The cost-of-living crisis means it has become a struggle to buy uniforms for the children ahead of the new school year, parents said.
Without the teachers’ handouts, unemployed mother of two Hollie Phillips says she wouldn’t be able to send her six-year-old son Albie to school.
Ms Phillips from Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, said her uniform, which includes a sweater, trousers, a polo shirt and a PE kit, comes to around £300 once she has bought shoes, socks and her bag, an amount that she cannot pay. .
“It’s horrible. Obviously, there are nights when I don’t sleep because I think how am I going to be able to afford anything,” said Phillips, who hopes to return to work next week.
“There are so many things we can’t do because I have to think, ‘Well, he needs his uniform for school.'”
Albie wears the same shirt from the reception. Hollie says he’s “gross,” but it’s something she’s had to deal with.
She is not the only mother struggling to dress her son for school.
In Kent, Gillingham Street Angels is a charity that helps people in need.
What started as a soup kitchen is now also a uniform bank, where more than 2,000 items are delivered to families each month. The items come from schools, parents and local supermarkets.
“We’re giving out at least a couple thousand articles a month right now, and I think it’s going to grow,” CEO Neil Charlick said.
“We originally started as a homeless charity. Now it’s all kinds of people,” he added.
“It’s not just people who are struggling or people who get benefits, but people who have full-time employment. We don’t judge, so when you get here you don’t have to prove you’re poor.”
Kate Hardcastle, an independent financial planning expert known as the “client charmer,” says parents may need to be more open to talking with their kids about financial issues, while also finding creative ways to make items more affordable. last.
“I think it’s great when we can have conversations with kids about how finances work and what we can and can’t afford, and help get kids involved in the story of taking care of things,” she said.
“So if it’s something like a pair of shoes, take care of those shoes, take care of them, take them off properly, polish them, maybe reward them, if they take care of those items.”
A spokesman for the Department for Education said the government has introduced new guidance for schools in England, which means they must keep the cost of the uniform low, including by limiting branded items and ensuring second-hand options are available.
“We know that schools and families face higher cost pressures across the board, which is why this government is providing more than £37 billion to help households in greatest need and support families through the Support Fund. Home,” they said.