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Spiralling cost of school uniform: High price of the return to the classroom

PUBLISHED: 10:49 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:54 04 September 2014

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(c) Jetta Productions

Help is at hand though for those on low incomes

Parents are counting the cost of the return to school this week as uniform costs mount up for families already feeling the financial pinch.

As the economy falters back into life, many children starting secondary school this week will have faced a minimum bill of £100 to acquire all the necessary uniform and sports gear required.

And those starting primary education are facing a high price too.

Teaching union the NASUWT has been campaigning against the steady rise in the costs associated with education for a number of years.

In England, there is no automatic right to a grant to help pay for back to school costs.

While Bromley Council, for example, doesn’t currently offer direct funding for parents struggling to buy school uniforms, it says funding is available in many instances through the Department of Education, but parents need to ensure that their child has registered to receive free school meals.

A council spokesman said: “We are aware a number of primary schools are offering support with uniforms for those children in receipt of the pupil premium.

“This is paid by the Department of Education to the school for children who have registered for free school meals. Whilst children in Reception and Years 1 and 2 will automatically now receive free school meals as part of government reforms the council would encourage any parent entitled to free school meals to register to ensure the school does not miss out on important additional funding as their child progresses through the school.”

James Ferrin, from Gravesend, has three children.

He said: “School uniform can be really costly and when schools insist on specially embroidered items, only sold at selective outlets the price rises dramatically.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “There is a real danger that some parents could find that the cost of school uniform, curriculum activities and equipment in some schools puts admission to the school of their choice way beyond their financial means.”

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