As thousands of Gloucestershire youngsters prepare to start school next week, it is proving a costly time for some parents.
AS thousands of youngsters prepare to start school next week, it is proving a costly time for some parents.
Mums and dads are forking out hundreds of pounds in order to kit out their children with new uniforms.
Latest figures show the average secondary school uniform now costs more than £200, with primary school parents paying out £160.
Mum Emma Provins knows how costly it can be. Her seven-year-old daughter Hannah Rowley is just about to start at Tewkesbury Junior School. She spent £32 on shoes, £15 on red cardigans, £9 on white shirts and £4.50 on socks – totalling more than £60.
She said: "I think some parents will struggle to afford it. I could have bought some of the items for cheaper, but I have found in the past that they don't last for long.
"It is very costly, but if you buy it directly from the school, it can be up to £120 and so I decided I could not justify it, particularly if you have to renew it through the year.
"Fortunately at the school they are quite flexible and don't mind you getting it from somewhere else, providing you follow the basic colour scheme.
"But I do worry that when she gets to secondary school it is going to be double the price with all the sports equipment and the right logos.
"Also it is worrying that, when she gets older, she will become more selective and will have peer pressure to wear the same things as her friends."
Schools have been told they have "moral responsibility" to keep the cost of pupils' uniform down by the Local Government Association.
Council bosses are particularly worried about hard-pressed parents paying out for expensive uniforms when their child's school re-brands because it has been converted to an academy.
Vanessa Fowler owns online business Sturdy Kids, based in Lansdown Industrial Estate, providing uniforms for tall, large or small children.
The mum-of-two also knows how expensive it can be and has spent around £200 on each of her children, aged 11 and 12, as they go back to school.
She said: "From personal experience, there is a monopoly when schools point you to a set shop and I know they are charging high end prices as a lot of the clothes we sell are the same items, just not branded."