Largest survey of school uniform prices reveals £100 basket cost

school uniform costs

Following the largest survey of school uniform costs in the UK, The Schoolwear Association has found the average cost of compulsory school uniform and sportswear items is £101.19 per pupil.

The Schoolwear Association surveyed a range of retailers from across the country that supply 11.9% of all state secondary schools in England – representing 409 schools and approximately 395,000 students.

As part of the survey, the purchase history of what was actually sold each year for the schools was also analysed and showed that on average the spend per pupil of compulsory items was only £36.24, demonstrating the benefits of buying better quality, longer lasting garments that don’t need to be replaced every year.

“This is the largest survey of secondary school uniform we have ever undertaken, and it’s been very worthwhile to be able to prove through actual data what we already believed to be the case that uniform costs are both reasonable and fair”, commented Matthew Easter, executive of The Schoolwear Association.

“School uniform items are worn for around 195 days of the year, and often remain worn into the evenings following the school day. On this basis, we believe that just over £100 represents excellent value for money.

“School specific uniform is often manufactured to higher standards than cheaper generic items, and therefore is more durable and lasts longer. Again, we have clearly been able to demonstrate this benefit by the fact that our figures show that less than half of the pupil’s basket needs to be replaced each year, with an average annual spend per pupil of just £36.24.”

The basket cost is derived from the average cost for boys’ and girls’ compulsory school-specific uniform and sportswear – with an average of 6.1 garments being required for an average sized pupil starting secondary school.

Matthew continued:

“We often see much-inflated figures being quoted and banded around, but the methodology behind those other surveys, their limited sample size, and number of items included in the basket creates what we believe is an incredibly inaccurate figure.

“We wanted to take this opportunity to undertake the survey and provide parents and schools with a clear and transparent view of what it costs to clothe a child for school.”