West Midland parents spend £241 million on school uniforms

Image courtesy of Adityamanutd

Image courtesy of Adityamanutd

By Martina Brajkovic

Parents across the West Midlands spent £241 million on school uniforms and accessories during the last academic year, according to the Children’s Society.

Coventry parents were found to have spent £14.5 million alone and Warwickshire parents spent £21.7 million on items such as shoes, bags, books and jumpers.

The extravagant expenditure can be linked to schools’ strict uniform policies that force parents to buy from specialist shops that provide branded school clothes, instead of letting them grab bargain items from supermarkets and sew on the school logos themselves.

Comparison of prices

Comparison of prices

We found significant differences in prices between supermarket and specialised uniform shops. The supermarkets offer great value for money and help parents maintain a reasonable budget. The process of raising a child is expensive enough for new parents without adding the extra costs for school uniforms.

Rob Willoughby, area director for The Children’s Society in the West Midlands, said: “Parents in the West Midlands are fed up with paying the costs of stringent and prescriptive school uniform requirements that deprive them of the choice to shop around.

“They are digging even deeper into their pockets to pay for books, bags and blazers when what they really want is for their children to receive a good education and a good start in life.”

He added: “We know that children whose parents cannot afford the cost of specialist uniforms face punishment and bullying for not having exactly the right clothes or kit. It’s time for the Government to introduce legally-binding rules to stop schools from making parents pay over the odds for items available only at specialist shops.”

There is also very little difference in quality between supermarket school clothes and specialised shop uniforms. So why should parents have to spend more money than they should?

One of these blazers is £28 and the other £11; can you tell the difference between the Clive Mark blazer and the Asda blazer?

Which is which?

Which is which?


Sub-edited by Natalie McFall and Simon Pipe

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