Back to School: Advice For Parents

With many households struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and energy bills likely to rise again before the end of the year, is there any way to keep the cost of sending your child back to school to a minimum? Jodie Lockwood, Branch Coordinator at Leeds Credit Union, takes a look.

In the UK, the cost of back-to-school essentials continues to rise year-on-year, with the average spend on clothing alone now standing at approximately £315 per primary school pupil and a staggering £337 per secondary school child. And that’s before you add in the cost of additional equipment like stationery and electronic devices.

We could all do without another significant outlay at the moment. So how can you reduce the cost of sending your child back to school?

School uniforms

With so many items of clothing required, it’s no surprise that school uniforms account for the largest back-to-school expenditure, especially if they need to have the school’s logo on them and can only be purchased from a designated supplier.

Fortunately, there are ways to procure new school uniforms without breaking the bank. Such as…


Organisations like Uniform Exchange help families struggling with the cost of school uniforms by offering second hand clothing for free and encouraging people to donate items their kids have grown out of so they can be reused.

School or council support

Although funding cuts have made it harder for councils and state-run schools to provide grants for school uniforms, some councils and schools do still offer financial support. Use the Government’s postcode checker tool to see if your local council can help, or contact your child’s school directly.

Shopping in supermarkets

If your children go to schools that don’t dictate where their uniforms have to be bought from, consider buying them from a supermarket – the average prices on the websites of four large UK supermarkets were approximately £58 less for a primary school uniform and £118 for a secondary school uniform.

Looking online

Facebook Marketplace, local Facebook groups, eBay and other online outlets can be invaluable resources in the run-up to the return to school. Sellers offering bundles can be particularly good value for money and are well worth keeping an eye out for.

Electronic devices

In addition to the cost of school uniforms, computing equipment is also driving up the cost of sending kids back to school.

But if the cost of buying a new laptop is prohibitive, don’t worry – refurbished laptops are easily available in shops and online and offer an affordable way to purchase a high specification laptop at a reduced price. Check out Refurbished Laptops for high quality devices that have been tested to guarantee they’re as good as new and wiped clean of previous data.


Despite the prevalence of laptops among today’s schoolchildren, they still need plenty of stationery.

The good news is that stationery is both relatively inexpensive and long-lasting. Retailers like WHSmiths and Rymans usually have sales on back-to-school essentials during August so remember to regularly check their websites and take advantage of their offers to keep your costs down.


Leeds Credit Union provides straightforward and affordable financial services to people in Leeds, Wakefield, Harrogate and Craven.

Photo: School Uniform Swap LS11 hold regular swap shops in Cross Flatts Park