We are fast approaching the end of the Summer Holidays.
For me it is over, as I am back to work this week. Tom and Elsie still have a week to go but it will be largely spent indoors now as we have well and truly blown the budget.
This week we have done the school uniform, new shoes, bags etc and now we will be living on toast until payday.
Every year I ask myself if it is really necessary for school uniform to be quite so expensive? This year, I am asking why it is compulsory for them to have the schools navy blue sports socks and not the navy blue sports socks from the high street, which are less than half the price? Will the light blue stripe that runs around the top of the school sock make any difference to ability of the child to take part in any sporting activity? Will they become faster, more agile or more able? No. They will simply be the same as everyone else. In theory at least.
I say in theory because as is my experience with all things school related, there are those that comply and those that don’t.
“Compulsory” school uniform gets added quite regularly to the do’s and don’ts of the school manifesto. In previous years it was largely centred on the actual day-to-day uniform for both boys and girls. However, if you were lucky enough to have boys you were quids in, as boys only required the school blazer and a tie, the rest of the uniform, black trousers, white shirts etc you could buy from any retailer. Bad news though, if you had all girls, as they were required to have the kilt, the blouse, a jumper and a blazer, all with the school logo emblazoned across it. Why? I don’t know, just because. It was decided the girls couldn’t have plain white blouses, they should have blue blouses and they should have a tiny logo stitched on to the collar of the blouse, this would make them much harder to lose. The girls I mean not the blouses. The school uniform still seems to get lost at an alarming rate.
I have one of each variety, a boy and a girl and so while I can indeed enjoy the luxury of buying Tom’s school trousers and shirts from a cheaper high street retailer if I so desire, this luxury is not afforded to me for Elsie.
The other thing that really grates on me is (I have started, so I may as well go for it now), is the that the older you get the more expensive it is. Recently there was much debate when it was discovered that some retailers were charging more for their plus size ranges of the same items. Shock, horror! The shock and horror of it is not really new, retailers by and large will always find a way to stealth more money from the consumer somewhere if they can get away with it and let’s be honest, usually they do. I wholeheartedly disagree with the ridiculous notion that more material means more money, it is the biggest load of shit I have ever heard.
I am only just over 5 ft tall but I do not expect to get my trousers cheaper than someone who is 10 inches taller than me. Sometimes just finding some that actually fit is hard enough. So hard in fact that when you do find a pair you are likely to pay well over the odds for them because you wont have to pay to have someone take them up for you.
Charging for big clothes, or bigger clothes is rubbish. One of the biggest cons of the modern age. With every size increment in the school uniform the price goes up, by anything from £1.50 – £3.00 an item. I have told Elsie that I will be strapping her boobs down if they grow anymore. You think I’m joking?
I get the school uniform thing I do and I believe it is important for lots of reasons. I also understand that girls in particular are prone to adjusting school uniforms and so this is being made increasingly hard by way of design. It is also makes it harder for them to manipulate the uniform, for example; there are many types of white blouses for girls and so in an effort to minimize the designer babies from the hand me down have not’s they have to wear a school issue blouse. I get it, I do. What I don’t get is, why it is so bloody expensive?
In life as with most things there are those that can easily afford and those that struggle to. I, unfortunately, fall in to the latter category and while I realise that a school uniform is important and I do my best to adhere to the school polices when it comes to most things, I do have to question the validity of the navy blue sports sock. This is made all the harder to swallow when you know full well that there will be parents out there who will just flatly refuse to buy the navy blue sport sock or their little darling will refuse to wear the navy blue sport sock and will still be in PE with his/her black Nike ones.
It is not the rebel in me (although I am struggling to keep a lid on her), that doesn’t want to get the bloody socks but just the hard-working Mother who can think of many other things she could buy instead. In an email received from the school the other day it stipulated that not only were there additions to the “compulsory” school uniform this year, you would no longer be allowed to wear a coat that wasn’t blue or black and in the Winter if you needed to wear a hat, scarf or gloves they should also be blue or black. No bright colours would be acceptable. Now this really does bring out the rebel in me. No bright colours, this is a school not a detention centre. A red scarf will surely not turn everyone in to a raging bull. If it did I would buy one for the idiot that came up with that idea.
Elsie though will not hear of going back to school without the newly required navy sport socks, as all her friends have them and she will not be the only one who doesn’t have them, nor do I want her to be but a sport sock is a sport sock. Surely? Not to Elsie, who has been twittering on about these sport socks since the holidays began. I will get a pair just to get some peace and bloody quiet.
I have ordered two pairs of the new navy blue sports socks, a pair each for both Tom and Elsie. Tom, who has made no mention of school all holiday and doesn’t even know what month we are in anymore, will have lost his by week 3, as I am sure will most of the boys in his year. That is of course if he remembers to take them with him in the first place.