Private school uniforms - how much do you need?!

(83 Posts)
Mendi Thu 04-Apr-13 10:15:46

So, DD is moving from state primary to a private school in Sept and we have just received the uniform list. It just lists what is required, not how much of each thing, and I am wondering how many of things like blazer, sports kit you get? Blazer in particular is really expensive, but I guess they wear it every day so you need two, in case one gets dirty?

It's probably obvious how clueless I am. Please help.

meditrina Thu 04-Apr-13 10:18:41

One blazer - ideally from second hand sale.

Other stuff - similar amounts to what you already have (as that will match the DC's natural messiness level).

SoupDragon Thu 04-Apr-13 10:22:42

One blazer is fine. One sports kit is fine (but more than one pair of socks as they go missing in the house!).

Buy the same you would have bought before - DSs have enough shirts for one a day plus a spare (they were a pack of 3!), 4 trousers (don't need washing every day) two ties (they get mislaid in the house easily).

The fact that it's a private school is irrelevant really - just go with what you would have bought normally.

Mendi Thu 04-Apr-13 10:27:37

Thanks. I was thinking 2 x skirt and 5 x shirts as that's what she has now - I guess one of most sports things will do then.

Should I expect the second hand sale to be a total scrum? I remember my mum almost getting into a fight with another mum at my school's second hand sale, over the last coat in my size!

chrisrobin Thu 04-Apr-13 10:31:17

My DSs (aged 5 and 7) have 1 blazer (although it's worn every day it is only worn during 'clean' times so doesn't get too dirty), 1 school coat, 2 jumpers (wash and wear), 2 pairs of sports trousers, 1 sports sweatshirt, 3 sports T-shirts, 1 swim kit. They have PE or sport every day and also often wear sports kit when they go on trips so I find these get more use than I originally thought they would.

The uniform is very expensive when bought new but there is a second-hand shop which sells things for 1/2 the 'new' price, also parents pass down their uniform to others. Our 2nd hand uniform shop has plenty of stock so no fights but the have had the same uniform for ages so and they never get rid of any.

Seeline Thu 04-Apr-13 10:37:10

My DSs blazer is washable - nothing like the thick wool thing I had back in the dark ages. Although he has to wear it all day, it washes and dries very easily so can be washed at weekends if necessary smile

Mendi Thu 04-Apr-13 10:42:20

Washable blazer sounds great!

MTSgroupie Thu 04-Apr-13 10:46:26

The jacket is about £85. I can't imagine that a state school jacket is significantly cheaper. Trousers and shirts from M&S and Tesco. Jumper is badged so we couldn't escape the £30.

It's the sports kit that is going to get you. Not because they are expensive but because there is one set for PE and one for Games (I've no idea why it can't be just one set for both). Then there is the track suit and the sports bag. Then there is the cricket/netball set. The school do provide the equipment but there is peer group pressure to buy a non basic model hockey stick, badminton racket, lacrosse stick etc.

DD's has a 2nd hand store that sells quality stuff so that saved us a bit.

PS. Don't bother with a coat. No one wears one. Wearing one, regardless of weather, is the badge of the uncool smile

seeker Thu 04-Apr-13 10:48:02

Why does it matter that it's a private school?

scaevola Thu 04-Apr-13 10:52:13

Private schools do not have to even pretend to have an affordable version, and the full kit list can be lengthy and elaborate.

OP: do you know anyone with a DC already at the school? So you can find out what really is necessary and what can be put off?

happygardening Thu 04-Apr-13 11:04:24

I too second the idea of finding out what is really necessary. We used to have different ruby shirts for each term at my DS's prep.
Second hand is definitely the way to go most will have a good 2nd hand shop but do get in early our old prep used to open it for new children afternoon tea/induction but if your were a bit slow off the mark by the time you got to the "shop" all the expensive things like blazers had gone. Ask the school sec. if you can have a look now. If a parent or member of staff runs it and they haven't got what your looking for be extra nice to them and ask if they'll call you if it come in. I was always really nice to the matrons at my DS's prep and when something decent came in they used to give me first refusal and sewed names tapes in for free!! Also advertise locally or ask other parents if you know anyone children grow so fast that most of it will be in excellent condition.

TomDudgeon Thu 04-Apr-13 11:40:55

We do one blazer, one tie
Two jumpers
Two shorts
Five shirts
Five pairs socks
One of all games kits except two rugby tops and two pairs of each socks

Then two summer shorts
Five summer shirts
Five pairs summer socks

We buy as much as we can through them second hand. They get passed down and then if possible sold on.
They're prep level and blazers are only worn for special events

I wore a blazer to school though everyday and we all only ever had one

Mendi Thu 04-Apr-13 11:46:58

Thank you all. Seeker, the reason that it being a private school is relevant is because the uniform is a lot more expensive than her current state school uniform, and comprises a number of articles which are not part of her state school uniform (a blazer being one).

So no need to try and kick off a private v state bun fight.

BooksandaCuppa Thu 04-Apr-13 11:47:50

Ds's blazer is very expensive and also wool. He only has one - it's obviously removed for art/tech/games etc so doesn't really get dirty and, crucially, is machine washable. I don't imagine anyone has more than one blazer!

(He only has one tie and I keep thinking we should get a spare; for the sake of £7 it would save the panic of whether it did come home after games...not lost yet, though.)

EyePad Thu 04-Apr-13 11:50:14

1 blazer
2 trousers
5 shirts
1 jumper
1 waistcoat
1 overcoat
1 scarf
1 tie
1 rugby shirt
1 polo shirt
2 sport socks
1 sport shorts
1 shin pads
1 football/rugby boots
1 trainers

LIZS Thu 04-Apr-13 11:51:12

Just one blazer, then we did 2 jumpers and one of everything else. Until secondary few schools wear blazers all day every day. If he is playing contact rugby or football you may want a second set so you can have one clean for matches but wait and see how often it is required. You will probably find there is a second hand sale where you can get a second kit and blazer inexpensively - ask the admissions office for dates so you can stock up before the Summer rush.

EyePad Thu 04-Apr-13 11:52:01

wool blazer here too. and wool overcoat. and wool ruddy scarf!

MTSgroupie Thu 04-Apr-13 13:25:43

Mendi - seeker only has to walk pass a door in McDonalds that says 'Private' in order for her to start up a bun fight. smile

seeker Thu 04-Apr-13 14:48:43

Definitely two ties- but don't tell her- keep one hidden somewhere you won't forget for emergencies. If you can get hold of a second blazer secon hand cheaply ditto, but most people will only have one.
If you can run to it two outdoor games kits- particularly hockey socks. Particularly if they a a pale colour- they often don't wash clean first time. Apart from that, the same as any other school uniform.

diabolo Thu 04-Apr-13 14:55:19

Several pairs of sports socks - I've lost count of the number we've lost over the years

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Thu 04-Apr-13 15:04:06

1 blazer (cheap one from John Lewis)
1 jumper
3 shirts
3 thermal tops (as he doesn't like carrying his coat around)
3 trousers (so I end up washing every three days)
2 ties
1 cricket kit; trousers, top, hat, socks
1 rugby kit; 2 tops (different colours) 1 shorts, 1 socks, 1 boots
1 tracksuit; 1 top, 1 hoodie
1 athletics kit; 1 top, 1 shorts, 1 trainers
1 hockey kit; 1 shorts 1 top, 1 socks, 1 shin pads
1 swimming kit; trunks, hat and goggles
1 lab coat (he's in year 9 and never worn it)

Problem is, ds can't do PE and has been signed off by the physio (hypotonia) so he's worn his PE kit a handful of times. sad

moonbells Thu 04-Apr-13 16:46:14

We have 3 blazers of incremental sizes. The 1st one was brand new (ouch) but then at the termly second-hand sale I got the next size up. Following sale, got the next one up. So we've got 2 blazers in reserve at 1/4 the list price. It's not as if DS is going to shrink, ditto prices for new ones...

MarshaBrady Thu 04-Apr-13 16:50:01

We got one blazer, one coat, one tie.

Two jumpers, four shirts, five x socks, um three shorts and three trousers, I think.

One swimming, one sports, two sports tops.

MarshaBrady Thu 04-Apr-13 16:52:11

School shoes, pe plimsolls and white trainers plus white socks.

Felt like loads we bought it all.

TweenageAngst Thu 04-Apr-13 16:59:16

I ended up buying 2 full sets of rugby kit as DS 1 plays at least 4 days a week and I work long hours and just could not stay on top of the endless washing, ditto 2 PE kits, 5 shirts 3 trousers, two jumpers, 1 blazer and two ties as one invariably goes missing.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 07:31:23

Yes, my ds has two rugby kits too. They take years to dry, and can never be worn more than once!

mnistooaddictive Fri 05-Apr-13 07:36:02

I am with seeker, lots of state schools have blazers. Why does the fact it is private change how many shirts you need?

SoupDragon Fri 05-Apr-13 07:46:22

DSs rugby kit dries really quickly! Both the set for school and the set for the club he plays for at the weekend.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 05-Apr-13 07:50:17

One blazer and I wash it in the machine on wool cycle with woollite and its fine!

Also at our school they often where there sports kit all day if they're doing swimming/games etc so worth checking that out as I know I got the balance wrong re. amount of formal uniform v kit.

I also quickly learnt that stuff like grey trousers could be bought cheaper from m&s than the official school uniform shop

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 08:15:43

I find soccer kit dries quickly, rugby slowly because it's chunkier.

LIZS Fri 05-Apr-13 08:17:28

Depends on the kit - some are synthetic and take no time to dry but other schools still use heavy cotton reversible which do. You may want more than one set of skins too.

Graceparkhill Fri 05-Apr-13 08:19:39

I would say buy a couple of spare ties and hide them. My DS2 goes to school( not private) with v strict uniform policy. Ties go missing a lot and it would be a huge no no to turn up tie less.
I had to get permission to send him in trainers for a day when he lost one shoe!

SoupDragon Fri 05-Apr-13 08:20:18

Thankfully, DSs kits are both that nasty slippery manmade fabric. Thick but dry as soon as it's out of the machine. Which is lucky as he was wearing the school one for rugby on Monday, Hockey on Wednesday and games on Friday! Shorts do need to go on the radiator and the dumb white ones into a bucket of bleach

I hate sports kit on principle though.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 08:25:56

Check about skins- ds's friend's school won't let them wear them. Track suit on the touch line- as much bare skin as possible on the pitch. Toughens them up. Or something,

Prawntoast Fri 05-Apr-13 08:28:34

The reason for questioning how many of everything is because private school uniform lists will usually add up to £500 + once you have got all the sports kit. Therefore it might not be affordable to buy as much of certain items as you may well like. Make use of any 2nd hand sales, they are generally run 2/3 times a year.

if you know someone with a child in the school,ask them how much of the uniform on the sports list ever actually gets worn. At ds school the list was endless and ended up costing me more than the actual uniform .4 years later half of it has never been worn and the large school logoed sports bag has only ever seen the light of day when we go on holiday as its so big we can get everyones stuff in it!

BooksandaCuppa Fri 05-Apr-13 09:17:47

Opposite round here, seeker - skins are compulsory to wear in winter at ds's school whereas at friends' dc's state school (and the school I work in) they 'encourage' the parents to buy skins and then the PE teachers won't let them wear them (to toughen them up!)

BooksandaCuppa Fri 05-Apr-13 09:18:59

Am so glad, btw, that ds really isn't sporty. His stuff barely needs a wash from one week to the next - except the white (black) socks...

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 09:20:21


Maybe it'll be Bash Street not St Custard's ruling the next Empire then!

PollyEthelEileen Fri 05-Apr-13 09:45:38

One of everything, except shirts and sock.

You know how often you do laundry.

Schmedz Fri 05-Apr-13 09:53:30

My DDs' school insist on base layers with the school logo on for PE...expensive! At their previous school one summer dress cost £40. One white school shirt cost £13 ( you can buy multiple packs at dept stores for much cheaper than this!)
Where the school specify a specific item of clothing that either needs a logo or is a specific brand/style/colour, you don't have the option to replace with a nice Tesco/BHS/M&S generic version!! That is why the majority of my girls' school clothing comes from the school secondhand shop smile. It still cost well over £500 to kit them both up, but as they wear the items for the majority of the year that isn't too much.
Until they lose their stuff of course......

OnGoldenPond Fri 05-Apr-13 10:22:03

I would definitely get at least 2 of sports kit items - at DS's school sports kit is ALWAYS going missing - left kicking around the changing rooms, getting shoved in the wrong sports bag, etc etc...

I would actually get 3 pairs of sports socks as they are always coming home with just one and for some reason these are the items that tend not to turn up again.

Get as much as possible from the second hand shop so you won't mind so much when stuff goes missing. Particularly good for blazers, as these tend not to get worn out before the DC has grown out of them. I have never yet bought DS a new blazer and he looks just the same in his second hand blazer as the other boys who always have brand new everything - and at about a quarter the cost of new.

Lots of parents go to the second hand sales so your DC will not be singled out, and there is always lots of stock as boys grow like weeds! grin

Mendi Fri 05-Apr-13 10:53:26

What are 'skins'?

DD's uniform list includes a 'base layer' is that the same thing?

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 10:59:36

Yes. tK Maxx is brilliant for base layers.

LIZS Fri 05-Apr-13 11:36:47

Do check you are allowed generic/branded ones first and in what colour/s

beanandspud Fri 05-Apr-13 11:44:07

One blazer that goes through the wash and comes out fine! I know a lot of parents that dry clean school blazers and I was a bit shock - by the time you've done that half a dozen times you could buy a new one.

Find a friend with a child in the year up as they will have the most helpful information regarding uniform and how strict the shirt/trouser/coat/sports kit policy really is.

Also find out the opening times of the school shop and whether they do online ordering - in most cases you can always get more stuff at fairly short notice which seems like a better option than a cupboard of unused school uniform.

1805 Fri 05-Apr-13 11:49:48

Agree with comment about how much time they spend in games kit. Both my dc spend more time than the games lesson in their pe kit. They even eat dinner in it sometimes which means white logo-ed polo shirt has spag bol stains on it.

Also, I have started buying large name labels and sewing onto the front of their stuff so it is clearly visible.

£38 summer dresses sell for £17 in the second hand shop.

Also depends how old your dd is and whether she tends to lose things or not. Imagine a changing room of 7 year old girls all taking off identical games kit and putting on identical dresses..........

Hope she enjoys her new school.

Two independent primary schools I am quite close to (DDs go to one, I work in another) don't really mind or notice if you source bits of uniform from somewhere cheaper e.g. John Lewis, M&S
- tights & socks
- summer dresses
- cardigans
- PE trousers, shorts, skorts
- outer coats, hats, scarves, gloves

Obviously for anything branded you will have to go to the school's uniform supplier or the second hand uniform sale. Tip: volunteer to help out at the sale, then you get in there first! Also, since your DD is starting in Sept, you could find out when the Summer Term sale is on and pop along to that, as the Autumn term sale is likely to be too late to help you.

SoupDragon Fri 05-Apr-13 12:02:55

DSs are not allowed to stay in sports kit beyond a lesson - even for walking home after afterschool training!

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 05-Apr-13 12:11:46

You see my reception child goes in his tracksuit 3 days a week and only wears smart uniform on 2 days - luckily his is mostly hand me downs so doesn't make much difference but I'd have been a bit annoyed if I'd bought lots of proper uniform.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 12:22:03

My two just have 1 blazer each. It's wool so can only be dry cleaned. We wipe down any obvious spills (dd eats her lunch in hers silly girl) and it gets sent off to the dry cleaners every half term

Blouses Snd shirts can cons from anywhere do they have about 3 each

2 skirts for dd (school specified)
2 trousers for ds ( from anywhere)
1 tie each plus an old spare.
1 lot of PE kit
2 summer dresses for dd

Callthemidlife Fri 05-Apr-13 12:27:24

A note of caution ref sports stuff.

Not sure if same in all areas, but by the time they are in prep proper in yr 3 they may be doing Saturday school and/or having loads of competitive sports matches on Saturday afternoons. Getting the kit home on a Saturday evening for cleaning and drying by Monday morning is not fun. I highly recommend you don't even bother trying. 2 of everything, all from second hand shop, is the way to go.

And I usually have a couple of extra skins that I throw in because they can stink to high heaven after just one hockey/rugby match and I'd prefer DC to at least have a new skin for each game (some schools will have games daily for yrs3 upwards)

And of course, A drawer-full of mouth guards. Maybe 6 per child. labelled for each child of course (but with removeable stickers to cope with real emergencies....boak). I tend to buy 6 each September and have none left by summer.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 12:31:46

My two bring their PE kit home once every half them for washing but neither of them do any extra curricular sports

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 12:32:29

I signed forms to allow them to play hockey without mouth guards so they dont have them.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 12:54:58

Pictures- why did you do that? shock Please unsign immediately!!!!!!!!

SoupDragon Fri 05-Apr-13 12:59:06

No mouthguards?! shock

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 13:05:58

I figured I played hockey at school for years without them and as they only play for one half term a year it was very expensive to get two mouth guards every year (as the bumf assured me they would need a new fitting every year)

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 13:06:52

I chipped my front teeth playing red river in the playground. Dd is more likely to harm her teeth dancing.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 13:07:59

I didn't wear a seat belt as a child either!

They don't have to be expensive- and you "fit" them by soaking them in boiling water. But even if they were expensive, they are cheaper than the orthodontist!

Callthemidlife Fri 05-Apr-13 13:08:25

We just use the boil in a bag cheapies from sports direct at £3 a throw.

SoupDragon Fri 05-Apr-13 13:12:13

DSs orthodontist insisted that the expensive, fitted at the start of the year mouthguards were damaging to children teeth and that under no circumstances should I get them. Boil-to-fit ones are far better when children are still growing and their teeth still moving.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 13:24:32

We were sent a leaflet and a letter from school from a company called opro who came into school to fit everyone on a certain day back in September.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 13:25:32

Dd is going to need a brave when she gets her second set if teeth. I thought dentists for children were free.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 13:27:07

I think they spend most if the hdlf hour avoiding doing very much in hockey anyway! They are not at all sporty!

SoupDragon Fri 05-Apr-13 13:30:14

Yes, DSs were sent that Opro leaflet too. Their orthodontist said that under no circumstances was I to use them. We have Opro boil-to-fit ones instead.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 13:36:25

I think the cheapest one was about £35. Seemed a lot for something that would only be used about half a dozen times.

Callthemidlife Fri 05-Apr-13 13:39:12

Dentists for children are free, but if her front teeth are knocked out then to have proper, beautiful implants will not be covered and will cost in the region of £8,000 privately (DH has them, thanks to a rugby game in his youth...).

I would also imagine that if she lost a couple of teeth she would have to wear dentures until the rest of her teeth finished growing, and wouldn't be able to get implants any earlier. Not a great experience for a girl during the snogging years....

Go on. You know it makes sense.

<And there I was, just a couple of days ago, swearing that MNers don't gang up on posters.....>

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 13:40:45

Half a dozen times? Wow- dd played more hockey than that in. state school!!!!!


But true!

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 14:17:06

That's per year. Opro said you had to have a new mouth guard every year

They do hockey and football in the winter term netball and something else in the spring term I think and tennis and athletics in the summer.

The hockey club runs for the serious ones.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 14:18:02

Dd tries to do as little sport as possible.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 14:24:47

Seriously, I would be amazed if she gets away with 6 games of hockey......

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 14:47:33

They have 1 period of games per week plus 1 period of PE which is gymnastics, dance and something else

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 05-Apr-13 14:50:40

Ah orienteering/team building

Autumn term was football, hockey & netball on a carousel
Spring term isn't on the website

TomDudgeon Fri 05-Apr-13 15:22:37

Thank goodness for this thread. It's just reminded me I need more ds2 labels for summer kit

diabolo Fri 05-Apr-13 18:20:22

My DS is a defender and has taken a hockey ball in the face several times, needing trips to hospital for suspected fractured cheekbones.

He now wears a full face guard for short corners and no-one is allowed to play without at least a mouthguard,

PLEASE reconsider your position on this pictures.

difficultpickle Fri 05-Apr-13 18:28:58

When I got ds's basic uniform and sports kit (winter only, I've just bought summer stuff) I sewed on 54 labels. That included huge labels with his initials on for all the sports kit. It took me the best part of a day to do. For some reason his current school has so much more kit than his previous school and both were private. The individual bits of kit were cheaper than our local state primary but the overall cost was more as the quantities was so much more. Ds's school has a uniform shop on site which is very handy. I can email them with my list, pop a cheque in ds's school bag and they leave the uniform to be collected from the school office. Handy as I'm never around when the school shop is open. I know the person who runs it too so I don't even have to worry about sizing as she knows ds and is always spot on.

difficultpickle Fri 05-Apr-13 18:33:04

A tip for cleaning marks off wool dry clean only blazers - baby wipes are fab. Recommended by ds's school matron and they work a treat. As he has to wear his blazer all day every day I still end up getting it cleaned at the end of every term.

1805 Fri 05-Apr-13 18:38:30

Why not get a mouth guard? £7 in sports direct.

Mind you, I've only used the Opro fitting service once when dd had no front top teeth, but they were starting to grow through. They claimed they accommodate situations like this.
But the fitting made her throw up, and it no longer fits her because her front teeth have now grown through. With ds I've always done them at home and re boiled them when necessary. He has had a hockey stick in his mouth that split his lip, but his teeth were all fine thanks to the mouth guard.

OP - how much you need depends on how messy dd gets, how much she loses things, how often you do laundry, and how quickly the uniform will dry. I don't know anyone with more than one blazer.

LIZS Fri 05-Apr-13 18:40:01

I'm shocked any school allows competitive ball sports without appropriate protection . Agree a boil n bite is less than £10 and can protect not only teeth but head injury from the impact.

TomDudgeon Fri 05-Apr-13 19:00:38

Ah sewing
It's the name label on inside
Loop on inside
plus initials on outside

On three billion bits of uniform for each child

I've ordered the largest amount of labels this time

difficultpickle Fri 05-Apr-13 21:00:50

Ds got an expensive fitted mouthguard complete with his name printed on it and it had disappeared within a week. I had to collect him from school on a boarding night and fit a boil one or else he wouldn't have been allowed to play his team rugby match (he'd had to miss practice because he couldn't find it the previous day).

bringonthesummer Fri 05-Apr-13 21:41:25

Op I was in the same situation last spring .we went to the summer term fair and bought blazer , dresses etc from the second hand uniform stall ( was scrum free) .Also i made the mistake of buying blouses from the official uniform shop , these were more exspensive and only lasted 2 terms ... Will go John Lewis or m&s next time !

Mutteroo Sat 06-Apr-13 20:06:54

DD broke a front tooth climbing on a water slide on holiday aged 11 & days before she started at senior school. DS broke a front tooth aged 14 playing squash. Neither activities needed compulsory mouth guards but it would have made life a lot easier if they had their teeth protected!

Picture, seriously reconsider because it only takes one ball to hit one of your daughters (I hope this doesn't happen) for them to have to tolerate a whole heap of pain & embarrassment.

Back got the OP. I can only add go to the second hand uniform sales. When DD first started in the private sector, I brought all bar her blazer as brand new items. What a fool I was. I thought that's what all parents did & it took another term for me to find out that only the foolish ones like me paid the full whack! I paid £30 per skirt & £20 per blouse....Madness. DS's uniforms were always very reasonably priced & the only expensive items were the rugby shirts. Brought two of these as mud is hell to get clean & they couldn't be tumble dried.

Ditto what others have said about school coats. They will end up being left at home & ignored even with hail, sleet & snow. Congrats to your daughter. Hope she enjoys her last few months in primary & her new senior school.

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