prep school uniform cost: tell me the worst

(47 Posts)
brushyourteethNOW Fri 21-Mar-14 21:59:16

We have just accepted a place for ds at a prep school. At the moment he goes to a lovely state school where he needs a couple of logo-ed jumpers and a pe shirt and some bits and bobs I get from m and s.

He's off to a school where the uniform list specifies regulation everything (except pants). There's pe kit for rugby and football and hockey and cricket and swimming.

Anyone got a ballpark view of how much the first-time uniform set up is? Gulp.

CMOTDibbler Fri 21-Mar-14 22:09:01

We spent £200 (not inc shoes/trainers/boots) when ds first went to school, but his school isn't too mad in terms of uniform - no blazer for instance.
Don't buy too many sets till you can make a second hand uniform sale, which also lets you see if there are any shortcuts that can be made by dint of checking the labels. For instance, ds's school shorts and shirt can easily be substituted at M&S if you choose carefully.

Peanutsandwine Fri 21-Mar-14 22:11:03

Including every shoe, trainer, astro boot and sock it came to £800. The school had just updated their uniform for the first time in a decade+ so no second hand uniform option sad

BorsetshireBlue Fri 21-Mar-14 22:12:03

It's not cheap I'm afraid!

Jumper £15
Socks £5.50
Blazer £80
Duffle £90
Track Suit £30ish
T-Shirt £10
Football kit around £30
The rest from normal uniform shops - trousers, shirts, shorts
And the usual, shoes, trainers (black), pumps, football boots (black)

I think that just about covers it at our school - except for craft apron, hat and scarf, and bag.

HarrogateToBe Fri 21-Mar-14 22:16:27

Buy the bare minimum. You very quickly work out what's really necessary and what isn't (and what you can buy more cheaply elsewhere). Does the school have a second hand shop? My DC have been through three prep schools between them; two have their own second hand shops, and the other had regular second hand sales.

I think I kitted DS out second-hand when he started prep school for £100 all in (including blazer and all the PE gubbins). It would have cost more like £500 if we had paid 'new' prices.

I've saved money on other children's uniforms by buying shirts from Sainsbury's/JL. Some schools have skirts that are so similar to department store offerings that you can get away with the latter. If you do have to buy new, only buy one of everything until you see what's what. You can always buy more new stuff later on if you have to.

Good luck!

LadyMaryLikesCake Fri 21-Mar-14 22:18:14

Expect to spend £500 + sad. Blazers are not usually a M&S jobie, so can be around £60-£70 for the smallest size, gloveralls are £90-£100 (upwards) if they use these. Shirts, jumpers, trousers and socks are another £100, tracksuit was £70, PE bag was £12, school t-shirt was £15, shorts were £8. Rugby and football shirts at ds's school are £35 each (and he needed three, 2 for rugby as one is home and one is away).

If you're lucky there will be a school uniform shop in the school selling second hand uniform.

NaturalBaby Fri 21-Mar-14 22:22:37

£90 blazer and £30 cap. We're not into sports clubs yet. Everything else I managed to get second hand at the school uniform sale or could be bought in high street shops. I made sure I talked to a few other mums with older dc's in the school and got the minimum to start with - they will also give you tips about what you can get away with and what you can't, or where to buy better value items etc. A couple of months later we started buying the winter uniform.
Ds1 is pretty neat and tidy so we get away with 1 or 2 of everything, ds2 needs a new jumper pretty much every day so we needed extra uniform for him.

slowcomputer Fri 21-Mar-14 22:27:38

Ditto buy one of everything, keep labels on until you use it. I bought uniform for five days a week only to find out that on the three days when they do PE,they stay in PE kit all day so ended up returning quite a few things. Second hand sale has things at 10% of new price or less sometimes.

trinity0097 Sat 22-Mar-14 06:14:35

Most prep schools will have a 2nd hand uniform shop and there is no shame in using it.

basildonbond Sat 22-Mar-14 06:41:20

When dd went to her prep from state we paid about £250 for new stuff and since then everything's been second hand apart from the redesigned sports kit

Dd's v tall and slim so we can't always find what we need easily in the secondhand sales but if your ds is a more 'normal' size you'll be fine

There is no stigma whatsoever in using secondhand uniform - if anything it's the reverse

£500 all in (per child) first time round, tho slightly less for DS than DD as I could still get DS trousers from M&S. DDs skirts have to come from specialist schoolwear shop at £40 a go! confused

Soveryupset Sat 22-Mar-14 11:16:45

200 pounds for us but then items seem cheaper than others on here, eg the blazer was 40 pounds not 80 and we bought m and s shirts. Sports kit was what made up most of the cost!

Taz1212 Sat 22-Mar-14 11:17:12

We probably spent around £250-£300. I agree with the suggestion to find out what is absolutely necessary. DS hated rugby at the start (though a couple of weeks ago, right at the end of the season, has decided he wants to play, go figure) but we thought rugby kit was required for games. It turned out that boys who hated rugby could go into a non rugby group just wearing PE kit so we could have initially saved quite a chunk there!

lisad123everybodydancenow Sat 22-Mar-14 12:29:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crumpet Sat 22-Mar-14 12:36:02

It completely depends how good the second hand market is. At a couple of schools my children were at it was excellent and the quality of the uniform so good that it could go through several children. At the most recent school however I was able to kit ds out for pre prep in nearly all second hand stuff (inc blazer, cap etc), for under £80. When he moved into prep, there was hardly anything available, so he had to be kitted out new for over £450.

MrsC1966 Sat 22-Mar-14 12:36:19

Sorry but ish-£500. Immediately make friends with a family with a slightly older child at the school for cast-offs and check out the second hand shop. This is particularly useful for bigger and more expensive items like cloaks and blazers which have less wear.

crumpet Sat 22-Mar-14 12:39:38

In fact is a bit nouveau to have completely new uniform...grin

Soveryupset Sat 22-Mar-14 14:39:45

Not sure about the nouveau thing. We have 4 children and it made sense to me to buy new for the first and pass down...

Talk to parents already there about what they will actually wear,in particular the sports gear which cost me more than the actual school uniform! I forked out for an expensive logo track suit the top has never been worn nor have the rugby shorts and top and the logo sweatshirt is hanging on the back of the bedroom door with the label still attached. Someone is going to pick up some bargains when I take them into the second hand shop at the end of term! Biggest outlay has been blazers at £80 a time they wear them all the time so are never fit to pass on and he has needed a new one every year,

Cringechilli Sat 22-Mar-14 15:00:20

A friend told me she spent £1k on this!!!

NinetyNinePercentTroll Sat 22-Mar-14 15:08:41

DD's was about £600 all in as everything is school branded.

Secondary (for same school 'family') was actually a bit cheaper, about £500 for more items. Although tbh, the prep stuff was better quality so I'd rather have that and pay a bit more than pay 25% less for stuff that constantly requires re-hemming and the blazer in a slightly iffy fabric.

LemonLavender Sat 22-Mar-14 16:33:20

I have had to kit out at several different schools over the years (5 prep schools - 9 schools in total)
I highly recommend going second hand. Most items are well made and last well.
I have never kitted the DC out in all new stuff. Infact at most the schools second hand uniform is more sought after by the children (especially as they go up through the years). They prefer te softer items than the stiff new itchy ones. No school has ever sold on tatty things out of the secondhand shops and the saving financially is very significant.

Infact - last time DD was getting kitted out for her senior school the school uniform shop assistant told me that in 11 years of working there she had that afternoon just fitted out someone in 100% brand new uniform for the very first time.

I was a bit hmm about the second hand aspect initially but I have to say I think anyone is mad not to consider it first. I did have to buy a new blazer for my DD in her last year of prep school because there were not any her size in the second hand uniform shop and it set me back £139 - it was lovely wool tweed and I tried to make myself feel better that the most I had paid for one before that was £35.

I also sell on through the school secondhand shops once my DC grow out of it. Most school shops only take in items still in decent condition but like I said alot of uniform is decent quality so does definately tend to last several children.

Looking at last terms bill my DD in year 8 at prep school (so the largest/most costly sizes) reads:

School logo tracksuit top £10 (s/h)
School Tracksuit bottoms £7 (s/h)
Games socks £7 (new)
Reversible Hockey Shirt £5 s/h)

I have also enquired about kilts at the start of this year but as yet it looks like hers will see her through (hopefully)

100% wool kilt with leather buckle £48 new £10 to 15 (second hand).

All schools differ - some still charge shockingly high for secondhand and others next to nothing.

Things like tights and socks and some blouses/shirts can be bought mainstream and alot cheaper usually.

Most schoo outfitters are very friendly and honest and will say, Our 2 pack of grey shirts is £32 but most people buy them in M&S or The Lab Coats to my knowledge are not available in this colour anywhere else (and too right I have googled and searched high and low) so you will need to buy the regulation one.

Its best to go with your child and get them fitted. The Outfitters are great at fitting them with enough growing room but too much they look daft.

Good luck.

LemonLavender Sat 22-Mar-14 16:35:37

*but not too much they look daft!!!!

SanityClause Sat 22-Mar-14 16:38:04

Have a look at the uniform supplier.

Get as much as you can from the second hand uniform sale - everybody does!

LemonLavender Sat 22-Mar-14 16:39:03

I would also suggest if your DC is starting September start popping into the secondhand shop during the term because you need to grab it as and when it comes in and leave buying the brand new whats needed on the list until your final fitting - August (if possible).

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