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Would I be THAT parent

(72 Posts)
MrsJunglelow Thu 22-Oct-20 13:39:40

To write and complain..?

DSs school uniform came to over £100 and on top of that, for PE they also want him to have studded football boots, essential apparently for health and safety hmm, a branded coat, branded rugby jumper, football shin pads, tall football socks, branded jumper...
That’s in addition to the cost of school meals and I imagine in the future trips out and residentials too.

I have bought him the school branded PE top and black joggers and trainers but quite honestly, I’m getting quite fucked off with the exorbitant price of things I’m just expected to keep paying out for and will be punished if I don’t.
If he wears an unbranded hoodie for example, we’ve been told it’ll be confiscated as only the branded allowed.

Some families are really poor and frankly, it strikes me as really discriminatory and cruel.
Where do they think parents have the money?

The branded coat for example, we bought him one, it cost £40!
It’s a shitty cheap Mac fabric, no where near worth £40.
The supplier took weeks to send it out and when it finally arrived, no exaggeration, it would have fitted a muscular adult man!
My DS is 11, the coat was loose on my 34 year old DH...

I’m just feeling really hacked off.
The prices are excessive, the products aren’t worth it, my child will be punished if he doesn’t have them.


How on earth do poor families cope?

OP’s posts: |
dontdisturbmenow Thu 22-Oct-20 13:42:37

What kind of school is that? Is it a posh area?

lyralalala Thu 22-Oct-20 13:43:05

How on earth do poor families cope?

In many cases it's a way of pricing them out of being able to send their child to that school

MrsJunglelow Thu 22-Oct-20 13:44:13

What kind of school is that? Is it a posh area?
It’s a state school and in a perfectly alright area.
Not massively rich but not poor either.
Just average

OP’s posts: |
MatildaTheCat Thu 22-Oct-20 13:46:24

Some of this is reasonable and some not. Write to the governors and ask for a rationale of some of the more seemingly daft examples?

SpongebobNoPants Thu 22-Oct-20 13:46:44

They cannot insist on all branded items of clothing for starters, uniform policies can state items need to be a certain style/colour but they absolutely cannot insist it is branded so I’d fight that for starters shock

Toothsil Thu 22-Oct-20 13:48:21

We have to have the proper rugby top, shorts, socks, hoodie, football boots, 2 pairs of trainers. We only found out after they were back at school, after buying all the normal uniform, that they have to be in their PE kits 3 days a week and uniform only 2 days.

Then a couple of weeks ago, DD came home and said that for the following Wednesday, they had been told to take a full spare PE kit, and it had to be the proper branded stuff! So we had to buy another whole new set. Then the following week an email came saying they all had to have black waterproofs for PE. We'd only just got her blue waterproofs earlier in the year that still fit. I'm absolutely fed up of the demands of the PE department! I honestly don't know how some people afford it. There was a time when we'd really have struggled with that.

0hforfoxsake Thu 22-Oct-20 13:48:45

Who cares about being ‘that’ parent? Yes, make your feelings known.

Then start asking around on FB or whatever for secondhand uniform. Half of the stuff o the list won’t be used/necessary.

Buy the biggest kids sizes you can. Once they grow out of kids, it’s extra VAT so you’ll be paying adult prices.

Shit innit?

PumpkinetChocolat Thu 22-Oct-20 13:50:03

studded football boots, essential apparently for health and safety
on a muddy field, you can't really argue that flat trainers would be a good idea...

YANBU to find the cost too expensive for poor quality items. You could ask other parents, or just make a post on your local group, you won't be the only one.

It's not about being that parent to be unhappy about expensive branded items. If the majority (and governors etc) agrees, you might get somewhere.

Sometimes schools are forced to impose a strict uniform to stop parents taking liberties, who knows what the case is here. If you don't say anything, and no one else does, things are not going to change.

PumpkinetChocolat Thu 22-Oct-20 13:51:03


They cannot insist on all branded items of clothing for starters, uniform policies can state items need to be a certain style/colour but they absolutely cannot insist it is branded so I’d fight that for starters shock

good luck with that.

VioletSunset Thu 22-Oct-20 13:51:19

I've spent more on my childs school uniform than I will spend on him at Christmas. Its shite.

MillieVanilla Thu 22-Oct-20 13:52:27

A while back there was an MP who was trying to have schools banned from using expensive monogrammed items as it was discriminatory to children from poorer households. He actually asked for info from parents to back him up and pointed out that in Asda you can buy a pack of perfectly serviceable uniform for under a fiver but some schools uniform comes to hundreds and there was no logical reason for that.
I'm not sure what happened to it, I assume Covid perhaps.
But it is a joke and to threaten demerits and detentions on the child is disgraceful as it's not their fault.
I also think schools should lay off and recognise how many are genuinely struggling right now, myself included..I emailed my school and said if they took DDs sweatshirt away and left her cold all day she would not be doing PE again and I would speak to the LEA as it was stupid when we are meant to not take health risks and protect the NHS. Suffice to say the whole plan was revoked.

Hardbackwriter Thu 22-Oct-20 13:53:05

Like others I think that some of this is reasonable and required for the sport (studded boots, shin pads, long socks to go over the shin pads) but that all the branded stuff is not, so I would complain but keep it focused entirely on the insistence on branded items.

dontdisturbmenow Thu 22-Oct-20 13:53:08

Not massively rich but not poor either
Surely then you can't be the only THAT parent?

londonscalling Thu 22-Oct-20 13:55:38

My children's school is like that too. There is only one shop that supplies it all and they are very expensive. It's not a private school.

They lose half their uniform too!

There is a Facebook group for school parents selling second hand (good condition) uniform. You might want to check to see if the parents at your school have done something similar.

I've sent them in to school in plain things sometimes or different trainers etc and nothing has been said.

You could contact the school and tell them you're finding it difficult. They may help!

SpongebobNoPants Thu 22-Oct-20 14:00:57

@PumpkinetChocolat you cannot be made to either buy the specified uniform or made to force your child to wear it. As long as the clothes are appropriate and following the same guidelines for style and colour.
According to parliamentary guidance, a school’s uniform policy should be clearly set out, be subject to reasonable requests for variation, and that any changes should take into account the views of parents and pupils.
Also as of 2015 schools are also obliged to keep requests for branded items to a minimum and publish their best price practice. Parents can request to see which uniform companies were approached / tendered and if complaints are received regarding quality or price they have to review their uniform policy and suppliers.

Here is it a direct quote from the December 2015 House of Commons briefing:

The school uniform should be easily available for parents to purchase and schools should seek to select items that can be purchased cheaply, for example in a supermarket or other good value shop. Schools should keep compulsory branded items to a minimum and avoid specifying expensive items of uniform eg expensive outdoor coats

goldierocks Thu 22-Oct-20 14:02:57

Hello OP

I sympathise, I'm a single Mum to one DS (now at uni). No maintenance, ever.

If they do outdoor sports in winter, studded boots are absolutely needed. Trainers/plimsolls have insufficient grip in muddy conditions.

My DS's secondary school was the same. Branded everything, including 4 lots of P.E. kit (swimming caps and towels included).

It was by far the best school in the area, I was thrilled he got a place. It was also very clear from the prospectus, website and headmaster's open evening speech that the school was very strict about uniform, so parents knew what to expect if they put the school as a preference. It would be very different for parents who have been allocated a school they didn't apply for.

I kitted my DS out with everything from the school's second-hand shop, including thick winter school coat and blazer, plus all sports kit and branded school and P.E. bags. Every item was brand new, mostly unnamed items not claimed by the end of the previous term. It cost me less than half of unbranded supermarket versions. For example, I got him three new school jumpers for £6 (£2 each) when they cost £24.99 each from the single school uniform supplier. New trousers were £1.50 a pair.

Does your DS's school have a second-hand shop? Definitely worth a look.

With regards to the trips, my DS went to Spain, Germany, Iceland, Belgium and various places in the UK. He didn't go on the annual skiing trip. I could never have afforded family holidays (i.e. the two of us) to these destinations. The school had a fund for parents in my situation, which halved the cost. They let me pay the remainder in monthly instalments over a year, which made them (just about) affordable. Hopefully your DS's school has a similar scheme?

Watermelon999 Thu 22-Oct-20 14:09:05

Our school is the same but we bought big sizes and they’ve lasted 4-5 years, so not that expensive when you think it lasts a long time.

I have no idea how people on very low incomes afford it, but considering in our primary school kids were made fun of If they had branded jumpers bought cheap from the local market, as apparently you could tell the difference, I would imagine high school is worse.

Interestingly, kids who were on fsm from low income families were often the ones who ended up going on the ski trips, having the Canada goose coat and the latest i phones, whereas our (average income) kids didn’t get chance to go on these trips, had old hand-me-down phones and non-designer coats.

Etinox Thu 22-Oct-20 14:09:31

This country’s attitude to school uniform baffles me. I don’t know why we put up with it. One part that doesn’t baffle me that schools obviously use expensive uniform for back door selection

Watermelon999 Thu 22-Oct-20 14:11:10

Also, my dd lost her whole pe bag on her first term....I nearly cried at having to replace everything, but thankfully after a week of wearing one from lost property, luckily it turned up!

BoudicasBoudoir Thu 22-Oct-20 14:15:36

School uniform is nonsense. I can’t understand why so many people take it so seriously.

Pipandmum Thu 22-Oct-20 14:17:33

No second hand resources?
My kids go to a private school and it's well over £300 to kit them out. But even they allow substitutions - navy coat is fine on winter days, navy unbranded rainjacket too. As long as the the trousers look like the uniform they are fine. Sports kit in particular hard to 'cheat' with as every piece is either a school logo or school colours. But I got second hand tops and they've lasted a few years.
I did not have a uniform growing up, but my experience with mufti days here and I am more than happy my kids have to wear one!

WhatWouldYouDoWhatWouldJesusDo Thu 22-Oct-20 14:18:04


I have a friend who is very low income and likely to remain so for a long while. She actually started tucking money away for the secondary school years when her DC were babies as she heard so many horror stories........ That £10 a month she joked about putting away from the family allowance is now very well needed. The prices are just ridiculous.

I'd advise anyone to do the same tbh. It's a hell of a lot less painful saved for over a few years instead of paying it all in one.

Whatwouldscullydo Thu 22-Oct-20 14:18:07

Personally I'm.against uniform. You cant call something a leveller then expect them to spend 2/3/4 hundred pounds to get through the doors. Sometimes its more. Sometimes they need chrome books ajd ipads etc too.

Course you could just buy 1 lit I suppose but then you have to wash it and dry it over night 2 or 3 times a week whilst working to avoid having the smelly kid in sweaty polyester.

It cant be about bullying either becuase no bully ever stopped being a bully when you bought the latest nike trainers. They just moved onto something else.

I'd like to know what a kid can do in a 35 pound blazer from a uniform shop that can't also be done by a kid in a 10 pound asda blazer.

Its criminal how kids are priced out of eveb going to a school before they even get there.

If there is uniform then it should he sensible akd affordable. Kids shouldn't suffer just because sone snobby parent don't want to have their grammar school kid mistaken for a pupil from the "rough" academy down the road because there was no way to tell them apart.

They even seem to dictate coats these days as... coats aren't even worn in class hmm

BlackeyedSusan Thu 22-Oct-20 14:20:30

It is against the dept educations guidelines. like our school. though I am glad we are ot having to buy a branded coat, don't let the head know or it will be the next thing on the list.

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