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 are holding a second hand uniform sale, 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 on the high street 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 your kids so when you visit the school, set your child the mission of looking at the younger kids’ shoes and bags, this will give you an idea of what’s acceptable both for the school, and to your child! 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 your child will be getting a bus or train to school, find out about season tickets and make sure you apply in plenty of time for the start of term.
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.
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 and ask at induction days whether there will be any school trips, clubs or books to pay for during the first term/year.