in the know

School uniform: Can it be bought more cheaply?

It’s the time of year when many parents are buying their children’s school uniform, which some say can cost more than £200. What can they do to make it cheaper?

The cost of school uniform

Research by market analysts Mintel suggests British parents spend about £1.2bn on clothing and equipment for school.

The Department for Education (DfE) asked 1,183 parents about uniform costs in 2015 and found it came to almost £213 per child. Adjusting its figures for inflation, it would make the average cost of uniform in 2019 almost £230 per pupil.

School children in uniform

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Cost of school uniform

What parents recalled spending

  • £230Average spend on uniform (excluding PE kit)
  • £259Secondary school girl
  • £249Secondary school boy
  • £217Primary school girl
  • £207Primary school boy

Source: DfE survey of 1,183 parents in 2015, figures adjusted for inflation

Adding in PE kit, the parents surveyed spent the equivalent to £70 more for primary school children and between £111 and £140 extra for those of secondary school age.

The results were based on parents’ memories of how much they had spent during the school year.

Separate estimates from The Children’s Society in 2018 put the total cost of uniform at £256 per primary school child and £338 per secondary school pupil.