Sunday, 17 February 2013

Preparing to Start 'Big School'....Part 1 - The Practicalities: Uniform & Finances

I can't believe I'm writing this, it seems like only yesterday that Seb was about to start 'big school', by 'big school' I of course mean infant school. My little curly haired toddler had reached the age of four in the blink of an eye and no sooner had he started preschool he was off to infant school. He settled into infant school well (certainly much easier than I settled into my new role of being a mother to a school aged child!) and quickly made lots of friends.

Surely it was only yesterday that I dropped him off for his first day of school? Wearing his too big jumper and shiny black shoes? How can it possible be that he is starting REAL 'big school' soon? How can my baby be ready for secondary school? How can my little toddler be ready for high school? I'm certainly not ready!

In my trauma of how quickly the last (almost) eleven years have gone I've been busying myself with the practicalities of preparing for 'big school'. I was truly horrified to learn how much it would cost to kit him out in the appropriate uniform and sports kit (and this is just a regular state school!), so as finances are tight I've planned to spend £50 per month every month until September and start putting bits away so that it doesn't dent out budget too much in August.

This month I have been shopping around for uniform basics. Although the school require him to wear a standard embroidered tie and blazer we can choose where we buy his (plain black) jumper, (long sleeved collared) white shirts and (plain black) trousers from - thank goodness! In the past I have bought most of my kids' (aged 10, 9, 8 and 5) school uniform in either Marks and Spencer, Tesco or Asda in the '3 for 2' weeks, lately though I've been noticing how it hasn't been lasting, our last lot of Tesco trousers are having to be replaced only 5 months into the current academic year as they have been ripping and hems coming down and our last lot of M&S polo shirts have shrunk significantly and are now a horrible grey colour (this may be my washing skills!), so I've been hunting down alternatives. Certainly I thought that my kids were hard on clothes when they were toddlers and expected their clothes to take less of a bashing when they were older, but I couldn't have been more wrong! We definitely need some seriously hard wearing uniform for secondary school!

I was very lucky to be offered the chance to test some school uniform from Trutex whose uniform is available online from their own site Trutex Direct and other online selected retailers (see HERE ) and from selected high street retailers (see HERE) and naturally jumped at the chance. I had already heard of Trutex, but after comparing their prices with the high street own brands considered them too expensive, now though I have begun to think it is worth paying a bit extra for better quality.

We road tested the following:

1. Twin pack non-iron (vitally important for a household of 6!!) white shirts HERE
2. Black flat front trousers HERE
3. Black cotton v-neck jumper HERE

Seb loved the way that they fitted and the difference in quality was obvious, I honestly can say I think that the Trutex school uniform will last us for the whole of the academic year and (hopefully) be in a good enough condition to pass down to my younger boys. I'm convinced, no more false economy high street uniforms for us, I'm going to be budgeting to buy the rest of Seb's uniform from Trutex. If you're fed up with your child's uniform falling to bits I'd really recommend Trutex school uniform.

Now, if I only I could get Seb to look as smart as the boy in the picture above!