Schoolwear News

School uniform costs just 45p a day – new study shows

20.08.2015

Survey reveals parents spend more on clothing worn out of school than on uniform

New research shows school uniform costs on average just 45p per school day, and the real drain on many family budgets is the clothing children wear when they’re not in school.

The back-to-school uniform shop is almost upon us, and soon parents will be rushing to pick up their child’s outfit for the new term.

For some parents, school uniform may be a grudge purchase, but new research by Oxford Brookes University reveals the average secondary school outfit comes in at a modest £88.05, just 45 pence per school day. With PE kit, the total averages £127.32.

Meanwhile, a poll of 2,000 parents shows they typically spend more on outfits their children wear outside of school than they do on uniform with almost half dressing their children in high street and designer fashions. The average non-uniform outfit came in at £113.

The Schoolwear Association, which represents all those involved in the manufacture, retail and supply of school specific uniform, commissioned research from Oxford Brookes University to find out true figures on the average cost of a full school uniform bought when a child starts a new school, alongside a survey of parents by OnePoll which looked at what children wear when they are not in uniform.

Chairman David Burgess said: “For hard-pressed families, school uniform represents real value, especially when compared with the outfits children would choose to wear when they are out of school. In fact, it can be even better value than these figures suggest because many items last more than a year, particularly blazers which are typically the most expensive uniform item. We completely understand that for the poorest in society, uniform is a significant expense but most schools have arrangements in place to help, and many of our members contribute to those schemes by providing free uniform for those in need. Most parents can afford to buy their children’s uniform, and like teachers, they agree that quality, school specific uniform contributes to better education and behaviour. It is a worthwhile investment, and we believe every child is worth it.”

Lynn McBain, Consultant Researcher at Oxford Brookes University, said: “School uniform has a modest cost, especially given the amount of time children spend wearing it, and almost certainly represents better value than non-uniform clothes. There are regional variations, but overall the cost to parents is relatively small when you weigh up the usage it gets and the added benefits it provides, which include pride in appearance and a sense of belonging to a school.”

The research puts the average price of a full primary school uniform in the UK at £33.48 with secondary school uniform at £88.05. Adding PE kit put the figures up to £42.32 for primary and £127.32 for secondary.

The Schoolwear Association points out that on average schoolchildren wear their uniform for ten hours a day, nearly 2,000 hours a year, but parents spend more on clothing that their children wear less – only during school holidays, weekends and in the evenings. On average, families shell out £63 per child on outfits for the six-week summer holidays.

The most expensive individual non-school uniform garment costs on average £46.58, more than the cost of an entire primary school uniform. Four out of ten parents buy branded clothing such as Jack Wills, Ralph Lauren, Nike and Hollister. Half shop at Next for out of school clothing where a similar outfit to the Schoolwear basket researched by Oxford Brookes – two t-shirts, a pair of tracksuit bottoms, jumper and a pack of socks – for a teenager costs around a third more than the average secondary school uniform.

The school uniform basket the research investigated consisted of two polo shirts or shirts, one pair of trousers or skirt, one sweatshirt and a pack of five pairs of socks for the primary school uniform. The secondary school uniform basket included two shirts, one tie, one pair of trousers or a skirt, one sweatshirt or cardigan, one blazer and a pack of three pairs of socks.

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