Nametags, uniform bankrupcy and whether it’s right to see your children as a social experiment

MY poor children’s lives have already been over-exposed for many years via the ramblings of their mother on newspaper pages, but the new term throws up interesting potential for analysis.

I will have three children in three different state schools across Northampton.

One will be at a controversial new academy, another at an vastly-oversubscribed, catchment-less, single-sex secondary, and the third at a large urban primary without his older brothers.

Three schools also means three different uniforms. All which need name tagging(*shudders).

Up until now, I’ve got away with hand-me-down uniforms and the simplest naming technique for impatient mothers with few sewing skills: the permanent fabric pen.

When the boys were all at the same primary, naming wasn’t a huge job.

1. Find label on new polo-shirt/sweatshirt/trousers/PE kit

2. Write surname on label.

Now we’re dealing with a whole lot more clobber.

The two older boys have new blazers, house colour tags, ties, white shirts, tank-tops, trousers, rugby shirts, rugby shorts, football shorts, t-shirts, boots, trainers and sports socks.

I’m going to have to dig out the iron, or needle and thread, to get names into items that just don’t lend themselves to the easy charms of the marker-pen. Like ties. Or socks.

This means grumpy late-nights for me before they go back (on three different days) later this week.

I was dreading paying for new uniform, at a time when we’re more skint than ever.

However, it could have been worse.

Jed’s new uniform – and that of 1,000 of his schoolmates – has to be paid for by the government because it agreed to turn Malcolm Arnold nee Unity nee Trinity into an academy. The sixth form, who have to wear ‘business suits,’ are getting a voucher or refund for £40.

It would have been galling to shell out again after the £60 or so spent last year on the now redundant purple Unity uniform (suggestions on what to do with it welcome. I’ve already planned a scarecrow for my allotment). We collect the new stuff later this week.

Meanwhile, over at NSB, the costs came in just under £100 for pre-badged blazer, tie, and various bits of sports kit.

Thank goodness little Bill doesn’t mind his hand-me down uniform. He’s happy with three new yellow polos that cost about a fiver. All their trousers came from a 3-for-2 at M&S.

Two pairs of shoes had to be replaced towards the end of last term, so they’ll have to last until Christmas.

So we still need one pair of shoes, several white shirts . . . and lots of blinkin’ name-tags.

But if you think this sounds pricey, how about a friend of a friend in London? She’s just forked out over £300 for compulsory school uniform. . .for ONE CHILD!

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