school uniform

With 6 years of school uniform now under our belt and 1 year working as a TA in our local primary school, I feel I can talk quite confidently about school lost property. I have been rifling through the lost property bins at school since they started. In Reception, all manner of their clothes and shoes went missing on a very regular basis and as the twins have moved up the school they have continued to forget cardigans on the back of chairs, misplace PE kits when getting changed in class, and one of them even managed to lose one trainer for about six months before it miraculously turned up!

First Day of school year 3

As a TA in Year 4, I was met daily by the lost property bin as it stood outside our classroom. It was overflowing all year around. There were shoes, plimsoles, COATS, ties and an ongoing stream of cardigans and jumpers. I decided to take action, being fully aware as a mother how frustrating it is to continually lose items. On one Open Classroom day just before Easter I asked for the four lost property bins to be brought into the hall and with the help of some of our wonderful students, we laid out all of the items on long tables and invited the parents to come and check for their lost clothes.

We had racks of coats, piles of swimming gear, even a towel! I can’t put a number on the amount of overflowing odd gloves and hats that there were.

school year 4

The most frustrating thing is, a good part of the lost property was NEW.

Fortunately, a fraction of the various garments had been labelled. The names were recognisable and even if we didn’t know the class, our lovely receptionist was able to direct us to the correct owner.

Label your school uniform

school uniform labels

That is the secret to being reunited with your school uniform and not having to go to the shops and pay out lots of money to replace it. Label your school uniform.

You have no idea how much lost property has no name on it!

It is impossible to get a garment back to its correct owner if there is no name inside.

There are many companies out there who produce labelling kits and Korbond has a great TAGIT range. They have iron-on labels for clothes that are washable and tumble dryer safe. They have stick-on labels for shoes that are heat resistant and durable and they have dishwasher safe labels for lunch boxes and water bottles. They also produce a handy laundry marker which has been developed to withstand continuous washing and is perfect for uniform and PE kits.

So, please – on behalf of the lost property bins up and down the country – label your child’s uniform before school starts!

Korbond has a wonderful #backtoschool competition on their Facebook page to win a family ticket for Diggerland UK, pop over and try your luck for a great family day out.

Disclosure: We were sent the TAGIT range for the purpose of this post.

school uniform

What an amazing half term but didn’t it fly by quickly?

We had a brilliant time in Devon and I managed to relax completely as the internet signal was very intermittent, much to husband’s delight. I will admit to feeling a bit jittery at first at not being able to access Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at the click of a button but then it wore off.

Luckily I had already prepared our back to school before we left home and just like last year, the girls have grown. They have outgrown their shoes and are a bit taller too which is a bit annoying with only 7 weeks to go before the summer holidays.

BUT it’s also the perfect excuse to indulge in a few new extra pieces of summer school uniform too. I love the pretty gingham summer dresses and there are plenty of styles to choose from too.

going to school

Our school colour is green, Irish nana Whooley would give a huge nod of approval at that as green was her favourite colour. I have added a couple of new green cardigans to our wardrobe too as the old ones were beginning to look quite faded.

I am really pleased with the shoes with velcro straps as it does help the girls become more independent in their dressing however they both need occasionally reminding which shoe goes on which foot.

I am still using white socks for them as I want to keep them young for as long as possible, I know only too well that sooner or later white socks will be a complete no-no.

Of course the increase in shoe size meant new plimsoles and trainers too but hopefully they’ll still fit in September too and we’ll get some more use out of them too.

So with only 7 weeks until the summer holidays, we’re kitted out and ready to tackle our last term in Year 1 before we move on to Year 2, why does that seem so scary right now?

Have you had to buy new uniform for the last term too?

Tesco school uniformI just had the most amazing online experience, instead of dragging the girls around shop after shop trying on uniform, shoes and exhausting them whilst searching for the essentials we’ll be needing over the next few months I popped on to the Tesco Clothing website and bought the bulk of their uniform for just over £50.

Tesco have spent a lot of time reviewing their school uniform offer to parents and making sure that their products tick all of the boxes that uniform has to.

Value for money

Prices have been kept to an absolute minimum and this is evident the moment you start selecting the garments of your choice. Cardigans in all typical school colours from £3 and black leather shoes from £8, plimsoles with easy velcro fastenings, perfect for youngsters who struggle with laces and buckles.

Quality

I have looked at the uniform in the more expensive stores on our high street and compared it with what’s on offer at Tesco and in all fairness I can’t really see any huge difference, the fabrics used are more or less identical, the cut is similar – allowing for growing children and the finished product off the shelf doesn’t show any marked difference

tesco school uniform

Improved features

I love the adjustable waistbands, all of my children have been skinny and often the clothes for their age size are too big in the waist, by having the handy elastic with buttons on the inside means I can get the right length trousers or skirt and adjust the waistband throughout the year as they grow.

tesco school uniform

The permanent pleats are a great idea too, saving much time in the ironing department, also I find with too much ironing the fabric starts to ‘shine’ these handy permanent pleats cut down on your ironing pile and still look smart at the same time. It also means if you’re in a rush to turn uniform around you can skip the ironing and use as it comes off the line!

tesco school shoes

Another great feature to look out for is their Teflon fabric protector assuring materials last longer, this I’ll have to get back to you around Christmas time. I did notice uniform I bought last year which looked perfect in September started to look pretty washed out by the time we got to December so personally I’m hoping the Teflon fabric protector will do the job for me.

These shoes are gorgeous aren’t they? I’ll take photos at half term to let you know how they survive … or not :)

tesco school shoes

What we bought

2 x scallop trim green cardigans – £3.00 ea
2 x jersey pinafore dresses – £6.00 ea
2 x packs of white knee high socks – £4.00
2 x white short sleeved shirt – £3.00
2 x Butterfly plimsoles – £3.50
1 x leather shoes – £12.50
1 x Bow shoes – £8.00
1 x pack of knickers – £2.50
1 pack of ankle socks – £4.00
oh and a fabulous black biker jacket for me! – £28.00

Tesco biker jacket

going to school

 

3.10pm Mrs H let’s the class out.

Bessie comes bounding towards me, a huge smile on her face carrying her lunch bag, her book bag, a half empty water bottle and a plastic bag with what looks like her school summer dress.

‘Oh dear. What happened?’ I ask relieving her and her sister from their bags and the days works of art. I note she is wearing an enormous school dress that isn’t ours.

‘Molly tried to help me open my fruit juice today at lunchtime and it squirted all over my dress!’ replies Bessie with peals of laughter at such hilarity.

She continues, ‘and then Mrs C (dinner lady) took me to find a clean dress and gave me an age 8 one!’ more laughter and a can you believe it mummy expression on her face.

 

This is not a one off. Sometimes there will be slips in the playground ending in wet trousers/tights/skirts. In reception there is the odd toilet oops requiring a complete change, so how much uniform should one stock up on and what are the tips to look out for when buying?

I’ve noticed the shops are stocking uniform ready for us to buy so what should we be keeping in mind when buying for the coming year?

Tips for buying school uniform

Make a list of everything you need. Your child’s school should give you a uniform checklist. Buy 3-4 of the key items such as  shirts so that you aren’t having to wash them every day. Buy lots of socks, for some reason I’m always hunting down pairs of school socks!

Shop early, avoid that stressful last minute rush and you most likely won’t be able to get it all in one go.

Be conservative, if you need more you can buy later. I made sure I had one change. (1 on, 1 in the wash)

Easy changing children will have to dress and undress themselves for PE and do up their own shoes, last summer I did a lot of practising with my two to get them ready but they still have come out of class with shirts inside out and shoes on the wrong feet. Choose velcro fastenings on shoes and polo shirts rather than long sleeved shirts if they are allowed.

Make life easy Make sure it’s all machine washable and look for easy or non-iron items. Some shorts and trousers have special stain repellant teflon-coating and you will also find that coloured polo shirts look cleaner for longer than white ones.

Growing room It’s amazing how much they shoot up over the course of a year I have found skirts, trousers with elasticated waists are good. Coats are worth buying with room to grow but make sure shoes are fitted properly. I wouldn’t buy these too much in advance, I bought the girls the week before school.

Label everything, I mean everything, by Christmas we were three gloves (different kinds) and two hats down but luckily as it was all named we retrieved them. You’d be amazed at the amount of uniform I saw in Lost Property, all un-named.  Use fabric pens, sew-in or iron-on labels.

school uniform

Marks and Spencer School Uniform Innovations

At the recent M&S Autumn Winter 2013 preview I spoke to the innovations team. They have spent a lot of time working on their School uniform products and I was so impressed I asked them to send me the details to pass on to you. They’ve been listening to mums and the problems that arise with uniform, then they go back to their desks and devise ways of putting the world right, take a look at what they’ve come up with.

Crease-Resistant – Crease resistant Trousers, Shorts, Skirts, Blazers, Pinafores and Summer Dresses.  Creases fall out more easily.

Stormwear+ – A finish that repels water and oil, M&S Stormwear+ lasts longer than any other stain defence technology on the high street.  Stormwear keeps you dry in rain showers and helps to repel mud and stains…  Available on Trousers, Shorts, Skirts, Blazers, Pinafores.

Sealed Hems – Thread that melts so the hems don’t fall down. All boys’ trousers have sealed hems and selected girls’ trousers too

Stain Away – A finish that helps stains wash away more easily, available on polo shirts and selected shirts/blouses

Supercrease – Supercrease –  ensures the crease is completely permanent on our classic school trouser. This is achieved by a special resin which is applied into the crease and ironed

Stay NEW – Stay NEW technology keeps clothes looking newer and brighter for longer, it also helps to reduce bobbling and colour loss

Ultimate Non Iron – Our ultimate non iron shirts are the best on the High Street. They have special taped seams and superior fabrics which allows mum to tumble dry then hang up with no need to iron!

Expandi Cuff – Special elasticated construction which means that cuffs on long sleeved shirts stretch, so that the button does not need to be undone.

Easy Close – Found up to age 8 on 2pk ultimate non iron shirts/blouses necks which close easily using Velcro

Fresh freet – Fresh Feet school socks – with Freshfeet antibacterial finish to keep feet fresh and odour free

Body sensor School tights – Body sensor tights – actively regulates your body temperature, keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer

Fresh Feet Finish Shoes – Freshfeet antibacterial finish to keep feet shoes and odour free for the lifetime of the shoe

Permanent Pleats – Permanent pleat stays neat and tidy to save time  – no need to iron them back in after washing

Scuff Resistant Shoes – Scuff resistant shoes

Ink Resistant Pockets – Special ink resist lining has been developed for use on the inside chest pockets on our classic blazers. This means that leaking pens won’t spoil your shirts!

Heat-sealed Button Security – The unique elastomeric gripping force and the heat sealing are the key to button loss prevention as the thread permanently squeezes the attaching threads.

Thermal – Keep toes toasty warm with these snug thermal socks

Engineered seams – Taped reinforced seams for a smooth neat look  on ultimate Non Iron

Adjust-a-hem (NEW for 2013) – Keep kids in their clothes for longer with our clever adjustable hem technology – simply….. 1. cut along the blind stitching, 2. remove the thread and 3. let down the extar 11/4″ of fabric and press

My Fit – Wider range of fits – plus, slim, short, long and extra long on slected styles online including skirts, trousers, pinafore, blazer, shirt and blouses

Heatgen – made from a special fibre blend that keeps you warm and comfortable.

Thinsulate™ inside quilted Blazers – With a warm thermal lining and Thinsulate™ technology,  ideal for cooler months. trapping air molecules between you and the outside, Thinsulate™ lining keeps you extra warm while remaining breathable, for great comfort and warmth.

Skin Kind – Special finish developed to help soothe sensitive skine eg eczema. Seams are as flat as possible, no sharp edged labels, latex-free elastics and any trims have been chosen to be super-soft. Also endorsed by the British Skin Foundation

Ultimate Non Iron on pure cotton – Our ultimate non iron shirts are the best on the High Street. They have special taped seams and superior fabrics which allows mum to tumble dry then hang up with no need to iron!

Starting primary school in September? Check out my post  Top tips for starting Primary school

school uniform5th September

My Timeline on Facebook this morning (and yesterday) was full of the sweetest children all dressed in the cutest school uniforms of all colours, red, green, blue and yellow too and where’s our uniform? Still in the wardrobe upstairs, freshly pressed, labelled and just itching to be worn.

I am very pleased with our choice of school it’s voted Outstanding by Ofsted, we’ve had a couple of visits in July where the children were invited along to ‘class’ with their teacher. I met the headmistress briefly who even gave me a guest post on How to prepare Little Ones for Big School but here we are still waiting to start, drumming our fingers and wishing time away.

I think back to when I went to school and the first day was The First Day and from that day on you simply went to school. I think back to my older kids who went to school in Italy, different country but they went to school on their first day and simply carried on going to school from then on. Even their nursery school (scuola materna) was start by jumping straight in and getting used to the idea. After all the teachers are trained to help settle children in their new environment.

Not at our school, we are being subjected to a namby-pamby induction process ‘to help the little ones settle in’ How does that translate?

School Induction Programme

Week one (w/c 3rd Sept) the entire infant school start but we are invited in for one morning only from 9.15 to 11.30. Also the class has been split over two days so in effect half the class will be missing. Total school for this week 2 and 1/2 hours

Week two (w/c 10th Sept) We sit at home all week and wait for a home visit which, for us, will take place on Wednesday. 20 minutes per child with lots of paperwork to fill in! (sounds like a Labour idea to me – they loved paperwork didn’t they?) I find this a total waste of time and very frustrating. If I lived in the Bronx or a ghetto somewhere I could maybe understand. If I lived in a community of alcoholics, drug addicts, thieves, murderers and other society misfits I could maybe understand the need but I live on a lovely estate with good people, we may have the odd idiot in our midst (hasn’t every community?) but just a quick visit to our school fetes, or the local shops will prove it to be the decent area I’m telling you it is. As much as I will enjoy Mrs T’s (name changed) company on Wednesday I’d much prefer my twins were getting used to proper school. Total school for this week 20 mins

school uniform

Week three (w/c 17th Sept) Oh no, our induction isn’t over yet, it’s merely beginning! Children attend school mornings only and to be collected at 12. So childcare needs arranging for working parents every afternoon. Total school for this week 15 hours and 3/4

Week four (w/c 24th Sept) yep we’re still being induced. Children can stay for lunch and therefore need collecting at 1.25pm. More childcare needs arranging for working parents. Total school 23 hours and 3/4

book bag and school hat

Week five (w/c 1st Oct) we finally start school

Now I realise by speaking out I may upset the headmistress or the teachers or the governors and really start the year off on a bad footing but the old fashioned First Day of School worked for years (I’m talking decades) so why change it? I have seen tearful mums shed tears as their little ones start the journey of growing up, I’ve seen over-protective mums anxious to keep control of their offspring, was it their moaning and complaints that got us in this position? If so as a normal mum who accepts time moves on and kids grow up do I get a voice in this or should I just stand back and keep quiet?

Will my outspoken moaning now cause grief for my girls at school? I sincerely hope not. I would hope that the points I make will be taken into consideration for future years, I hope people will read it as the person who stands up at the village hall and dares to speak against decisions made before them.

Let’s bring back First Day of School as it always was and how it should be

P.S Weds 12th Sept – We’ve just had our home visit, post to follow, and it was very enjoyable. Mrs T arrived with Miss A (name changed) the teaching assistant. We went through a lot of paperwork and there was an opportunity to ask questions which I did and I challenged Mrs T as to why this drawn out process mentioning the fact that after an initial visit they then had to wait 10 days to go back. Well, from the teacher’s point of view it it is actually a very helpful process and makes first days less traumatic for the children. So I eat a bit of humble pie and wait for Monday our 1st day