Children’s school uniform and shoes – Back to School

In the middle of the uniform fitting, in an overheated and congested uniform shop, 45 minutes drive out of London, I came to think that I’d wish I was back, living in Scandinavia. There’s no uniform in the Scandinavian (state) schools. No uniform shops, what-to-get-lists and endless fittings. There’s no black leather shoes and no tights and socks. Children would wear a sweater, a pair of favourite denims and practical sneakers. With backpacks hanging over their shoulders and wearing a wind and waterproof jacket, they would walk together, unaccompanied from the age of 6-7.

When moving to the UK we found the school system being one of the biggest difference from what we were used to. But on a positive note, we’ve actually experienced the uniform policy to be a good thing. One would think there are less bullying with using a uniform as differences in social backgrounds are not so visible. There’s no stress in the morning with what to wear. It’s the navy sweater with the bright yellow school logo printed on it. It creates a team feeling, especially when competing against other schools in everything from chess and dance to sports events. The school shoes, can be of rather high quality. And there’s nothing more soft and comfortable than high quality leather shaped into a supportive shoe for growing feet.
So on that note, I lined up in the uniform shop to pay, as number 28 in front of the till, with a basket filled to the rim.
School shoes by Angulus

What we found; You don’t need to get everything in an expensive uniform shop. The quality seem to be fairly good in terms of that is washes well without shrinking and bubbling. Several high street department stores and even grocery shops carries basic school uniforms, almost in the same quality as the uniform shops.
There is however a lack of natural fabrics such as pure cotton and wool. When we lived in Edinburgh one could choose grey skirt or dress. So we had one made at a seamstress, in 100% wool. I picked a nostalgic old school pinafore style, and paid £12 for it. It was almost stain resistant and it kept Little B warm and comfortable in the old Victorian school building over the colder winter months. The school shirt and blouses are usually in polyester or other non natural fabrics, that doesn’t transport sweat away from the body and that will simply not keep your child warm. There are a few sites online that specialise in pure cotton uniforms. This is one. If you are looking for more comfortable styles, do a simple google search and several options will come up.
Underwear is also important. Again, choose natural fabrics next to skin. We also use wool underwear in the winter months, a mix of soft and cozy silk and wool that will regulate your little ones body temperature throughout the day. No more freezing cold little bottoms.
Then for school shoes, there’s good brands such as Angulus, Ecco and Campers. All which are made with little feet in mind, is non restrictive and just immensely comfortable. And you may also buy them online. Shoe fitting is no specialist task. Didn’t you read my previous post about our experience with a professional shoe fitter at the department store? I’m sure you’ll manage just fine. In fact Slummy Mummy wrote about the buying school shoes in this Saturday’s the Times Magazine. Hilarious take on the subject. A comment I received on this blog said “Did the whole fitting thing once when my son was v.young. Never again, walked out of big dept store like you when the massive queue was not diminishing for back to school in August and he lived in Angulus soft chelsea boots for the next 8 years!”

So what are your views on the School uniform? And how are you getting on with the last preparations before school starts?

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