It's coming up to that point in the Summer holidays when, like it or not, I need to start thinking about going back to school. For me, as a teacher, this involves burying my head in the sand and building a castle on top of it. However as a parent? Let's get buying the school uniform pronto before it all runs out!
As The Boy is entering Year Two now, I've had a couple of years experience of different suppliers of school uniform and have tried most of the supermarket own brand uniforms with varying degrees of success. This past year has illustrated the cheaper uniforms shrink terribly in the tumble dryer or lose the colours quickly. I now understand why my sister invests a little more to buy uniform from Marks and Spencer.
I was recently invited to try out some of the M&S school uniform and sat down to select what The Boy needs. We're quite lucky in our school that there aren't huge rules and regulations regarding what they need to wear as long as the colours comply, it made choosing trousers etc far easier. The main thing to note for us is that the uniform selection doesn't contain coloured polo shirts or sweatshirts which I know many primary schools (including ours) now favour. However, the selection of trousers and P.E. kit is excellent, and they have really thought long and hard about the innovations that will make the uniform easier for children to put on and wear during the day, or to ensure that they last longer throughout the school year.
- expandicuff – elasticated cuffs that mean children don't need to worry about fiddly buttons on sleeves;
- adjust-a-hem – hems on trousers with extra material that can be let down as your child grows;
- permanent pleasts – pleats that stay after washing so no need to iron them in;
- triple action stormwear – high performance finish that helps to repel stains and water, helping to release stubborn stains during washing;
- active sport with pure silver technology – draws moisture away from the skin, helping to keep cool , dry and fresh all day long;
- freshfeet – active biocidal substance (silver ions) which keep socks fresh and odour free for the lifetime of the socks.
At this point I feel the need to almost apologise for my son's interpretation of model poses in the photographs, he's stopped being demure and feels the need to pull Superman-style poses etc. at times. What can I say? He's six.
The Boy is able to wear either grey or black trousers for school, although I do sometimes put him in joggers on cold days as well. I'm quite fussy with the style of trousers that I choose and opted for flat front trousers in both grey and black which feature triple action stormwear, an adjustable waist (really important as he's only six and doesn't tend to undo his trousers when taking them on or off, he just pulls them up and down), crease resistant (useful for washing and drying, saving ironing time) and hemsafe (reinforced hems which stay don't start coming down within the first three wearings!). At £13.00 for two pairs I'm confident of the quality and that they will last all year long looking just as good on the last day as they did on the first day.
For P.E. lessons The Boy just needs a pair of black shorts and a white t-shirt, and some black daps/plimsolls. Marks and Spencer sell pure cotton short sleeve t-shirts in packs of two with the active sport and stay new innovations, and they make a point of highlighting that the cotton is responsibly sourced. £7.00 for two white t-shirts is a good price especially as they are such good quality cotton. I also selected pure cotton P.E. shorts in black for him which come in a two pack; they're thicker cotton but have a soft elasticated waist and he felt very comfortable in them. In the past I've bought him the football style shorts but he didn't like them very much and was more than happy with these. The pure cotton joggers are going to be the true test of quality as those that I've bought from Next or Asda in the past have shrunk horrendously within a month of washing and wearing, I have high hopes that these will last! They have a nice slim fit on them, and he was desperate to race around the garden with me timing him, in order to test them out.
The last item I selected was a water repellant reflective jacket. I usually buy him a jacket with reflective stripes or patches on, but this whole jacket is reflective and very funky indeed! It alarms me the amount of children who walk home from school in the darker months with a dark school coat on and they can't be seen; let's light them up and keep them safe.
Marks and Spencer are constantly searching to improve their school uniforms with new innovations to make life easier for parents and children, they currently have a competition running to see if your children can create the next winning innovation:
What if blazers could glow in the dark? What if rucksacks hovered by your side?
Tell us what brilliant thing you’d invent for your school uniform and you and your family could blast off to the Kennedy Space Center to meet an astronaut – or win a £150 M&S voucher. So get your smarty-pants on! See here for details.
I was sent these products for the purpose of this post, my opinions are honest and unbiased.