Back to school competition – win Tesco vouchers

This week has been back to school week. Like most years, it has rather snuck up on me, and I haven’t been terribly well prepared. Belle had been back for several days for instance before I got round to buying her a lunch box. Whoops. One thing at least I did remember this time was the in service training days, which makes a nice change.

At her new school in Bristol, Belle doesn’t have to wear a school uniform. I can’t decide whether, for a slightly ‘relaxed’ parent such as myself, this is a Good Thing or not.

On the plus side, it means you never have that Sunday night panic where you remember you have to wash the school uniform, and then turn the heating on, even though it’s technically still summer, so you can hang it on the radiators to get in dry in time.

It also means your child doesn’t have the humiliation of having to wear cheap, unbranded versions of things, because you refuse to pay £12 for a PE t-shirt, just because it has a logo on it.

On the downside, it does mean that Belle’s school friends are being exposed to the full force of her rather ‘flamboyant’ dress sense. Yesterday she wore black leggings, a pink floral skirt, a blue t-shirt with flowers on and a grey and black spotty cardigan. Bee does not approve. “You can’t let her go to school like that,” she chastises me, rolling her eyes in despair. I on the other hand, am more inclined to let her express herself through her clothes. It’s what I’ve always done. But then Bee quite often does the same eye rolling at the outfits I choose to leave the house in.

It’s what on the inside that counts though right?

Last year I was helped out on the uniform front by Tesco, who kindly solved all my worries by sending me one of their uniform packs. This year, due to the lack of uniform, I had to decline. “Well we don’t want you to miss out,” Tesco told me, “how about we send you a nice school coat and shoes instead? And maybe some vouchers?” Jolly decent of them I thought.

The coat is rather stylish, and Belle looks very fetching in it. Plus with the buttons done right up it disguises the flower/polka dot combo nicely.

As I mentioned, Tesco have given me a £15 online voucher to do with as I please. I have decided to use it as a straightforward bribe, to ‘encourage’ you to comment. What are your thoughts on uniforms? Good or bad? Pain in the arse, or a useful way to protect children from an inherent lack of style?

I’ll give you plenty of time – partly so you can give some thought to what is clearly a hugely important and contentious issue, but mainly because I’m way next week at Kind und Jugend, (about which I am getting quite excited).

A winner will be chosen at random once I’m back, and then you’ll have fifteen whole pounds to go crazy with. Every little helps…



  1. Robyn Clarke
    8 September, 2011 / 7:35 pm

    I think uniforms are an important part of school, in some ways it prevents bullying and kids that can’t afford designer clothes from being teased.

    I went to a school that was extremely strict on dress code and it never did me any harm :-)

  2. 8 September, 2011 / 7:36 pm

    I think it is a very stylish coat. Two points for Tesco!

  3. 8 September, 2011 / 7:38 pm

    Good for stopping bullying I think, making sure everyone’s wearing the same.

  4. Danielle Baker
    8 September, 2011 / 7:45 pm

    I think that school uniforms are a great concept.
    They help to make all children feel included , so that the ones who don’t have designer clothes etc won’t feel left out.
    I also think that if children are dressed formally then they’re more likely to act in the same manner.
    I also love how uniform is much more accessible to parents nowadays.
    When I was at school some 10+ years ago , supermarkets didn’t really stock school wear so things were a lot more expensive to buy.
    Now Tesco’s etc sell EVERYTHING you need , at great quality and a tiny price. Brilliant!!

  5. Ashleigh
    8 September, 2011 / 7:50 pm

    I think its a good idea to have uniforms – it can help to prevent bullying!

  6. 8 September, 2011 / 7:59 pm

    I’m coming down on the ‘YES to uniforms’ side here. My children are too young to be in school, however, so I might change my mind… I can barely drag myself to the kitchen sink to wash up these days, so goodness knows how I’ll cope washing uniforms.

    My opinion is based on my memories of the incredibly ill-thought out things I wore as a teenager. My cringing memories begin when I started to choose my own clothes. Just after I hung up my lilac dungarees, usually worn with an aztec hoodie underneath (I am female, by the way), I became fond of the following ensemble which I wore religiously. It consisted of salmon pink dappers (laces removed – this was a statement), stripy socks, a long denim skirt with an attached – designed to show – petticoat, a green and white stripy (hand-knitted) tank top and god only knows what underneath it. Just to reiterate – these things were all worn TOGETHER. Of course, there was also the purple shell suit with green stripes which I teamed with some ‘fierce’ green eyeshadow. However, when I was at school, I couldn’t wear any of it. THANKfully. Sure, I chewed the end of my tie, I rolled my short skirt up and slashed slits in my long one, I artfully untucked one side of my white shirt… I even led a protest against leotards – but I blended in enough to go largely unnoticed throughout my school years and I think that was probably a good thing, all things considered.

    Just as an aside, I think Belle’s outfit sounds nice. Though perhaps don’t tell her I said that given what I’ve just confessed to.

  7. 8 September, 2011 / 8:30 pm

    i think uniforms are a great idea , our school has recently introduced Nike PE kit though , which im not impressed with . I dont think schools should promote brand names , it makes children more aware of them . My kids are 11 and 12 and have NEVER asked for certain names or brands until now!!
    I do think that they stop bullying tho , as everyone looks the same

  8. abby bookham
    8 September, 2011 / 8:40 pm

    I like uniform, it gives children a sense of identity and pride in themselves and the school. Most schools are sensible about their unifirm policy so that parents can make choices based on their wallets. I wish the supermarkets sold more 100% cotton uniform as it can be a struggle if you need cotton uniform for children with eczema

  9. zainab govalia
    8 September, 2011 / 8:48 pm

    Its a great way to bring equality within students and to make sure they have decent clothing.

  10. 8 September, 2011 / 8:50 pm

    I’m a fan of school uniforms…the amount of time that it would take my kids to choose what to wear if uniforms were not compulsary, would make them late for school everyday!

  11. Pippa
    9 September, 2011 / 9:24 am

    We aren’t at the uniform stage (and frankly I can’t ever imagine my little one being big enough but I know I will blink and there he will be!) but I do think they are a good idea. They remove the distraction of children judging each other’s clothes and gives them a sense of school spirit. I remember the trauma of deciding what to wear for Sixth Form and that was hard enough, without the little ones going through it too!

  12. Loops
    9 September, 2011 / 2:26 pm

    I am in favour of uniform, although I frequently have to do the last minute wash! My only problem with my son’s school (High School) is that they HAVE to wear a school branded sweatshirt @ £20 each. These get lost incredibly quickly – especially at this time of year when a chilly start can soon become a warm day, resulting in removal of said item, and inevitable loss. They also have to wear school branded sportswear which is very expensive but I bought larger sizes and these have lasted 3 years.

    I also actively encourage him to go to lost property and pinch anything without a name in it! Wrong on every level but hey ho!

  13. 10 September, 2011 / 10:48 am

    Brilliant blog again,school uniforms that are branded drive me insane. My youngest joined his brother in secondary school this week,the uniform is only avaliable via the school site and every thing is bloody branded with the school logo.
    Well apart from the pants but I’m sure it won’t be long.
    Were the youngest is so small we couldn’t even get away with hand me downs so 500 quid lighter they are now both decked out in uniform that they will loose or get stolen as they all bloody look the same !

    Rant over,xx

  14. kushla p
    10 September, 2011 / 8:28 pm

    i think they’re pretty sensible and bloody hard wearing. asda trousers are like armour!

  15. 10 September, 2011 / 9:39 pm

    I do like the idea of uniform but as others have said, hate the fact that schools get so picky about what type and where to buy it from….it can be ridiculously expensive

  16. 11 September, 2011 / 11:15 pm

    Being a Ginger there was no amount of cool clothes that would’ve made me blend into the school population. I was grateful for my uniform of giant navy gym knickers, unflattering pleated skirts and oversized shirts (passed down from my older male cousins!). If I’d worn my own home-made wardrobe consisting of Mum’s speciality John Virgo waistcoat, multicoloured MC Hammer pants and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle knitted jumper my Nana made me then I wouldn’t have left school alive. So for me the uniform wins every time! (and my own kid will never ever wear anything I’ve made for him or my Nana has knitted).
    Gem x

  17. 12 September, 2011 / 10:40 am

    I’ve found these comments fascinating.

    ‘School uniform prevents bullying’ is the classic argument, but I have to say I just don’t buy it. I went to five different schools as a child, and have seen two children through seven different schools between them so far – some with uniform and some without – and my experience just doesn’t back up the ‘uniform equals less bullying’ argument.

    Kids can be mean, they can spot weakness a mile off, and regardless of whether you’re all in the same clothese or not, a bully will find something to bully you about.

    And the fact is that even if you’re all wearing uniform, it doesn’t mean you all look the same. I asked Bee if she thought having a uniform reduced bullying, and she said ‘No, you can tell what someone would be wearing if they weren’t in uniform.’

    If you are going to pick on someone because of the quality of their clothes, won’t you just pick on them because of the state of their shoes, or the holes in their regulation uniform?? Or the colour of their hair, or their weight, or any number of other factors??

    I’d love to think that just enforcing a uniform would make a significant impact on bullying, but surely if that was actually the case, if there was any evidence that it made a difference, then all schools would be required to have a uniform?

  18. onlydads
    12 September, 2011 / 10:51 am

    I have had more school uniform arguments (usually at 7.15am) than you could wave a stick at!

    Both my Ds – and 11 yo is only one week in to her new school – try and push the uniform boundaries.

    If I was PM I would pass a law:

    Schools: If you have a uniform make sure every child is given the kit and wears it. Or, don’t bother with uniform.

    I’d be happy with either – it’s the middle ground that does my head in!

    ps – did you know the tie my 11 yo has to wear “strangles her” #badtie

  19. Kelly Padwick
    12 September, 2011 / 11:41 am

    My daughetrs wear a uniform and i’m glad of it! They spend far too much time at weekends choosing an outfit (and they are only 7 and 9!) so I dont think I could cope with their moan s of ‘I havemt got anything to wear’ on school days too x

  20. K bailey
    16 September, 2011 / 12:03 pm

    I love the idea of a uniform it means they are all in the same no choosing in the morning of what they wish to wear I am organised the night before with the uniform set out ready for the off… It makes my like much easier and the children look smart and presentable

  21. 17 September, 2011 / 5:41 pm

    I teach at a sixth form college and we have no uniform – but it is a long time since I came across that pre 16. I find uniform easier – and it does limit some differences, but it is not something I can ever get excited about either way

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