Posted on August 7th, 2020 at 11:00AM
As we navigate our way through this pandemic, our eldest child is about to head off to secondary school. We received the list of things he would need back in June and it is with great interest that I have been keeping track of how much it is costing. For the last 10 years I have seen advocates post requests on Acts 435 for people who were struggling to kit their child out in uniform and I was curious to see how much it was going to cost me.
I am a Yorkshire lass and therefore pretty tight with money! I swiftly commissioned my mum to sew him the apron he needs for art/cooking classes and scrabbled through my stuff to find him my old compass and protractor! However my scientific calculator bit the dust a long time ago so that would need to be purchased. Randomly purple biros were also on the list - they are harder to come by than you might think!
Uniform at the state school he is attending has moved on quite a bit from when I was there. No longer is it a navy jumper or cardigan and navy trousers/skirt which you can pick up from most shops pretty cheaply. Now it is a branded blazer and sleeveless pullover with tie (just these three items alone set me back £57.50).
Yesterday I attended a second hand sale that the school was holding. They did hold two in the first week of the holidays but they conflicted with my work commitments so by the time this one came around I wasn't sure what we would find but thankfully I was able to pick up a second-hand blazer and pullover in readiness for that day when my son throws his dinner down his new ones! However, I would not have wanted to send him to school in second-hand. He is so excited and proud of his new uniform and it is obvious with the second-hand clothes that they are just that.
The plot thickens with PE uniform - the branded logo on the T-shirt has changed over the years meaning it would be obvious to see which is new and which is second-hand. We have settled with a used rugby top for the moment and I am thankful we already have football boots.
So my expenditure to date is:
Branded blazer, pullover, tie £57.50
Black trousers, white shirts and some stationery from the local supermarket £24.30
PE top with correct branding £11
The right colour socks £10
Second hand items at the school £14
Which totals £127.30 so far and leaves .... school shoes and trainers which I will leave until the end of the holidays to make sure we get the right size (he is bound to have grown from his pre-lock-down size).
The limit on Acts 435 is £150 for a request. It will no longer be a surprise to me when I see £150 requested to kit out a child for secondary school. Our children's primary school was a different matter - apart from a branded jumper or cardigan which was only £10, you could get T-shirts and trousers/pinafores cheaply - secondary is a shock to the system. I am bracing myself for when he starts going on trips with the school!!!
To give to live school uniform requests in our appeal please click here.