Schools warned against high school uniform costsRebranding could be costly for parents

30 August 2012

school boy book

Schools that want to 'rebrand' have been told to use common sense when it comes to changing school uniforms - but what can parents do to cut the costs?

Around 50% of secondary schools in England and Wales are now academies (independently-run schools) or are in the process of becoming academies, and many primary schools are following suit. 

While many of these schools may want to 'rebrand' themselves, the Local Government Association has warned them to use common sense with regards any new school uniform rules.

Ideally changes to school uniform would only involve sew-on or iron-on patches, allowing parents to customise inexpensive items. In addition, sports kits should be plain so they can be used for a variety of sports.

The cost of school uniforms

According to the Department for Education the average cost of a secondary school uniform is £200, and £160 for primary school, not including the costs of a sports kit.

Which? deputy home editor Hazel Cottrell says: 'School uniforms can be an expensive purchase, especially when new items are often needed each year. School governing bodies should always be mindful of parents' needs, particular with regards to finances. 

'There is help out there for struggling parents on benefits or a low income. You might be entitled to clothing grants or vouchers from your local authority, so visit the Directgov website to find out.

'Plus, take a look at our back to school guide to see the latest school uniform deals and back to school essentials.'

School uniform deals

If your child's school uniform includes generic items that can be bought on the high street, savvy shopping can help you save. 

New Which? research has found that the higher priced items aren't always better.We got a tailor to assess the quality of five of the same items from Asda, BHS, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Asda came top for overall value, based on the price and our expert tailor's quality ratings. It came second for price (£15.50) and ranked second overall for quality. 

Read the full story - Asda school uniform comes top for value

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