School uniform cost: Is it time to get rid?

Last updated at 15:06
School pupil having his tie tied.Getty Images

It might be the summer holidays, but it's also that time of year when mums and dads are thinking about buying your school uniform for next year, which can mean spending a lot of money.

But are uniforms too expensive? Research shows that clothes and equipment for school can cost hundred of pounds.

The market analysts Mintel say all together British parents spend about £1.2bn on back-to-school uniforms and equipment.

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How expensive is school uniform?

According to the survey parents spend on average £134 on school uniform.

But that's quite low compared to some other reports.

For example, in 2018 the Children's Society estimated that the total cost of uniform was £256 per primary school child and £338 per secondary school pupil. That's a lot of school jumpers!

Tech is also one big reason for rising back-to-school costs - according to the report UK parents spent £130 million on this kind of school equipment last year.

£100 million was spent on stationery including notebooks, pens and pencil cases alone!

Mintel say that parents spending before the start of the new term in September, is now the third biggest shopping event after Christmas and Black Friday.

According to the research nearly half of parents said they feel under pressure to buy their children named brands when it comes to back-to-school products.

But a third of the 600 parents asked say they have bought or would buy a second-hand school uniform.

Infographic showing how much uniform of each type parents buy.
Source: Department of Education survey of 1,183 parents, 2015

Samantha Dover, from Mintel said: "The value of back-to-school spending has shot up in the last year due to more parents buying non-clothing items, as well as an increase in the average amount being spent on school uniforms and shoes."

A spokesperson for Price and Buckland, a school uniforms supplier, said uniforms should be affordable for everyone, adding: "We work with some schools and offer vouchers to parents to support them with purchasing uniform."

Depending where you live in the UK, some schools and local councils offer help to families who can't afford school uniforms. And if you don't need a badge on your uniform, costs can be cheaper as outfits can be bought in supermarkets.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Our guidance states that schools should prioritise cost when setting uniform policies, including making sure uniforms are easily available at different outlets, and keeping compulsory branded items to a minimum.

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