BACK to school buying is probably now high on most parental to-do lists. With just over a week left until many youngsters return to the classroom it is time to start shopping for those jumpers, polo shirts and shoes.
And thanks to supermarket price wars and the increased availability, you can now buy a whole school uniform at bargain prices.
Most of the big shops now offer the basics for rock-bottom prices. But there's always a fine line between quality and value. You don't want your children looking shabby, but it's prudent to bear in mind just how quickly they grow.
This year Marks & Spencer have launched their most sophisticated school uniform yet. The company says an astounding 25 innovations have been cleverly incorporated into smart, well tailored and great value uniform pieces. With prices starting at just £1.50 for a pure cotton polo shirt you can get all the pieces in store or on-line.
This year's range includes 'stainaway' protection and 'adjust a hem' – innovation in design is key for this autumn, says an M&S spokesman.
The adjust-a-hem keeps youngsters in their uniforms for longer. Simply cut along the blind stitching, let down the extra fabric and press for smart longer-length trousers.
And the Stainaway™ promises a high performance finish that helps splodges wash away more easily on polos and shirts. Much of the uniform pieces are also crease resistant, non-iron and have permanent pleats. This is all ideal for busy parents but what about the youngsters. We asked two soon-to-be pupils to try the uniforms for style, fit and feel and both the girls and boys clothing received the thumbs up and full marks from our young testers. Gold stars all round!
Tu at Sainsbury's has produced a new range of high quality uniforms that they say have been rigorously trialled up to five times the industry standard. The thorough testing ensures that the products can withstand the majority of wear and tear of the playground – but they are also good value for money.
George at Asda have launched their back to school range, with prices starting from £2 and you can easily kit your son and daughter out in an entire uniform for just for £7.50. But despite the inexpensive price tags, the store say they do not skimp on quality control. So confident are they in their school wear that it is covered by a 100 day guarantee, so if mum isn't completely satisfied, she is entitled to a full refund no matter how many times the product has been worn.
Go in to most stores now and you will find a wide range of uniforms to choose from. Most have a nationwide in-store ordering service to solve the problem of tracking down the right garment in the right size and colour.
They also have schoolwear catalogues packed with a wide range of items for children aged three to 16, complete with detailed descriptions, size guides and photographs.