When it comes to kitting your child out for secondary school, the costs soon mount up. There’s no doubt that making sure they have everything they need can put financial pressure on parents, so try to start budgeting early to spread the cost.
What will I have to pay for?
Jumpers and blazers with a school logo are typically the most expensive uniform items. Find out if the PTA selling uniform online or parents are listing items on their social media page, kids are still growing quickly at this age so you should be able to pick up nearly-new items at a fraction of the cost.
Stock up on the bits you can buy online from high street stores early, there are generally lots of special offers around early in the summer.
Ask which items of PE kit are needed for September, you may find some of the equipment listed isn’t used in their first term and the ‘old hands’ on the PTA will be able to tell you whether things like the official tracksuit is needed from day one.
Shoes, bags and coats
These are really important for young people so set your child the mission of finding pictures of shoes and bags they like and that match up with the school uniform list! Make sure bags are big and strong enough to carry around loads of books, and don’t be surprised if they don’t want a coat – you’ll need your best negotiating skills!
If you rely on public transport getting your child to and from school and you're unsure what will be available from the start of the new school year, contact the school. They may not know the answer yet, but it will be included in their plans for all children returning to school.
Stationery and technology
Pick up a decent stationery set and ask the school if there is a particular type of calculator that’s needed. You can often pick up discounted dictionaries and reference books at induction days, so find out if there is an online offer this year.
As your child is likely to be making their own way to and from school, it should be no surprise that age 11 is when most kids get a mobile phone. Some parents prefer a cheap mobile and pay as you go, others a smartphone and contract. Do your research and decide what’s best for your family.
And everything else…
Don’t forget to factor in money for lunch, drinks and snacks, locker charges.