West Wales News Review — analysis with a sustainability slant

Super-expensive school uniform pummels parents’ budgets

Parents question high cost of compulsory uniform for new school

School uniform costs for the newly formed Ysgol Bro Dinefwr have alarmed parents. Ysgol Bro Dinefwr will operate on the sites of Ysgol Tregib in Ffairfach and Ysgol Pantycelyn in Llandovery, pending construction of the controversial new ‘super school’ by the river Tywi at Ffairfach.

The uniform is compulsory for all pupils entering Year 7. Older pupils are expected to buy the new kit when they outgrow their old garments.

Many items have to be purchased from a specialist outfitter rather than from chain stores. The jumpers, which for girls are in an unusual and hard-to-obtain shade of duck-egg blue, cost from £22.50 each, instead of about £6 to £10 from a chain store.

The PE kits are also pricey. Girls are required to wear skorts – a combination of skirt and shorts – which cost from £17. Long-sleeved PE tops are from £16.50 and short-sleeved ones are from £12. “Pupils are supposed to have at least one of each,” said a parent who is alarmed at the high cost of kitting out. “I reckon that the basic cost for one Year 7 pupil will be more than £160, without shoes or sports footwear, and with just one set of PE clothing.”

This is over £100 more than the cost of buying equivalent clothing from chain stores. For parents with more than one child at the school, or whose child has a rapid growth spurt, the additional expense could run into hundreds of pounds.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s insistence on expensive status-symbol school uniforms is odd, to say the least, when so many families struggle to pay everyday bills.

Pat Dodd Racher


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4 thoughts on “Super-expensive school uniform pummels parents’ budgets

  1. Shows a complete failure to realise the financial hardship most parents are under. For information; There is a Welsh Government school uniform grant available of up to £105 per child for those on certain benefits/low income but it doesn’t look like it will cover the cost of the basic outfit. (http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/english/education/schools/pages/schoolclothinggrant.aspx)
    I noticed the ‘Ysgol Pantycelyn’ sign has now gone; replaced by ‘Ysgol Bro Dinefwr’ with the Carmarthenshire County Council logo almost as large…lest we forget.

    • The grant does not meet the full cost of a single outfit, even without any spares for when clothes are being washed. Also there are many households not in receipt of benefits for whom the costs are a big shock. Apparently the new school logo has copyright protection, which means that cheaper copies are prohibited. Parents I have spoken to do not recall consultation about this.

      • Rob the cripple on said:

        The Government should ban this, it’s the same in college in Llanelli and others you have one supplier my grandson kit has just cost me £160 and I’m on disability benefits, after an accident left me paraplegic, and he then goes on trips which can cost upward of £100 plus.

        We live in an area where most are on the min wage not richer area, but it seems these colleges schools does deals, it took us ages to stop it at schools in Llanelli, now we have numerous suppliers.

        Seems we have to do it with colleges as well

      • It is a rip-off, neat but much cheaper items are available, and are far more practical when a child is growing quickly.

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