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MSE Poll: Are you allowed to buy cheap school uniforms?

Poll started 4 September 2018
As classrooms open for another year, buying new school uniform can be a costly exercise – especially if you aren't allowed to shop around for it.

So does your child's school let you buy from supermarkets, or are you restricted to a specific shop?

Which of these is closest to your situation? You can vote in each category if you've got children in different school.
Did you vote? Are you surprised at the results so far? Have your say below. To see the results from last time, click here.

If you haven't already, join the forum to reply.

Thanks! :)



  • KrisDK
    KrisDK Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    Hello, this is my first time posting, but this is something that myself and my wife have often discussed. Our children go to a secondary school that demand all uniform is purchased through one shop.
    The main problem is that other than the ridiculously poor service at this shop, the prices are so expensive. Even skirts have to be bought from there too
    as well as complete PE kits including football socks etc. You can queue for an hour to collect orders and with school restarting tomorrow, you currently CANNOT purchase anything from them, you can only collect pre orders as they are too busy!
    I’m very much doubting that being forced to purchase from one vendor is legal?
    Plus, where do I go to challenge this?
    Hope I don’t sound too petty, but it costs us far more to buy the way we are forced to.
  • Kim_kim
    Kim_kim Forumite Posts: 3,725
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I think it’s terrible that state schools do this.

    They should be made sell badges and/or ties that personalise the uniform and parents could then purchase wherever they wished.

    When my daughter was at school I wanted to purchase all her uniform from M&S, but I had to buy the jumper from the school supplier, it was rubbish quality. Now I have grandchildren & the same thing still goes on.
    Some people are counting their pennies and need to use the cheaper suppliers, they should be able to!
  • andydcag
    andydcag Forumite Posts: 3
    Third Anniversary First Post
    Hi KrisDK,
    Not from S Glos are you?
    Our school has recently imposed buying trousers from the local uniform shop (we already have to get everything else from them). This has caused a massive backlash from the parents and students but the school is playing hardball, despite the majority of the trouser options not being the best fit. This is all down to a few folk who flaunted the old uniform rules, so rather than deal with the problem they imposed a blanket "you must buy them from here" ruling. How do they check? There's a logo on the trousers to show it's from this particular shop. Where is the logo? Usually hidden by uniform tops, so staff will be checking by asking pupils to raise their tops - that's a bit dodgy, never mind the anti-competition issues. M&S school trousers are far better quality, better fitting and cheaper than the rubbish we are now forced to buy.
    Those not complying will be sent home to change. Repeat offenders will be put in isolation until they comply. Bonkers.
    Rant Over.
    Couldn't complete the survey as there wasn't an option for "everything from one supplier"
  • Winnie_the_Wild
    Winnie_the_Wild Forumite Posts: 5
    Fourth Anniversary
    My kids go to Secondary school and we have to get everything from one supplier who are on an industrial estate 12 miles from the school and only accessible by car. Even the skirts (brown pleated) and shirts (yellow & white stripes) are unique enough to make them unobtainable elsewhere so you are forced to pay £27 for a skirt and £15.50 for a shirt. The outcome is that most pupils start with clothes that are too big, have only one (or two) of each item and keep them for years until they can't squeeze into them anymore meaning they end up looking very tatty and worn out. Not the look the school wants I assume. Made a big deal the other year when they announced that the blazer design was changing so a new one would 'only' cost £75 and not £105. I agree with the principal of a uniform but it should be obtainable from the supermarket or M&S.
  • christieb13
    christieb13 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    This poll should also have option for 'can not buy any generic item of school uniform '.
    My children's public secondary school dictates each item of the uniform including the specific type of blouse, skirt, etc and PE kit (which has to have school badge embroided on both shorts and top). They also stipulate that black socks must be worn for PE, while grey socks are worn with the uniform. Other than the socks none of items which make up the uniform can be bought anywhere but 3 specific shops with no variation on price.
  • james_smitha
    james_smitha Forumite Posts: 396
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    As Schools that force pupils to wear a uniform that can only be bought from their official shop are exploiting people, I believe there are laws about that sort of thing.

    How about the parents on mass send their little darlings to school in generic school cloths of the correct color?
    Even a school badge to sew on a suitable jacket should be easy enough.

    Schools are there to teach, unless the cloths are not fit for purpose what can be done?

    Even sports/ games that require teams, i.e. basket ball, a coloured over vest will be used
  • Maplewis
    Maplewis Forumite Posts: 1
    Second Anniversary
    What is worse is that a lot of sizing at secondary level for branded items from one shop is technically adults sizes despite the fact they are clearly for schoolchildren. As a result you end up paying VAT on it too!
  • james_smitha
    james_smitha Forumite Posts: 396
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Maplewis This sounds like a VAT procedure failing. As I knew it this sort of thing should be easy to implement, it is easy to check the supply chain to verify the status of the garment then sign off the 0% VAT status. Some one is coining ti some where
  • deanos
    deanos Forumite Posts: 11,209
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Uniform Washer
    edited 8 September 2018 at 7:55AM
    I cant vote as our particular situation isnt on the list, We have to buy our girls shirts from the one uniform shop at £9 each as they have decided that girls have a striped shirt, the boys can buy a plain shirt from supermarket, the only thing girls can buy from supermarket is a skirt they are not the same as the ones from the uniform shop but they are pretty relaxed about that luckily as long as its similar looking
  • james_smitha
    james_smitha Forumite Posts: 396
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Hi 5 All,

    Why on the same day couldn't say 20 or so parents with children at the same school send their children to school in the correct colour clothes that aren't the uniform, by way of protest? along the lines of the Suffragettes.

    We all know that the only reason for unique uniform from one of three shops that sell it at rip off prices is so the school can get a rake off.
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