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Best school uniform to buy online for the new academic year

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ix weeks holiday feels like an eternity when you’re a kid, but parents know that the summer holidays will whizz by in a flash and September will come knocking before you know it.

While the most pressing issues right now might be how to keep your little ones entertained when they’re on their summer break, making sure you’ve got everything they need before a new term and school year begins is a close second.

Now’s the perfect time to organise their wardrobes, declutter and donate what they’ve grown out of, and get a headstart on what they’ll need when they return back to classrooms in early September.

Whether you want to get all the bits and pieces in now or drip-buy them when you can throughout the summer, future you will be grateful for your planning and preparation.

If your child is moving from primary to secondary school, it’s likey they’ll need some official new uniform with the school’s crest or logo (ties, blazer and sweatshirts) as well as the staples of grey, navy or black trousers and skirts and white shirts. For primary or secondary school children who are just moving up a year in the same institution, you may need to replace official uniform with bigger options as they outgrow them.

As well as official uniform, the school may have a ‘colour’, usually red, blue or green which could be helpful in narrowing down the choices. Check with the school’s website, or call them to ask before you shell out for the wrong items.

In addition to classroom uniforms, your kids will need sports kit for P.E. lessons and after-school activities. Go through their existing sportwear options and work out what needs replacing, donating the rest to charity or friends with younger children. The upshot is that, barring swimwear, sports kit can be slightly oversized, so should need replacing less often.

Then there’s school shoes. Finding good options that will last for growing children is a pain, but it’s also an essential part of a clean, smart uniform. Going a size up and wearing with thick socks is an option for September with the theory being that by the spring they’ll have grown into them. Replacing shoes constantly can be a costly enterprise but there are plenty of supermarket brands that offer quality at a budget price point.

There’s a lot to remember, so we’ve put together a shopping list to check off as you go.

What school uniform will my primary school child need?

Whether your child is going to school for the very first time, or you’re a seasoned pro at this ‘back-to-school’ thing, here’s what we think you will need on your school uniform shopping list for a primary school aged child:

  • White polo shirts (or regular shirts, depending on your school’s dress code)
  • Trousers, shorts or skirts depending on your child’s preference – typically in grey, black or navy
  • Summer dress – typically gingham print in the school’s colours e.g. red or green. Some schools do not allow this style of summer dresses, so it’s a good idea to check your school’s dress code prior to buying summer dresses
  • Pinafore dress – typically grey, black or navy, worn with a polo shirt underneath
  • Jumper or cardigan – this is likely to be in the ‘school colour’ for example red, green or blue
  • Plain white, grey or black socks
  • School shoes – ensure these are well fitting with good support
  • PE kit – plain white t-shirt, shorts and plimsolls or trainers
  • Swimming kit – swimming costume or trunks, goggles, swim cap and towel
  • Lightweight coat for Autumn
  • Warmer coat for Winter

What school uniform will my secondary school child need?

Secondary school dress codes tend to differ quite dramatically from primary schools – some secondary schools allow for supermarket unbranded items, whereas other schools, like the one I attended, have entirely specialist school uniforms. Typically speaking, your secondary school child is likely to need some variation of the following school uniform:

  • Polo shirts or regular shirts
  • Trousers, shorts or skirts
  • Jumper, cardigan or blazer
  • Plain socks
  • School shoes
  • PE kit – plain white t-shirt, shorts, trainers and a mouthguard
  • Swimming kit – swimming costume or trunks, goggles, swim cap and towel
  • Lightweight coat for autumn
  • Warmer coat for winter

Where to buy school uniform with a logo

Some schools may require certain pieces of clothing with a logo. It’s best to check the dress code on the website or give them a call to see what is compulsory.

Broadly speaking, school-branded items can be purchased from a specialist school uniform shop, or sometimes the school itself, but they are likely to be considerably more expensive than the unbranded supermarket alternatives. One way to combat this expense is to search for secondhand items for at least some of your shopping list.

Schemes such as OLIO , a community free sharing app, or the school’s own secondhand scheme may help to put you in touch with other members of your school community so that you can buy secondhand school uniform at cheaper costs.

Some local authorities even offer a School Uniform Grant of up to £200 depending on your location and individual circumstances – check on the Gov website to see if your local authority offers the grant.

Shop the best below

Matalan Girls 5 Pack White Long Sleeve School Blouses (4-16yrs)

Matalan

Lighten your laundry load and make sure your child has a fresh shirt for every day of the week with Matalan’s excellent value pack of five shirts. The long sleeve designs will be a staple throughout the school year and comes with easy fastenings for the 4 – 8 ages so they can learn how to get dressed themselves. The comfortable shirts are machine washable and tumble dry-safe while also being a doddle to iron.

Find a similar multipack for boys here.

George White Short Sleeve School Polo Shirts 5 Pack

ASDA

Outstanding value for money, these soft to the touch, bright white polo shirts are unisex fit and come in a pack of 5 – that’s one for every day of the week sorted in one quick purchase. Available in sizes 3-4 years all the way through to 15-16 years, they’re made from breathable cotton, machine washable at 40 degrees and tumble dry friendly. The stain release and stay white technology will help repel stains and keep the shirts looking bright and white after every wash.

George also have an ‘easy on easy wear’ school uniform range specifically designed to support independent dressing and sensory needs; replacing the fiddly buttons on the polo shirts with hook and loop fasteners, as well as softer thread on the seams and care instructions printed directly onto the fabric so there’s no need for itchy labels.

Matalan Boys 2 Pack Grey Classic Fit School Trousers

Matalan

These machine washable trousers are a firm favourite due to their excellent value – they feature a Teflon coating that is both stain and water repellent (perfect for both muddy summer playground antics and spills from indoor rainy day arts and crafts) as well as a hidden adjustable waist for a comfortable growing fit. The secure hem is made to last and the crease front detailing ensures your child is looking their best every single day. With similar options also available in slim fit or pull up, these classic fit trousers range from 3 to 13 years.

Tu Grey Permanent Pleat Skirt

Sainsbury’s

This smart skirt is perfect for starting the new school year afresh with permanent pleats and an anti-stain coating to repel water-based spills and mishaps. There’s a side zip and an adjustable waist to ensure a comfortable fit and it’s easy iron too, so shouldn’t take long to press, ready for another week of learning. Available for ages 10 – 16.

John Lewis Jersey Skater Pinafore School Tunic, Grey Mid

John Lewis

Some schools allow pinafores as part of the summer uniform. If we’re lucky enough to have an Indian summer, this purchase will be a helpful choice in keeping your little one cool and comfortable when the weather is still on the warm side. Available in a range of sizes for children aged from 3 – 13, the piece features an A-line skirt and raised waist as well as some stretch for comfort.

Find more essentials in the John Lewis School Shop.

From £10 – £14.

Tu Grey Pleated Zip Front Pinafore

Sainsbury’s

This pinafore is bound to be popular with children who love to wear dresses. The zip down front fastening helps promote independence in dressing, and it also sports a pretty, delicate heart charm. Fully machine washable and available in sizes 3 years to 12 years, Tu also have a range of multipack pinafores for extra value as well as plus fit in some styles.

Prices from £6-8.

M&S Collection 2pk Unisex Pure Cotton School Jumper

M&S

Whether your child is just starting school or nearing the end, this jumper will keep them looking smart while staying cosy and warm.

Available in age 3-4 years right through to 17-18 years in every school colour you should need, these responsibly sourced pure cotton jumpers have trademarked StayNEW technology to reduce bobbling and colour loss, so they look as smart at the end of the year as they did on their very first day. Machine washable at 40 degrees on a delicate cycle and tumble dry friendly, the two pack means you’ll always have a spare whilst the other is in the wash.

From £11-17.

M&S Collection 2pk Girls’ Pure Cotton School Cardigan (3-18 Yrs)

M&S

For those who prefer a more delicate cardigan to layer up with, this M&S Collection cardigan is soft and gentle on skin, made from responsibly sourced 100 per cent pure cotton. Like the jumper, the cardigan is available in ages 3-4 years through to 17-18 years in every school colour you should need, as well as having StayNEW™ technology to reduce bobbling and colour loss, and it’s even been designed with a matching gingham dress in mind – although we think this cardigan will look great no matter whether you’re pairing it with a pinafore or trousers.

From £13-£19, available in black, grey, brown, red, maroon, navy, blue and green.

Amazon 12 Pairs Boys Cotton Rich Colour Heel & Toe Black School Socks

Amazon

Avoid the confusion of knowing what socks are clean or dirty with colour-coded ankle socks.

Featuring plain black tops to conform to school uniform requirements, heels and toes are covered in coloured tips, making them more easily identifiable for younger children, while the elasticated hems mean a more comfortable wear all day long. Available in sizes 3 – 12, they are a top choice for all school children from the very youngest to the very eldest and will make washing school uniform and getting ready for the next day a much easier thing.

Boden 2-in-1 Padded Coat

Boden

An ideal covering with detachable sleeves for autumn and spring, this warm coat will keep children dry and cosy on their way to and from school. Available in sizes as young as 2 – 14 years, the plain navy colour will work for the vast majority of school dresscodes.

Made of 100 per cent recycled fabric, this jacket is water-resistant and has poppers as well as a zip fastening for extra protection against the elements. It’s also machine washable, so easy to keep clean.

George Black Hooded Parka

ASDA

For older children who want a more fashion forward coat of choice for their journey to and from school, this black hooded parka is a great option. Style conscious teens will love the faux fur trim and drawstring waist, and parents can rest easily knowing they are cosy and warm – even in the coldest of Winter months. As always with George, the quality is absolutely excellent for the low price tag, so if you’re looking for an affordable coat that will last, this is it! Available in ages 5-6 years through to 15-16 years.

From £20-26.

Matalan Kids 2 Pack Navy Sports Shorts

Matalan

These silky football style sports shorts are perfect for your child’s PE kit – they’re incredibly lightweight, meaning there’s not too much extra weight for your child to lug to and from school on PE days! The elasticated waistband with hidden strings for adjustability mean they’re incredibly comfortable, whilst allowing for a full range of movement. Available in ages 3 to 13, they’re machine washable at 40 degrees, tumble dry friendly and there’s even a space for a name tag on the back of the care label to ensure you’re only washing your own child’s sweaty shorts!

From £4-5.

Matalan Girls 2 Pack Black School Cycling Shorts

Matalan

For those who prefer a tighter fit on their PE shorts, these cycling shorts are a great choice. Available in black, white or navy in ages 3 years through to 13 years, these machine washable shorts are extremely comfortable with their stretchy fabric and elasticated waist. These shorts would even work well worn under a school dress, skirt or pinafore in warmer summer months.

Ranging from £4.50.

Start Rite’s Jumping Black Canvas School Plimsoll

Start-Rite

No PE kit is complete without good old plimsolls! Aid the growing development of your child’s feet by investing in a pair of Start Rite’s Jumping plimsolls. Made from lightweight black canvas upper with a durable rubber outsole, these plimsolls are designed never to be outworn, only outgrown, so should last the entirety of the school year. The cushioned insoles are comfortable when your child is jumping and leaping around in their PE classes, with rubber toe and heel protection for extra durability – especially when kicking a ball! Rip-tape fastening means they’re easy for even the youngest of school children to put on by themselves and the non-slip soles will help avoid tumbles and falls on slippery school hall flooring.

Available in size S7-L1.5 and also available in a Mary Jane style. Even better, Start Rite’s plimsolls are currently 30% off when buying school shoes.

Speedo Girls’ Eco Endurance+ Medalist Swimsuit Black

Speedo

Don’t forget their pool kit. Swimming lessons are bound to be a part of their PE curriculum at some point. This plain black swimsuit from Speedo will conform to school uniform regulations whilst being comfortable for your child.

Available for as young as age 4 years up to size 15-16 years, the cut of the straps allow for good shoulder movement and flexibility no matter whether they’re a beginner or budding Olympic swimmer.

Made from 50 per cent recycled materials, the durable swimsuit sports Speedo’s new ECO Endurance+ fabric whilst also being quick to dry and 100 per cent chlorine resistant. It also holds the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 label meaning it’s been tested and proven free of harmful substances.

Nabaiji girls’ one-piece swimsuit shorty Kamyleon

Nabaiji

For kids who feel more confident with extra coverage, this one piece from Nabaiji has shorts-style legs. They’re tight so will mean they’ll remain unhindered in the water when they’re learning all the different strokes in swim sessions. With a racer-back set of straps, the swimwear is available for kids aged between 7 – 15 years old.

Speedo Boys Eco Endurance+ Jammer Black

Speedo

Boys will love these swimming shorts – they’re longer on the thigh than typical boy’s swimming trunks for comfort and security, and the internal drawcord waist means you can adjust to get the perfect fit.

Sizing starts as young as 4 years of age right up to 15-16 years, and they hold the same eco-credentials as the girl’s swimsuit, being made from 50 per cent recycled materials with Speedo’s new ECO Endurance+ fabric. Quick to dry fabric makes independent changing a doddle and the 100 per cent chlorine resistance will ensure longer lasting wear.

Parents can also rest easily knowing the materials have been tested and proven free of harmful substances with the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 label.

Nabaiji Swimming Goggles – Xbase Dye Clear Lenses

Nabaiji

An essential for younger swimmers, these goggles have a patented adjustable nose bridge which ensures a perfect watertight seal to fit all faces. With a size adjuster at the back of the head, anti-fog coating and three colour ways to choose from, these goggles are an excellent addition to your child’s swimming kit this year.

Nabaiji Mesh Fabric Swim Cap

Nabaiji

Perfect for younger children, this swim cap is made from a stretchy and lightweight mesh making it much easier than silicone alternatives to put on and off independently. It’s extremely good value for money and available in both a children’s and adult’s sizing option. Colour wise you have the choice of turquoise blue, royal blue, black and pink. Whilst this swim cap is not waterproof; it will help keep hair put in place (perfect for children with longer hair from both a safety and style perspective), and also help stop goggles from slipping off.

Opro New Instant Custom-Fit Mouth Guard

Opro

An often forgotten about piece of your child’s PE kit is a mouthguard. Contact sports like rugby or hockey could be part of their PE curriculum at some point, so be prepared by getting their mouthguard ready at the start of back to school season. The OPRO patented fin technology accurately moulds around teeth and gums to instantly create a perfect fit, keeping teeth safe whilst avoiding blisters and sores from an ill fitting mouthguard.

This dentist level mouthguard is highly protective in comparison to cheaper alternatives with three layers to absorb shock and defend teeth from damage; all without requiring trips to the dentist for impressions.

Suitable for those aged 10+, this Opro New Instant Custom-Fit Mouth Guard offers peace of mind that your child’s teeth are safe; although it’s important to note that it isn’t suitable if your child has a fixed brace. In this case, talk to your dentist about safe alternatives during contact sports.

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