Thursday, 1 September 2011

Why have they changed the school uniform?

Like many, it's time for the kids to go back to school.  Like many, for some very obscure reason, the uniform has changed.  The kids, it seems are happy...they just like buying new things...but FFS I have three of the little darlings!  And I have to start all over again.  No more "hand-me-downs". I can't off load the stuff to friends; I can't give it to the school for re-cycling and it's all still in such good nick! The socks alone cost me £9 a pair (yes, it's a little excessive but they are at a private school and I get a BOGOF!). Finn will be leaving next year to go to "Big School" too, so his hand me downs won't go onto Mimi (and I really can't see her in his shorts!) so it looks like they're going to be relegated to the bin! Bart is starting at "Big School" so he now has a completely new wardrobe.

Jude (school gate mum), tells me that the smart new image is to encourage potential parents to send their offspring to the school.  To instill pride and glory. Apparently, the uniform hasn't changed much since the bygone era, where the girls wore boaters and the boys, caps.  They still wore their shorts until they were men (12 actually), then wore long trousers into their final year. Now, all boys will wear long trousers so I will now have to get out the darning kit as I can see the potential for damage!

The school itself basis it's values on the "old fashioned" approach due to it's long history.  It used to be a boarding school and if you go to the top of "Boarders Hall" where the main administration office is kept one you can see the old dormitories which are now stacked full of old music stands, tiny desks and chairs complete with inkwells, and dusty books. The headmasters office is grand and opulent, redolent of the days gone by. I believe he still has the original, highly polished desk which he sits behind twiddling with his moustache. I can tell he gets nervous around me as the twiddling gets faster and more manic...what can I say? I don't mean to make him feel ill at ease, and I worry what the staff say and does he think I'm going to pounce on him...not bleedin' likely!! 

Over the past few years I've collected an abundance of uniform items, from ties, to shorts and shirts all outgrown (not the ties of course...who outgrows a tie?) and they are all neatly stacked in the chest at the top of the stairs...in case of an emergency.  As I work away a lot of the time, each of them need a replacement uniform, gym and sports kit and all manner of accompaniments. Miriam (au-pair), doesn't "do" washing...I've banned her as the boys shirts turned a lovely shade of grey. Bart refuses to wear pink underpants, although Mimi would be happy to wear them, but they keep slipping off.

But why have they chosen this year to change the uniform from maroon to green?  I really don't get it!  Particularly in this economic down turn.  The school is only a tiny one and they can ill afford any loss of children.  Many have left, this year to start at the local state schools so instead of 15 to a class there will be on average 10. Great for us, but not so good for the school coffers and not so good for the competitive environment that children need.

Yesterday, I popped along to the local uniform suppliers, and just like me, Mums and Dads were desperately trying to kit their children out with their new uniforms.  Seeing the queue getting into their car park, made me realise it was a wrong move and perhaps I should have started earlier in the summer (what summer?). So I turned the car around and drove the the bowling alley, where we had a lovely time and saved myself an absolute fortune, although I guess I will be spending it all on Monday.

So, have your school changed their uniform?  And just how expensive is it?  I haven't told BH how much it's going to cost him...it's not coming out of my pocket, I have special things to buy...for me!


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