Should parents buy new school uniforms every year?

Should you buy everything new when your kids go back to school? [Photo: Getty]
Should you buy everything new when your kids go back to school? [Photo: Getty]

A mum has sparked an online debate about whether or not parents should be an entire new uniform when their kids go back to school.

Taking to parenting site Mumsnet the woman explained that her children think she’s being unreasonable for refusing to buy them an entirely new school uniform and other essentials.

“I’ve replaced some clothes that they’ve outgrown or worn out last year, but lots of things still fit and are wearable,” she wrote.

“I got them lunch bags during the summer term last year, so they are nearly new. Their water bottles and book bags from the last year are still fine.”

The mum went on to say that her children have called her mean because they claim all of their friends will have everything new when they go back to school.

She ended her post by asking if everyone really completely replaces all their kids school stuff every single year?

And many parents were of the same opinion that an entire school uniform wasn’t required for the start of the school year.

“I replace what needs replacing not just for the sake of it. What a waste,” one user wrote.

“We replace as and when we need to,” another agreed. “It’s a monumental waste of money to replace for the sake of it every year, and teaches children that their belongings are disposable.”

“Clothes and shoes are saved for younger siblings and replaced when they wear out. Bags, stationary and lunch boxes are replaced when they are worn out. I expect a few years at least out of them.”

Some parents suggested the mum explain to her kids that is it bad for the environment to replace uniforms if it isn’t needed.

“Play the environmental/waste card. They learn a lot about the environment at school these days, and it works,” one user suggested.

“Mine have given up their beloved Nutella because of palm oil! Seriously, it’s madness to replace stuff that doesn’t need replacing, but lots of kids will have brand new everything because of their parents’ hangups.”

But other parents agreed with the original poster’s children that new everything was required for the return to school.

“Mine get new ‘everything’ for September,” one user wrote.

“I grew up as the child that had to make do and mend (usually meant trousers had holes in the crotch where they had rubbed away) and it is not fun. I was a walking advertisement for bullies!!!

“I will do whatever it takes for my children never to dread school because they don’t have decent clothes to wear. I know this is my issue but it doesn’t change how I feel about it,” the user continued.

“I like mine to wear all new on the 1st day,” another agreed. “Just so they look smart. I will usually add back in last year’s stuff, the stuff that fits and is stainfree [sic], in the 2nd week.”

Some parents like to put their children in entirely new uniforms [Photo: Getty]
Some parents like to put their children in entirely new uniforms [Photo: Getty]

Other parents made their decision about how much new stuff to buy based on what their own parents did at this time of year.

“I definitely got new stationary and a pencil case, and a new bag and shoes every year,” one user explained.

“Mum wanted to get us excited for school and it worked. DPs parents didn’t get him new things though, and he doesn’t seem any worse for wear.”

Last week a Children’s Society survey revealed that 1m children in England live in families that are falling into debt in order to meet rising school uniform costs.

This equates to 13% of parents, up from 7% in 2015.

In response food banks are now offering donated school uniforms to ease the strain for families struggling to provide uniforms for their children.

The Children’s Society report, The Wrong Blazer 2018, said parents were spending an average of £340 per year on a uniform for each secondary schoolchild, and £255 per child at primary school.

The charity said more than one parent in 20 claimed their child had been sent home for wearing the wrong clothes or shoes, due to them struggling to afford the items.

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