Back to School - What Parents should Do

Views 2 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
From left: Louise Pearson, Hannah Penson and Jo Price
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
From left: Louise Pearson, Hannah Penson and Jo Price

It's the summer holiday for your youngsters and time to forget about school, right? Wrong - there's plenty the earnest parent can prepare for, ready for the return to education in early September. Parents Louise Pearson (mum of Izzy, 13), Hannah Penson (Freya 5, Imogen 3) and Jo Price (Georgia 15, Lara 13, Evie 8, Noah 1) revealed their tips, tricks and essential purchases over a cuppa.
Hannah's daughter Freya ready for her first day at school
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
Hannah's daughter Freya ready for her first day at school
Jo recommends picking up clothing early
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Jo recommends picking up clothing early

Clothing - Do's and Don'ts

Jo: Go as early as you can. We’ve left it too late on many years and you turn up and there’s war and wrestling in the aisles, with people trying to put the only remaining 13-14 shirt on a 5-year-old. 

Hannah: You don’t have to go branded, cheap stuff in the supermarket will work for some things.  Don’t make the mistake I did; Freya started school last September but I ordered uniform for the next year. 

Go for a Cheaper Alternative

Louise: Cheaper clothes were brilliant for us when Izzy was little, because they were so easy to wash, and cheap. She was able to do what she wanted to do. With a secondary school uniform that’s £30 I’d be mortified if she was playing rugby in that, but at primary school, when it’s £4, it doesn’t matter so much. I found I was worried that she would be growing out of things by Xmas so I was buying two years in advance, and keeping them. 

Jo: I invested in good quality pinafore skirts because I have three girls, so I could pass them down, but with things like polo shirts you should buy many, and cheap. They'll   come back with paint all over them, and pen. 
If you have more than one child just pop the surname on the label
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
If you have more than one child just pop the surname on the label

Losing and Labeling

Hannah: A little tip on labeling – if you’ve got multiple children, put the surname on the clothing rather than the first name, so they can be passed on.
 
Jo: And label everything, including shoes. Label socks if you have children of different ages and they all have white socks and you need to differentiate them, some stores do socks with the sizes on them which is handy for pairing them.

A lot of stuff will get lost, hence the labelling. Evie has probably lost 4-5 jumpers this year alone. There’s a black hole where everything goes. That includes things such as hair bobbles – if you have a daughter, buy hundreds of them.
 
Hannah: The amount of time invested in making their hair look lovely only for all the bobbles clips and everything else to have gone…
Removing biro is no laughing matter for Hannah
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Removing biro is no laughing matter for Hannah

Keeping Clothes Clean

Hannah: No amount of stain remover will remove biro. It just won’t happen. 

Louise: Yes, it’s impossible. I found I was on the borderline of using bleach, for a £6 blouse. Just get them cheap, and be prepared to chuck them away like you do with holiday t-shirts. They‘ve got years of being children and I didn’t want to be worrying Izzy while she was painting about keeping herself clean. But it is hard to effectively write off money!
Jo's daughters, Lara and Georgia, ready for a day at school
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
Jo's daughters, Lara and Georgia, ready for a day at school
Umbrellas: pointless at school
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Umbrellas: pointless at school

Clothes for All Seasons

Jo: Wellies and raincoats are definite yeses, but not umbrellas because they’re not allowed to use them anyway.

A warm coat is a must, at primary school, plus gloves and hat. Attach the gloves to a bit of string so they don’t go missing. Don’t bother with scarves because they’ll just use them for playing 'horses' in the playground or strangling each other.

Jo:  Buy about a thousand pens for secondary school, and give them one a day because that’s the rate they’ll lose them at. Don’t bother with fountain pens.  And buy two maths sets, because the first will disappear. 
Louise met a lady who bought clothes just for their badges
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Louise met a lady who bought clothes just for their badges

Spending Big?

Louise: I saw a tatty uniform at a charity shop for a local school, in bad condition. There was a lady buying it. 

I got talking to her and she explained that she was buying it purely for the badge, which she would then cut off and stitch on a jumper that was the same colour as the school one. She couldn’t afford the proper school jumper, but this made her daughter feel part of things. It was a good idea, but also made me feel quite sad.

Jo: Buy at the start of the six week holiday, as early as you can. Be aware they will grow over the school holiday, but don’t go too big, just allow for a little bit of growing room. 
Opt for comfort over fashion when it comes to shoes
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Opt for comfort over fashion when it comes to shoes

Choosing the Shoes

Jo: Get the best you can afford. In secondary school they’ll tell you they want leather Converse, Vans and so on, but some schools are banning these because there’s too much pressure on the children to conform. I would suggest Dr Martens which are fashionable but hard-wearing.
 
Louise: Izzy only realised how many steps she was doing when I put an app on her phone, and then she came back to my way of thinking about shoes.

I said to her ‘Oh, you want heels do you?’ but when she counted her steps she  realised comfort was more important. I’d engineered it so it was her decision.
Expect little white lies, says Jo
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Expect little white lies, says Jo

Kids: Bending the Truth?

Jo: Children lie every day. It’s very likely, not so much in primary school although it does happen in year six, but definitely in secondary school.

They’re the only ones who don’t have a particular type of shoes, all of their friends wear Topshop every day so why can’t they, their teachers say that they need particular equipment...and so on. So there might be some white lies and my advice is to check online, as most schools have a criteria of what the pupils need.
Louise, Hannah and Jo talk about secondary school pressure
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
Louise, Hannah and Jo talk about secondary school pressure

Secondary Concerns

Louise: The moment Izzy got off that bus after that first day at secondary school she was like a different person. Every day she comes back with something different to tell me, So and So’s got this and So and So’s done that. 

The other day she told me that everyone was talking about how many acres they’ve got at home, and wanted to know how many we’d got. It’s pressure about where they live, what holidays they have, what they eat. For me, on my own with Izzy, I’m worried about shoes, let alone holidays to Spain. I’m missing out on that.  

Jo: My 15-year-old is on social media so I can see that when she tells me her friends have this and that, I can see that they do. As a parent you don’t want your child to miss out, but where does it end? 
Mobiles present a dilemma for some parents
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Mobiles present a dilemma for some parents

Phoning Home?

Jo: My girls take a phone with them but the school is hot on that. They can be confiscated if they come out during a lesson, and we make sure she knows the rules. For her it’s a safety net. She knows that if we’re not there to pick her up, she can get in touch.
 
Louise: For me it’s the same. If she misses a bus I don’t want her walking around town without a phone wondering what to do. In reality, all of these girls will soon have phones when they go to work, so for me it was essential that she had one now.  But there is a definite split in the type of phone they have – the iPhone brigade vs Samsung.
Do your kids get your old phone when you upgrade?
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Do your kids get your old phone when you upgrade?

Boring or Best?

Louise: Izzy had an issue with her skirt, where she was so scared of tripping over on the stairs, and damaging her phone that she was rolling her skirt up. I could see how anxious she was but I was secretly pleased that she valued the condition of the phone so much.

Jo: Both Georgia and Lara have got better phones than I have, to keep in with the crowd, and I don’t mind.
 
Louise: Izzy’s the same, when I change phones she gets the upgrade; I always think that Izzy is in the nest, and I have to give her every opportunity to fly, by making sure she has what she needs.
Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides