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September 26, 2009

Needlessly expensive school clothes are trying parents' patience

The Economist:

ASDA offers one for £55 ($90), Matalan for £49, and British Home Stores for £69 (including a shirt, tie and leather shoes). For a teenager needing to look smart, high-street retailers provide suits at a reasonable price. But not all pupils are allowed to shop around.

Johnny, aged 16, was told to return to his private school this autumn in a "charcoal wool two-piece with a fine blue pinstripe". It is available only from the school outfitters, and costs a cool £210. His father, Edward, a writer for The Economist, spent the summer arguing with the school about the uniform. "I don't object to his being nicer and more intelligent than I am," he says. "But I draw the line at his being more expensively dressed."

Parents and teachers usually like uniforms: they stop rich children from showing off, in theory inspire a proud work ethic and in practice keep gang colours outside the gates. But state schools that ape ancient private ones by adopting fancy uniforms have had a mixed reception. It is not the clothes that raise hackles, but specifying their source.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at September 26, 2009 1:26 AM
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