What costs to expect when your child starts school

In the UK, parents can decide whether they want to send their children to a government-funded school, that is free to attend, or an independent school which requires a termly payment of several thousands of pounds. Regardless of the type of school you choose to send your child to, there will still be some costs that you should factor into your budgeting so that they don’t come as a surprise.



When your child first starts school, you will have their uniform, PE kit, and shoes to think about. This is probably one of the biggest expenditures, especially if the uniform has to be replaced as they grow or misplace it. Perhaps you could try and buy the uniform a few months in advance so that you can spread the cost out. It’s also a good idea to buy the clothing in a slightly larger size so that your child has room to grow, and it’s certainly worth sewing in some labels so that if any of the items are misplaced, there’s more chance of them being found. 

You’ll also have to think about the other supplies, like stationery, a school bag, a lunch box etc. Keep your eye out for back-to-school deals towards the end of the school holidays and maybe even consider having a nosey in some charity shops so that you don’t end up spending a fortune. 

Speaking of lunch boxes, you’ll also have your child’s meals to consider. In government-funded schools, children receive a free school lunch until the end of Year 2, but after that parents have to provide them with lunch money or packed lunches. The latter will probably work out cheaper but you’ll need to do what’s right for you, as a family. 

You should also factor in costs for things like extra-curricular activities and school trips. While these things aren’t compulsory, there are many benefits when it comes to your child’s overall progression, so certainly something to consider.

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