Can we make better use of School Uniform?

Helen Chambers, Director Eco Communities

With the rising cost of living school uniform is something that most families are dreading the thought of, which makes sense as Uniform actually gets thrown out far quicker than it wears out.

I have just totalled up the cost for my eldest going up a size in most of his uniform and PE kit for next term and it’s a whopping £188.25, and that’s without new shoes which he will most likely need after a summer of eating, sleeping and growing. Thankfully he wont need a new coat either, as I bought the last one far too big for him to ‘grow into’. 

Luckily his uniform will be handed down to my youngest, but it is estimated more than 1.4 million school uniforms are thrown away every year rather than recycled.  On the other hand latest figures show that 1 in 5 families struggle to access affordable school uniform for their Children and this is resulting in higher levels of bullying and truancy.

The day I started writing this I got a very welcome email from my sons’ school to say that, now we are able to, with the help of volunteers they have sorted through a pile of donated uniform over the last two years. They will now be letting parents put in requests of what items they might need, for a small donation to the school. Hopefully more schools will now be able to do this.

I have also recently come across a website Uniformerly It is a platform to make donating, purchasing and selling uniform easy in the UK. There are 32,000 schools in UK and only 2,600 currently on the platform so lots more to get involved. It will hopefully help to remove the stigma, families to reduce costs, improve education access and give uniform a second life!

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