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images.

Wash and iron your child’s existing uniform items before having a try-on session to see what still fits. This exercise may reduce the list of essentials you need for September.

Measure

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Sizing up certain items can extend their wear a bit longer. Look for adjustable waistbands and oversized hems to help you out.

Swap

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We take a look at some tips to save money for the new school year. Picture: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.

Check with your child’s school to see if there’s an approved swap shop to exchange with others. There may be second-hand items available for a lesser price via school, too.

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Repair and recycle

Quick fixes can save you shopping for a new pair of trousers or a skirt. A new button or repaired hem can help you rescue the old.

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Grants

Depending on your circumstances, school and supplier, there may be bursaries or grants available for help with uniform costs. The school office is a good place to start and find out more.

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The Department for Education (DfE) last year issued statutory guidance aimed at making school uniforms affordable.

It included points on schools keeping the use of branded items to a minimum, ensuring suppliers prioritise cost, value for money and garment quality and providing second-hand uniform choices for families.

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Governing boards were largely expected to be compliant with this new guidance by September 2022.

The DfE said: “Parents should not have to think about the cost of a school uniform when choosing which schools to apply for.

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"No school uniform should be so expensive as to leave pupils or their families feeling unable to apply to, or attend, a school of their choice.”

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We asked North East families for their views on how uniform policies should be revised to account for the cost-of-living crisis.

From more freedom when it comes to shopping to buying non-branded, here’s what you had to say:

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Caz Rae: “Having to buy uniforms at limited outlets means that the price tends to be higher, often more than some families can afford.”

Margaret Francis: “It’s the blazers and skirts that cost the most. But compared with a few years ago I think they are value for money.”

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Nicola Reed: “Scrap the over-priced logo uniform for kids as long as its the right colour.”

Vikki Meakin: “School trousers should also be allowed to be bought from anywhere as long as the colour and general style is met.”

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Margy James: “It’s about time that schools weren’t allowed to tell parents where they have to buy the uniforms from and let parents buy stick-on badges like they used to, and cheap shorts and white T-shirt will do for PE.”

Annelise Hamilton: “Scrap uniforms altogether and allow kids to wear their own clothes.”

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Margo Lax: “School uniforms are an excellent idea, everyone looks the same. There are great bargains from all supermarkets.”

Rebecca Anthony: “Just like if you are required to wear work uniform, school uniforms could be provided for free or subsidised. I’ve always thought so.”