Cut the cost of school uniform


School uniform can feel like the last straw for struggling families who are already hard-pressed to pay their food and fuel bills. The introduction of The Education (Guidance About Costs of School Uniform) Act will see some changes in the way schools are required to design and implement their school uniform policy, including making it a priority to offer a second-hand uniform provision.

Audit the old

How many of us shove last year’s uniform into a cupboard and forget about it until a clear out? Many items are likely to have a few months extra wear in them which could help you to cut the cost of buying everything in one go. Wash, press and then lay everything out and persuade the kids to have a quick trying-on session. Then make a list of the essentials you actually do need to buy ­ and stick to it.

Get measuring

We can all relate to the cringe-factor of wearing an oversized blazer on the first day of school, but there is logic in sizing up to extend the wear of certain items. Look for school uniform pieces with adjustable waistbands and oversized hems to enable kids to grow into them without feeling swamped.

Swap around

There is still plenty of wear in school uniform even after a busy year. Find out if your school run a uniform swap shop, or perhaps there is a facebook group you can join. These can be a great place to find items such as cardigans, sweatshirts and PE kits. Including some pre-worn items could save you pounds, not to mention the convenience of having spares when uniform mysteriously disappears!


Don’t let a fallen hem or loose button be the end for a perfectly wearable piece of uniform. Quick fixes can breathe new life into skirts and trousers.


Did you know you can extend the life of trousers by turning them into shorts for the summer? With some simple hemming, ankle-skimming trousers can be given a new lease of life. Watch our Ministry of Craft tutorial for helpful tips on how to upcycle with confidence.

Spread the cost

Ask your independent retailer about payment plans. If you’re shopping online, look out for credit options such as Klarna and Clearpay, which can help spread the cost of buying uniform.

Support grants

Additional financial support is available for families who are struggling with the cost of school uniform. Ask at your school office for details of discretionary bursaries that may be available via your local council or through uniform suppliers in the area.