A new school or new term can be exciting but complicated for both parents and children, not least because of the potential for back to school shopping headaches. Easy for us to say, but don't leave buying school uniform to the last minute. The summer holidays usually fly past and, before you know it, the annual rush to kit your child out has begun. Preparation is key, so get everything you need in plenty of time, then you can sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of the summer holidays.
1. Always try and buy school unifom early
Without meaning to sound like a broken record, Back to School is our busiest time so I'd urge you to buy early to avoid disappointment. Ideally try and shop before the end of July or in early August. I know parents fear summer holiday growth spurts, but when you shop in our schoolwear departments our Partners can advise on buying to allow for this.
To make things easier, we stock more school uniform than ever before, so you can get everything in one shop. You'll find the entire range of general school uniforms and sportswear, together with shoes, bags and stationery.
2. Know what you need
It's worth checking whether your child's school has a uniform list, so you know exactly what they'll need. We now sell school-specific clothing for over 300 schools exclusively online. Each school has a handy PDF check list so you can make sure you've got the complete uniform.
You can still visit our shops to try sample sizes on, if you wish. Then one of our Partners can help you order your uniform online, or you can order it online in the comfort of your home.
For other schools which have a more general uniform without logos, I'd recommend the following minimum quantities as a rule of thumb: 3 shirts or blouses to allow one on, one in the wash and a spare, 2 sweatshirts or cardigans, 2 trousers/skirts. Take a look at our sizing guide for sizing and further tips.
3. Try to buy most of your uniform together
This idea might seem like a big task, as it's an expensive business and it's often the last thing your children want to do, but it means you can try everything on together to make sure jackets and coats fit over the rest of the uniform and that trousers sit well with shoes.
4. It’s not just about the uniform
Making sure your children are wearing the correct clothing is important but don’t forget why they’re at school in the first place. In order to do their work they’ll need all the right stationery. We’ve got a page specifically devoted to Back to School stationery so that they won’t be short of any supplies, from basic essentials to arts and crafts materials. If your little learners are just starting out at school or still in the earlier stages of education, they might need extra comforts to keep them engaged with learning. Have a look at our Children’s Stationery section to find items with amusing graphics and popular cartoon characters, so that lessons can be fun.
5. Bag it up
They’ll also need something to carry all of their stationery and books in. Take a look at our collection of school bags to see which is right for your child. Whether your school has their own bespoke bag or you’re looking for something more individual, it’s all there for both lessons and sports - you'll find rucksacks, messenger bags, traditional satchels and PE bags. And if they’re taking a packed lunch to school they’ll want a lunch box with a cool design to keep their lunch safe and fresh.
And don't forget, we stock school uniform and school-related essentials all year round. If you do have an emergency and need your uniform quickly, why not try our Click & collect service? Place your order online before 7pm, and you'll be able to collect it free of charge from any of our shops and selected Waitrose branches after 2pm the following day - emergency over!