Average child goes through 945 school uniform items during their school life, study finds | Personal Finance | Finance


The average child will go through 945 items of uniform during their school years. Their wardrobe will include 55 polo tops, 49 pairs of trousers, and 42 jumpers, from the ages of four to 16.

According to a poll of 1,300 parents, with children at school, they will also own 42 pairs of school shoes, go through 82 sets of socks, and wear 58 shirts – to name but a few.

As a result, the average mum and dad will put on 1,248 washes during this time, which will cost them £20.60 in energy bills during each academic year.

And those who own a tumble dryer will do 1,147 cycles, equating to an additional £45.45 in energy costs.

Combined, this will set back parents by £924.70 over 14 years of their child’s school life – based on current energy costs.

A spokesman for Utilita, which commissioned the survey, said: “Back to school is an expensive time for parents, but it doesn’t just stop once the new term has begun.

“Kids are constantly growing, and are also extremely good at wear and tear, so buying or replacing uniform is a constant cycle throughout the entire year – which takes a toll on finances and washing machines.”

It emerged 36 percent always buy their child a complete new uniform before the start of each school year – with 49 percent using high-street brands or supermarkets to do so.

However, 36 percent say they buy the majority of their kid’s clothes from the designated school uniform shop.

Exactly one in three are often having to replace these items during term time – which is a struggle for 33 percent, as they admit buying new uniform is difficult to afford.

The main reasons for parents having to replace school clothes include outgrowing them (74 percent), wear and tear (71 percent), and losing them (30 percent).

When these items no longer fit, 39 percent will donate them to charity, while 35 percent will give them to the school, and 31 percent hand them down to a sibling.

On average, parents are forking out £149.70 per year on these items – equating to a whopping £1,796.40 over the entire school period.

And when it comes to branded school uniform, the OnePoll.com study found 87 percent agree these versions are more expensive than non-branded.

Unluckily for 57 percent, their child’s school requests that they wear this – which makes it difficult to recycle or reuse once the child no longer needs these items, according to 34 percent.

To ensure their little one’s uniform lasts as long as possible, 43 percent buy a few sizes up, so there is more room for them to grow, and 39 percent will always use family hand-me-downs.

More than four in ten reckon the time to buy new school uniform comes around far too quickly, with only 18 percent looking forward to this occasion.

And nearly four in ten have a relaxed approach about this, as they will start thinking about it a few weeks before school starts – although 28 percent prefer to get organised a month in advance.

Utilita has launched its “Smart for School” project, which looks at how families can make small changes to their school uniform habits to save big, while having a positive impact on the planet.

Commenting on the initiative, Archie Lasseter, head of sustainability, said: “Supplementing half of the new items we plan to buy, with pre-worn clothes from the school shop, will chop the school uniform bill in half.

“By doing one uniform wash and dry cycle a week, instead of the average 2.4, this could save parents £168 a year in energy.

“This could be reduced even further by washing at 30 degrees Celsius instead of higher temperatures, and even more if swapping the tumble dryer for a clothes airer.

“Even having a smart display somewhere visible in the home can effectively contribute to this.”


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