School uniform is meant to be a great leveller. Everyone wears the same, and the Child Poverty Action Group says it should be “the cheapest option for most families”.The costs can still be huge, though. On average, £315 per year for each primary school child, and £337 for each child in secondary school – over three times what parents think is reasonable.
I work on Covid Realities, a major research programme that has been partnering with families on a low income since June 2020. Parents can write diaries and take part in Zoom groups, make zines, and answer video questions through our website (and you can stillget involved!)
One of the strengths of Covid Realities is that if something worries families, it soon becomes clear. And each time schools re-open, a wave of concerned parents have told us how difficult it is to afford school uniforms.
Uniform for her only daughter ate up over half of Alannah’s monthly income. “Am anxious and financially broke, paying £310 pound for school uniform. When I only receive £556 a month,” she wrote.
Andrea N, a mum of two, told us that the sudden, unavoidable costs of uniform was a huge added stress: “With ever increasing cost regards food, electricity and gas I am struggling now with a brand-new uniform for my eldest child… It’s just money, money, money in already stressful and difficult times.“
Schools are back for the summer term, and with it the clamour to buy new uniform for warmer days. But new research released today, shows for many families the cost of uniform is tipping precariously balanced budgets dangerously into the red https://t.co/oaHaYFxMeB
— Covid Realities (@CovidRealities) April 19, 2021