Single mum says she has to skip meals to afford son’s school uniform
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A single mother has said she has been forced to 'skip meals' in order to afford her son’s school uniform.
This comes after UK parents spend roughly £422 a year on secondary school uniforms and £287 for primary school uniforms, according to a report from The Children's Society.
Kirsty, who lives with her eight-year-old son Heath, told The Sun: “The constant worry about how you’re going to afford essentials like uniform and PE kit just creates constant mam guilt and you feel like a failure.
“At one point I felt constantly stressed, upset and teary and struggled to sleep, worrying.
“I do everything I can to keep costs down - sometimes I’ve had to skip meals. But as long as Heath is fed and clothed, that’s all that matters.”
Donna Jones, a 37-year-old mum-of-five, also told the publication: “We work hard and have never claimed benefits, and this is the first year we’ve found buying school uniforms a real struggle. The impact of the cost-of-living crisis on us as a family has been awful.
“We have to visit the local food bank once a week because the food shop is just too expensive. We’ve cancelled the gas direct debit and pay off what we can afford each month instead.
“With the school uniform on top, it’s ridiculous. I’ve had sleepless nights, worrying. If I total up everything I have to buy for school, it’s around £600 - and that doesn’t include items like blazers with the compulsory school logo on either.”
In 2021, the Government's Department for Education said they introduced a law to make school uniforms more affordable.
The law that was passed by Parliament in that year requires 'schools to follow new statutory guidance on uniform costs, instructing them to keep prices down'.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said at the time: “School uniforms are important in establishing the right ethos in a school.
“They also help to improve behaviour and a sense of belonging and identity. But we want to be sure they are affordable for parents.
“This new law will help to save families money and ensure the cost of a blazer or shirt is never a barrier to accessing the best possible education.”
Matt Easter, Co-Chair of the Schoolwear Association, added: “As the leading schoolwear industry body, we welcome the Bill and the help it will provide for schools looking for further guidance on their uniform policies, to ensure the process of choosing a uniform supplier is as robust, competitive and easy as possible.
“In particular, we welcome the Government’s recognition that the quality and longevity of garments should be considered alongside their cost.
“Whilst the vast majority of schools already work hard to keep their uniforms affordable, this Bill is an important step to help them continue to make the best decisions on their uniform policies and offer the best support to parents.”