As schools begin to head back after the summer holidays many parents will be searching the high street looking for new uniform pieces.

From socks to blazers, ties to hoodies, the cost can really add up when needing to kit out your children from head to toe, especially if you have several kids at school age.

So how handy would it be to compare all the school uniform essentials across all stores in one table to see what is cheapest? Personalised clothing company, Banana Moon, have done just that!

Not only do they compare price, but sustainability. So, you can make an informed choice based on cost and its sustainability.

This Autumn the Government will be releasing statutory guidance under the Education Bill that requires school uniform prices low. Ahead of this, Banana Moon decided to compile a list of all the high street stores and their costs, so parents know the cheapest places to shop.

The garments deemed the cheapest and most sustainable from each category were:

School Jumper – Aldi: Sustainably sourced cotton from Africa. Material is polyester made with 7 recycled bottles, just £1.

Polo Shirt – H&M: Made from100% organic and sustainable sourced cotton, this polo is only £3.99!

Shirt – Asda: Asda shirts contain Better Cotton Initiative which are sustainably sourced cotton and contain recycled polyester. These are only £2.25 for one, or £4.50 for a multipack.

Dress – M&S: With 65% recycled polyester, and 35% sustainable viscose, M&S dresses come in at only £9.60.

Trousers – M&S: M&S top the scales for trousers too, containing 85% sustainably sourced cotton. These are selling for £6.40.

Socks – Asda: Socks from Asda contain 77% Better Cotton Initiative. Single pairs of socks are 30p and multipacks are £3.

The full table of analysis can be found here.

69% of parents will look for sustainable school uniforms

A survey done by Banana Moon in partnership with YouGov found that out of 1000 school aged parents surveyed, 69% would purchase sustainable school uniform if it was more affordable. In addition, 48% of parents from low-income families said cost was the most important consideration when shopping around for school uniform.

A lex Grace, Managing Director at Banana Moon, said: “It’s clear that sustainable school uniform is not attainable for all low-income families as even the cheapest eco-friendly garments cost significantly more than the cheapest on the high street. Whilst we welcome efforts by the government to make uniform more affordable to everyday families, we don’t want them to be forced to choose options that are not sustainable or the best quality for their children.”

The government school uniform grant provides up to £150 to low-income families to help support the purchasing of school uniforms. However, 38% of the low-income families surveyed said this wasn’t enough.

And sustainability matters too, more and more parents would like to purchase more sustainable uniforms but there aren't as many affordable options on the high street.

Mum of two, Becky Ingram from Wetherby West Yorkshire, said:“I would prefer that school uniform wasn’t so ‘plastic-y’.. I agree that there should be more sustainable options at Highstreet retailers and supermarkets... We’re in a privileged position we could make that choice if we wanted to. But it’s not fair that that’s not an option for all. The government has an obligation to try different things to make eco-friendly options more accessible. The easiest way to do that is amending the cost of them.”

Tips for buying sustainable school uniforms

Banana Moon have included on their website how you can identify sustainable clothing:

  • 100% of cotton contents would be organic and sustainably sourced. This would ensure no harmful pesticides would be used, and the health of water, soil, and biodiversity would be responsibly managed.
  • 100% of polyester contents would be recycled – this would prevent more plastic from ending up in landfill.
  • Water-based biodegradable dyes would be used instead of poly dyes and other chemicals that do not readily decompose. Wastewater from textile factories can cause serious harm to the environment and local ecosystems as leftover dye is toxic.
  • 100% of viscose would be sourced from responsibly managed forests and wood pulp and not be treated with toxic chemicals.
  • 100% of elastane would be either recycled or bio-based elastane

You can view the full cost and sustainability chart on the Banana Moon website.