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Parents queue for ‘up to three hours’ outside shops for school uniform

PUBLISHED: 15:30 03 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:52 03 September 2020

People queuing outside Harrisons Schoolwear in Great Yarmouth. The company supplies many schools across the borough and has seen a spike in demand as the summer break ends Picture: Liz Coates

People queuing outside Harrisons Schoolwear in Great Yarmouth. The company supplies many schools across the borough and has seen a spike in demand as the summer break ends Picture: Liz Coates

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As schools across Norfolk prepare to reopen parents have been queueing for hours for last-minute pieces of school uniform.

Stevensons in Norwich saw back-to-school queues as parents rushed to buy new uniform for the Autumn term Picture: Sophie WyllieStevensons in Norwich saw back-to-school queues as parents rushed to buy new uniform for the Autumn term Picture: Sophie Wyllie

At Harrisons, in Great Yarmouth, parents said they had no choice but to stick it out in order to get hold of blazers, ties, and jumpers ahead of the new term.

Some said they had no idea if the items they needed were in stock and whether there would be sanctions for their children if they arrived in class without all the regulation gear.

The last week of the summer break is always a busy time for outfitters, but this year the rush has been added to by Covid-19 restrictions on how many people can be in a store at any one time.

Sisters Lisa Veccall and Stacey Mills had already waited for an hour on Thursday (September 3).

Between them they had children at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy and Charter Academy who had outgrown their uniforms.

They both said they were frustrated at having to buy pieces emblazoned with the regulation logo rather than standard items they could buy anywhere more cheaply.

Jessica Burke, who was waiting with her seven-year-old son Ronnie Adams, said she had no choice but to wait.

“It has to be today,” she said. “The queue is a bit much, I did not expect it to be this long.”

Another woman waiting in the collections queue with her two children aged three and nine said it was the fourth time in a week she had been to the shop in Southtown Road, having turned around several times after being put off by the wait.

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She hailed the patience of everyone in the queue who were all standing in their bubbles at a social distance.

However she questioned the wisdom of having one single shop responsible for supplying uniforms for so many schools.

“It must be absolute hell in there,” she said.

Meanwhile Denise Hack said she waited in a very long queue for three hours on Wednesday “just to buy a uniform which can only be brought from this shop.”

She added: “Apparently many parents have been queuing like this for the last few weeks.”

A member of staff said they had been “very busy” all week.

In Norwich there was a queue of about 10 groups of people outside Stevensons school uniform shop on Ber Street.

Tesco worker Ayleen Wilson, 47, from Pulham Market, was waiting to swap a blazer for Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston for her 13-year-old son.

She said: “I didn’t expect a queue today.”

Mother-of-two Cally Smith, from Norwich, who is a charity worker, was returning to pick up an order for her eight-year-old son who is attending Avenue Junior School, Norwich.

She put in the order online after abandoning a long queue outside the shop two weeks ago due to people giving each other space.

“I wasn’t prepared for it,” Ms Smith added.


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