Giving children a uniform to be proud of

We are delighted to be working with George at Asda on a new campaign to provide children on the lowest incomes with school uniform in the run up to the new school year.

The start of a school year should be an exciting time. But for many parents struggling with the cost of living crisis, it presents an extra challenge – how to afford new school uniform. 

This is particularly true for the families that we work with at Buttle UK, where school uniform formed part of 40% of the Chances for Children grants we made last year.  That it why we we are delighted to be working with George at Asda to be able to fund more school uniforms this year.

With the cost of kitting out a child for a school year as much as £175, it is no surprise that 90 per cent of parents in new research commissioned by George say they are worried about being able  to afford it all.

The research also found that 40% of UK parents are having to send their child to school in old or worn uniforms that do not fit them anymore, and more than half (53%) said that was because they simply could not afford to buy new ones. As a result of that, more than a third (35%) of parents said they know their child felt embarrassed going to school and 9 in 10 (92%) said they were worried their son or daughter could be bullied.

Already some are having to make tough choices. Over half plan to reduce their energy use at home, while four in 10 families are cutting back on their food shop to find the extra funds needed for back-to-school items.  And others are having to take even more drastic measures: more than one in 10 say they will be skipping meals and going hungry so they can ensure their child has the right school uniform. But with the cost of living crisis already biting into family budgets, even these measures might not be enough. 

Through our partnership with George at Asda we are able to give disadvantaged children and their families support to buy school uniform and other essential via their Better Starts initiative. 

Better Starts aims to support 5 million children and help them reach their full potential. As part of this, George at Asda is providing £125,000 in Gift Cards for Buttle UK to distribute through our Chances for Children grants to help ensure children in the lowest income families have everything they need to fully engage with school this coming year. And a uniform that they can be proud of.

Support to receive school uniforms is through our usual Chances for Children grant application process.  All applications for these grants must be made through a local support service.  For more information on eligibility and how to apply for a grant please click here.

Support to receive school uniforms is through our usual Chance for Children grant application process.  These grants are for specifically for children and young people who have experienced a crisis that has recently had a significant and enduring impact on their social and emotional wellbeing and educational engagement.

All applications for these grants must be made through a local support service.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply for a grant please click here.

The Children Society published a report in 2020 where nearly a quarter (23%) of parents surveyed said that the cost of school uniform had meant their child had worn ill-fitting, unclean or incorrect uniform. They estimate that this means more than 1.8 million children.

Wearing the wrong uniform can lead to children being bullied, feeling left out or even being sent home from school: they go on to estimate that nearly half a million children have been sent home from school for wearing incorrect uniform because their families could not afford the correct uniform.

Please add to the funds that George at Asda have generously donated and make a contribution to the campaign.

  • £5 will pay for a gym bag
  • £11 will pay for 2 pleated school skirts
  • £12.50 will pay for a pack of 5 school shirts
  • £19 for a pair of boys school shoes

Because of the legacy left by our founder we cover our own admin costs so 100% of your donation will pay for these items

This is an issue where schools, charities, retailers like Asda who supply uniform, and the Government can all play a part.

The Government issued new guidance in November last year. It encourages school leaders and governors to think carefully about cost when creating their school uniform policies, specifically is states:

  • Schools should keep the use of branded items to a minimum.
  • A school’s uniform policy should be published on the school’s website, be available for all parents, including parents of prospective pupils, and be easily understood.
  • Schools should ensure that their uniform supplier arrangements give the highest priority to cost and value for money (including the quality and durability of the garment).
  • Single supplier contracts should be avoided unless regular tendering competitions are run where more than one supplier can compete for the contract and where the best value for money is secured. This contract should be retendered at least every 5 years.
  • Schools should ensure that second-hand uniforms are available for parents to acquire. Information on second-hand uniforms should be clear for parents of current and prospective pupils and published on the school’s website.
  • Schools should engage with parents and pupils when they are developing their school uniform policy.

This is not something Buttle UK can arrange, we are only a small team and our focus in on providing grants to support children and young people.  The best place to start if you have uniform that you would like to donate is to talk to your children’s school, most will have a second-hand uniform scheme.

We have calculated what it will cost to kit out a primary or secondary school child at George:

  • Boy, aged 7: £160
  • Girl, aged 7: £156
  • Boy, aged 13: £199
  • Girl, aged 13: £19

This make the average cost just over £175.

The Children’s Society published a report in 2020 which included branded items and indicated that this cost can be as much as £337 per year for each secondary school child and £315 per year for each primary school child.

Asda Better Starts aims to address the barriers that prevent kids getting on in life by tackling hunger, breaking down inclusion barriers and boosting children’s wellbeing.

We work alongside some great charity partners to support thousands of children every year, and we are so proud of our community champions, who make a huge impact, delivering educational activities in schools and accessing grants available through the Asda Foundation, to provide essential resources to local groups.

Liz Evans, Managing Director, George at Asda

The cost of living crisis is impacting us all, but buying school uniform – something that should be a great equaliser for children – is creating extra stress for those on the lowest incomes. “We are delighted to be working with George at Asda on this campaign. Please consider making a donation to help give a child a uniform they can be proud of.

Joseph Howes, CEO, Buttle UK