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School uniforms

(108 Posts)
watermeadow Wed 05-Sep-18 19:16:53

To think academies’ uniform policies are ridiculous and unreasonable.
My granddaughter has just started secondary school and her uniform cost hundreds of pounds. Every item had to be bought from the school shop at top prices but poor quality. She needed five different items just for PE, including short socks and long socks, all with school logo. What the hell does it matter what socks they wear!
This is a state comprehensive school. I cannot imagine how poor parents manage and what about those with twins or triplets?
If a child wears the wrong thing to school they get punished, even if their uniform has been stolen or their expensive shoes have fallen apart.

Greenfinch Wed 05-Sep-18 19:52:41

I do agree watermeadow.My twin grandchildren started secondary school today and it cost £350 plus to kit them out. The PE kit was incredibly expensive and then there was all the stationery they needed. £25 for a locker key as well !

Situpstraight1 Wed 05-Sep-18 19:53:30

My GDs school had just changed its uniform, so there aren’t even any second hand ones available.
The prices of kids shoes are unbelievable for a 14 year old with size 6 and 1/2 feet.

gillybob Wed 05-Sep-18 20:04:58

I sympathise warermeadow my eldest DGD is in an academy secondary school and she can only buy the uniform from school . They gave a very strict uniform policy and everything has to have the school emblem down to the PE socks ! Ridiculous prices . We have all had to chip in and help again .

Iam64 Wed 05-Sep-18 20:08:38

I know school uniform is something seen as sacred by many people in this country. It's become a given, that children who wear an expensive uniform behave better and achieve more academically than if they were allowed to arrive in a pair of jeans and a sweat shirt.
Travel through most other European countries and you see exactly that, children going to school in ordinary clothes. Yes yes, I can hear the outcry from some, who will suggest that a uniform ensures all children look alike. No they don't. The poor children will have one item of each uniform piece (if they're lucky), their parents are less likely to have the wherewithal to wash and dry uniform overnight so by the end of the week they look bedraggled whereas the better of children continue to look ok.
What's wrong with a pair of jeans/jogging bottoms, plain trainers and a T shirt, plus sweat shirt. Nothing is wrong with it and it's inexpensive and easy to replace when the little ** lose it.

gillybob Wed 05-Sep-18 20:23:36

Because in my DGD’s school the school make a fortune out of uniform sales Iam64 hmm

harrigran Wed 05-Sep-18 20:27:12

My GD takes a size 7 in shoes at 12 years old, the choice of regulation shoes are limited. All uniform has to be purchased from school, including science and art overalls. Even PE socks have the school badge on and must be in the pupil's house colours.

MawBroon Wed 05-Sep-18 20:49:19

Our threee all went to an independent girls’ day school.
There was a secondhand uniform shop in the basement below the chapel where everybody kitted their daughters our for a fraction of the “new” price.
The black lace up shoes specified on the uniform list were indistinguishable from DMs which we bought at a Doc Martens factory shop in Bedford for about £15 a pair.
There’s a logic in this somewhere.

Beau Wed 05-Sep-18 20:54:26

Hasn't it always been so? My grammar school uniform all had to be bought from John Lewis in Oxford Street in 1967 and apparently almost cleaned out my policeman dad's savings. Not only the usual blazer, gabardine mac, skirt, shirts, tie, complete PE kit, science overall, wooden socks and garters, indoor shoes to protect the parquet floors, outdoor shoes etc. but to add insult to injury the 'third form' (starters) had a different style felt hat to identify them as first years (although the same navy straw boater for the summer). Then add a tennis racquet, lacrosse stick, bible, book of common prayer, hymn book - I remember the arguments between my parents to this day ?
Sadly by the time my sister passed her 11 plus, they were divorced and my mum's second marriage was a poor one - she had to go to the local secondary modern in a different area where they had relocated, for which she never forgave my mum.
Not saying it's right, just that this uniform expense is nothing new. I actually like school uniforms but I think they could be a little less rigid in some cases.

Beau Wed 05-Sep-18 20:55:26

That's woollen socks ?

crystaltipps Wed 05-Sep-18 21:15:00

I think it has got worse since the privatisation of state schools into academy chains, with them trying to emulate posh public schools into which one has the most elaborate uniform. I’m sure it doesn’t make the kids behave better, just makes money for the private companies which run the schools. It’s all a complete racket. In countries where the kids wear what they like it tends to be jeans and t shirts, and doesn’t impact on achievement.

Melanieeastanglia Wed 05-Sep-18 21:34:01

In general terms, I like the idea of uniform but I do not think it should be as rigid or expensive as described above.

EthelJ Wed 05-Sep-18 22:04:01

I agree Iam64 I think uniform is totally unnecessary. My children went through their whole school life without wearing uniform. There was no bullying about clothes and the children themselves learnt about what were the best type of clothes to wear for different situations. In work unless you are a nurse, police officer etc we aren't told what colour socks or type of shoes to wear.

Without a uniform my children's school was able to focus on what really mattered IE teaching and behaviour as a result the school was a very happy place with few disciplinary issues because the children didn't feel the rules were pointless.
I don't understand the obsession with uniform these days it's as if some schools see them as a sign of a good quality school which they really are not!

fourormore Wed 05-Sep-18 22:10:35

I can remember fluking the 11+ years ago (early 1960s) and getting a scholarship to the convent grammar school. My Grandma bought my school uniform (from the specific supplier of course) as there was no way Mum could afford it. Thankfully she didn't have this problem until beyond primary school.
I totally agree with a uniform policy as it is a leveller.
However, a couple of years ago we kitted out both our little granddaughters from a local supermarket!
Pinafore dresses, polo shirts, red cardigans; plus shorts and T-shirts for PE, white socks, tights and even shoes - paying a total of about £40 per child!
Most of those clothes came in packs of two or more (polo shirts etc.) so each girl had 'spares' too.
Last year their primary school became an academy.
Now supermarket clothes are banned - replaced by cardigans/sweatshirts emblazoned with the embroidered school badge at £23 each for starters.
Our son and daughter-in-law both work really hard, doing shift work. No Disney holidays or the like for them.
Without the help of us all, they could not do their jobs, and would stand no chance of ever escaping the 'rented accommodation trap' which is their aim, but how on earth do young families deal with these extortionate costs?

MissAdventure Wed 05-Sep-18 22:10:36

I support the uniform idea, but think a sweatshirt is a sweatshirt; as long as its plain and the right colour.
Sainsburys are selling a pack of two in my grandsons colour, for less than the cost of one with the logo.

Jalima1108 Wed 05-Sep-18 22:22:31

What's wrong with a pair of jeans/jogging bottoms, plain trainers and a T shirt, plus sweat shirt. Nothing is wrong with it and it's inexpensive and easy to replace when the little ** lose it.
I think the problem arises when there is no uniform and some of the pupils (girls especially) try to outdo each other and it becomes even more marked who are the 'haves' and who are the 'have nots'.
Some will be wearing very cheap jeans and others wearing designer ones - and that can and does give rise to bullying.

I take the point about expensive uniforms and there does seem to be a trend, not just in academies, for state schools to opt for more expensive uniforms. However, a sensible uniform with reasonable rules about skirt lengths, shoes not plimsolls hmm, etc is more of a leveller imo.

Often it is the wealthier parents who will buy uniforms from the the second-hand shop whereas those on lower incomes will not.

We have a friend who is having to buy three lots of uniform at about £350 - £400 each for the start of this year (a state comprehensive). There is no second-hand option as yet as the uniform has just changed.

M0nica Wed 05-Sep-18 22:22:55

I have never understood the British obsession with school uniform. My experience is that the more prescriptive the uniform, the more ingenious the pupils in finding ways to look as scruffy as possible. I was extremely good at doing it
- and staying within the rules, DD likewise.

DS didn't as his (private) school had a more relaxed attitude, grey trousers, pastel or white shirt, blazer, bought from wherever we wanted. Only the school tie and blazer badge needed to be got from a specific uniform supplier. I think all school uniforms should work like this.

Jalima1108 Wed 05-Sep-18 22:24:24

My goodness, a sensible debate about school uniform!

Perhaps they should all wear onesies.

MissAdventure Wed 05-Sep-18 22:28:15

I really wanted to have a good old rummage in the schools lost property sale, but I was too embarrassed.
I seem to remember it was a bit more 'cloak and dagger' years ago.

Nana3 Wed 05-Sep-18 22:32:40

Well said Melanie.
I agree with the concept of uniform but policies are often inflexible e.g. socks must be knee length and blue not black, (we cant find any for our dgd adult size 7 shoe), it's laughable.
I think uniform can be unaffordable for many families when too prescriptive, e.g. it must have the school badge, what do they do then? ( Not funny).
Children grow so quickly too and by Christmas they often need a new things. Grans are helping out when they can, I know I am.
The Archers did a story line about school shoes with the dad in an absolute panic.

M0nica Wed 05-Sep-18 22:34:01

I think this idea that if children are free to choose, life will be a constant competition. No matter how prescriptive the uniform this always happens anyway. Poor children are excluded or very recogniseable because their uniform is second hand and oftn worn or a bit small, and they will be wearing very cheap shoes. They will also see and socialise with fellow pupils outside school where these differences will be even more obvious.

My children's primary school had rules (no jeans, no track shoes, no t shirts with pictures or slogans) but otherwise wear what you like. It worked very well but in the end they had to have a uniform because parents judged whether a school was good, not on the schools achievements, but whether it had a uniform or not.

Jalima1108 Wed 05-Sep-18 22:39:56

I think this idea that if children are free to choose, life will be a constant competition.
I think that even primary age children (girls) can start a heated debate at 6.30am about what they want to wear to school which can be very wearing to the parents. Having a reasonably priced uniform of trousers/skirts, polo shirts and sweatshirts or cardigans + plain shoes, which they know they have to wear, avoids unnecessary arguments.

MissAdventure Wed 05-Sep-18 22:43:58

Its much like wearing a uniform to work.
I miss that, because now I have to constantly worry about what to wear.
I could do without it.
I'm sure it must actually give the children peace of mind.

Momof3 Wed 05-Sep-18 22:52:12

My daughter went to a school in Europe that only wore uniform for special occasions or trips outside of school.

The families and girls would laugh at your statements. My daughter likes shopping and wearing nice clothes for school she knew she had to make sensible choices. H&M have loads of fashionable clothes reasonably priced for school.

Indoor shoes were worn so parents never had to spend a fortune on shoes only worn at school.

The country ranks way above the UK in its education system.

Jalima1108 Wed 05-Sep-18 23:01:44

The UK is not the only country to have school uniform in many of its schools.