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Starting school in style

26 April

You may have just found out which primary school your child will be attending. It’s never too early to start 

stocking up on their school uniform. Kidswear editor and mum-of-three Maggie Davis offers some helpful tips.

Like most other parents I know, I can’t think of a more nerve-wracking moment than my eldest’s first 

day at reception. That mix of pride and anxiety. Will she like it? Will she hate it? Will she make friends? 

All normal stuff. With the rollercoaster of emotions, the last thing you want to be worrying about is 

what they are wearing. Ensuring they are well-presented in the correct (and comfortable) school 

uniform is crucial. In my case, I’d mistakenly dressed her top-to-toe winter uniform when they are 

meant to go back in summer kit. Who knew? Everyone else apparently. 


Here are my ten tips to help you buy that first school uniform:

1. Start with the basics

Talk to other parents, read the school uniform requirements in the school prospectus 

or on the website and write a list of exactly what you need. Even if it’s a school that 

wears ties, children might not be required to wear them until year one.

2. Get the right season

Most school start in summer uniform which may be gingham dresses for girls and 

short-sleeved shirts for boys (often worn until October half term) so ensure you are 

stocked-up in season-appropriate gear.

3. Make a list of everything you'll need

Work out which items you need to buy from a specialist local school uniform shop 

and which you can by from the Next uniform shop. You may have to buy a certain 

blazer or sweater with an emblem from a particular shop. 

4. Think PE kit

Some schools have a very precise sports kits and others don’t. Either way, ensure 

you have the right items. At the very least, they’ll need trainers, shorts, a t-shirt and 

tracksuit which you can pick up from our sportswear shops for boys and girls.

5. Don’t forget the details

Think socks, vest and underwear that fits. I always say go for cotton (for maximum 

comfort) and ensure it’s not too big and baggy or too tight - something as simple as 

an ill-fitting item of clothing can cause much anxiety for kids. Our school 

accessories for boys and girls have it covered.


 6. Bag the right bag

It’s funny but your child’s school bag becomes a real extension of them. It needs to be 

big enough to home their school books and a pencil case but also all the bits and bobs 

they accumulate like objects for show and tell. Check out our bags for boys and girls.

7. Don’t buy too much too soon

As tempting as it is to stock up on everything now, remember that you child will 

probably have a growth spurt over the summer.

8. But don’t leave it too late

Things do sell out in the two weeks before September. A good rule of thumb is 

to buy as much as you can just before the summer holidays. That way you get 

to relax all summer too.

9. Leave shoes till last

It's crucial that kids start school in shoes that fit perfectly. Ill-fitting shoes are miserable 

and will add to any anxiety your child has. Ensure you get them fitted in store or use our 

helpful print out size checker. With half-sizes and special widths, we've got everything 

from classic formal styles to more playground-friendly trainers in our boys and 

girls school shoe shops.

10. Let them have a say

School rules permitting, let them decide if they prefer skirts or trousers, a pinafore or skirt, 

wide or slim-fitting trousers. Let them choose the trimmings like pencil cases and bags. 

It’s really important your child feels like they have a say over what they are wearing.

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