Parents struggling to meet costs of school uniforms

WITH the new school year fast approaching, parents are struggling to pay for their children’s new school uniforms, and are often finding that they are forced to buy from only approved stockists.
One mother recently told the Herald that she spent £300 kitting out one of her children, and still has to buy for another child.
The distressed mother, who did not want to be named, told the Herald, “The cost of a school uniform is a joke. I have two boys to kit out – one is at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School (ERGS) and the other is just starting this year at Devenish College.”
The mother claimed that the price of the ERGS blazer was twice the price of that of Devenish College, and that they must be purchased from an approved stockist.
Currently, it is believed that the ERGS blazer is £100, while the Devenish College blazer is £63 in a local stockist.
Along with the cost of the uniform, parents must also pay out for PE Kits, school bags and books.
Dylan Quinn, a father of four from Enniskillen has previously voiced his anger at the price of uniforms, and is facing another hefty bill before his children return to school.
“The cost of blazers is astronomical and there is no real need for the cost of it. In England you can buy a general blazer, and attach the badge to it. I think school authorities are demonstrating a complete disconnection with the impact it has on families who are struggling. We now have three children at ERGS and we are spending well over £300 on three blazers,” said Mr Quinn.
Defending the cost, principal of ERGS Elizabeth Armstrong told the Herald that items of their uniform can be purchased from a number of outlets provided they conform to certain requirements
“The blazers currently cost from £80- £96, depending on size. The cost of the blazer is related to various factors including fabric; in taking the decision to opt for this blazer, issues such as durability were taken into consideration by the Board of Governors.
“The Board of Governors keep the cost of uniform under constant review and in our most recent communications to parents regarding purchase of uniform, we highlighted items which should be purchased from the approved stockist and items which can be purchased elsewhere provided they conform to regulation requirements in terms of colour and style.
Mindful of the costs for parents we are keeping the list under review and we are looking at our regulation skirt for 2019-20.”
Simon Mowbray, Principal of Devenish College failed to respond by the time of going to print.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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