'I feel for the child who gets penalised'-Parents on the growing costs of uniform

Norfolk County Council has issued advice for parents ready for children's return to school after the

Norfolk parents have spoken about the cost of school uniform - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Norfolk mother-of-one has joined others across the county in lamenting the cost of school uniform prices, having spent nearly £400 so far. 

With many schools now asking pupils to wear branded clothing with logos, parents are saying they are unable to pay for cheaper clothes from supermarkets given the strict uniform policies in place.

Annastasia Widdison of Watton said she has had to get hold of logoed blazers and jumpers for her daughter, who is going into year seven.

The costs of sports kit and a £120 residential trip, as well as the fact her daughter has to have adult size shoes, means the process is an expensive one. 

Miss Widdison said: "The school sends out a 'must have' list and one with 'options' on it. They must have two pencils and one pen, and can get a detention if they only have one pencil and a pencil sharpener. 

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"Schools are very, very strict with four styles to pick from. It is so regimented and for people with more than one child, it is borderline impossible. Luckily I have my own business and my partner has a good job.

"I just feel for the child who gets penalised. Parents are very aware that if they do not send their child in the right clothing, then they will get a detention or even be sent home." 

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Another Norfolk parent Leah Sims has slammed the cost of school skirts being as much as £28 each when she could get two knee length ones in Primark for £8 each. 

And Holly Warnock-Flude said she has spent between £800 to £900 for her two children who attend primary and secondary schools in the county. 

School uniforms at Stevensons School Outfitters shop. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

School uniforms at Stevensons School Outfitters shop. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

One mother who has twins at a west Norfolk secondary school, and who did not wish to be identified, said she has spent £400 so far on uniform. 

She added: "It is not just the school uniform, it is the PE kit as well and it has to be bought from specialist shops. With twins that is expensive. 

"Working class parents like us have just got to suck it up and pay as you cannot send your kids to school with the wrong uniform. It seems to be the norm now anyway." 

Sprowston's district councillor Natasha Harpley, who has children, said there is considerable disparity when it comes to uniform expenditure. 

The councillor spent more than £300 when her eldest daughter moved up to high school, but she has been able to pass much of this down to her younger sibling, except for skirts where the school's specification has changed. 

School ties at the Stevensons School Outfitters shop. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

School ties at the Stevensons School Outfitters shop. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Some parents have been able to make use of second hand clothing with Ketts Kabin Hethersett charity store selling donated items for as little as 50p. 

Second hand uniform on sale at the Ketts Kabin Hethersett charity shop 

Second hand uniform on sale at the Ketts Kabin Hethersett charity shop - Credit: Ketts Kabin

Mile Cross Primary School on the outskirts of Norwich also has a dedicated internal second hand store for those parents who are struggling financially. 

Sarah Garrett, manager of the Norwich branch of Stevensons said the store works closely with the Foundation of Joanna Scott and Anguish's Educational Foundation for those parents who require financial support.

Ketts Kabin Hethersett

Ketts Kabin Hethersett - Credit: Ketts Kabin Hethersett

Regarding the demand for uniform at this time of the year, she added: "It's been quite steady so far. We had been running an appointments system but we have now moved back to walk-ins. 

"Online business has increased through the Norwich branch as well as click-and-collect." 

The store mainly serves schools in the Norwich area but extends as far as Thetford with the numbers of staff increasing to 28 from seven in the winter months to cope with the demand. 

Opening hours have also increased to 9am to 7pm given it is the busiest time of the year with many parents rushing to buy uniform before the start of term. 

Using an account on the Your School Uniform website shows a sweatshirt, blazer, trousers, PE shorts, PE shirt, a twin pack of shirts, tie, shoes, plimsolls, mouthguard, tracksuit trousers, rain jacket and socks would cost around £240 for boys and £231 for girls. 

YouTuber's tips on saving on uniform 

A Taverham mother-of-two knows all about the cost of school uniforms and has recorded a YouTube video which will be released on Friday outlining top tips. 

Charlotte Jessop, whose finance blog is called Looking After Your Pennies, said making use of local Facebook groups is a useful tool for parents to source used clothing which is no longer needed by other parents. 

She also advised making use of second half shops, as well as seeing whether children will be able to squeeze an extra year of wear out of their clothes.

Mrs Jessop said: "There is a temptation when a kid is starting school just to go out and buy the new stuff because they do not want to be left out, but the reality is they will not be the only one as other parents will do the same." 

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