New school uniforms prove tough on family pockets after festive spending

Jazmine Sharpley, 6, tries out her school uniform. Her mom Jenilee van der Byl helps her out.
Picture Werner Hills

The reality of an early December pay day is hitting home for thousands of parents, who are now scraping together a quite considerable chunk of change to kit out their children in school uniforms.

These average about R1 500 for the bare necessities – a blazer, trouser or skirt, white shirt, socks and shoes.

In addition, parents also have to budget for sportswear, which ranges between R500 and R1 500 for a full tracksuit, golf shirt, shorts and socks as well as running shoes.

The prices increase annually at a rate of about 5% to 6%, Birch’s director Nick Mowbray said.

A Weekend Post reporter visited two of the Bay’s major uniform stockists – outlets that predominantly cater to former Model C schools – namely Birch’s and Schultz, both in Newton Park.

Staff at both outlets said the blazer was the most expensive.

Prices ranged from R500 to R1 200 for a blazer, depending on size and school.

Mowbray said: “Our selling prices are up by 5% to 6% year to year. The increase is purely inflationar y.”

Asked what was the most expensive item, he said: “A blazer. Quantity and quality of material and labour time required to produce the uniform item determine price.

“Mandated labour wage increase in the local clothing industry was plus-minus 7.5%.

“All of the suppliers that we buy our school uniforms from are locally based as we choose to support the local clothing industry.”

Coming in second on the price scale were school tracksuits, which ranged from about R300 to R800, depending on the size and school.

This was closely followed by school shoes, which ranged from R350 to R500 depending on shoe size and brand.

However, white school shirts were the surprising expense, with prices ranging between been R110 and R200 at the two stockists, and grey trousers ranging from R180 to R350.

Anton Schultz, co-owner of Schultz clothing, said: “Annually the price increases between 5% and 7% on uniform items. But it really just depends on the school because they are all so different. But roughly it would cost about R1 500 for a full school uniform.

“But again it depends on each school. Even badges range in price because all these manufactured items are computerised and every stitch is counted and charged accordingly.

“But like anything else, uniforms will continue to rise annually.”

Parents with children at schools where the school shirts have no badges are the most fortunate as they are able to source shirts at various retailers for about half the price.

When looking at clothing for a Grade 8 pupil starting at one of the former model C schools, parents will have to fork out about R885 for the blazer, white shirts at R150, school shoes at about R400, trousers or shirts at R250 and school socks at R85.

The uniform runs up a R1 770 bill – without even factoring in a second shirt, skirt or pair of trousers.

Should your little one also be a keen sportsman, parents will have to fork about R500 for a full tracksuit, running shoes at about R500 a pair, white golf shirt and shorts at about R200, and R85 for socks. The sports day attire sets parents back about R1 285.

It presents a grand total of R3 055 for your child to attend a day of schooling and participate in a sports event thereafter.

However, second-hand items are available at a cheaper rate at most schools.

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