Parents' shock at cost of academy uniform

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PARENTS of youngsters who are starting at the city's flagship Thomas Deacon Academy next week have been shocked by the price of the uniform.

PARENTS of youngsters who are starting at the city's flagship Thomas Deacon Academy next week have been shocked by the price of the uniform.Pupils attending the country's biggest and most modern new academy were given lists of essential clothing, and their parents had to buy eight compulsory items before the start of the first term.

Parents on a tight budget say they had hoped to shop around for bargains, but were told the uniforms had to be bought through the school, because all items, from jackets to shirts, ties, and tracksuit bottoms, had to be emblazoned with the academy's distinctive logo of six electrons swirling around an atom nucleus.

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Some people say they have been hard pressed to pay for the kit and one grandfather told The Evening Telegraph: "My son rang me up and asked if he could borrow 100 because he couldn't afford to pay for his kids' school uniform.

"I can't lend him the money because I'm a pensioner. It's just not right that the school can demand that the uniform has to be bought directly from them."

A blazer at the school costs between 25 and 28, with skirts and trousers costing up to 15.50, socks 5 and a tie 5.50. Parents have also had to dig deep to pay 23 for a rugby shirt, plus other compulsory items of shorts and college polo shirts.

There are also "optional extras" of white polo shirts and tracksuit bottoms, at up to 18 and 16 respectively.

And with children needing several issues of each piece of uniform it will be a costly exercise for some.

Another parent, who did not want to be named, said: "I've just paid out for my two children and it's cost me the best part of 350. It's too much."

Another father who has two girls starting at the school next week aged 13 and 11 said the school had sent out the wrong sized uniforms on two occasions.

He said: "Basically they got the wrong size through twice. We've been told they can wear black trousers until the right sizes come through.

"It is expensive because you have to buy everything from the school. When my daughter was at Hereward her uniform cost 85. Now it will cost 130 for each of them. She's got a perfectly good blazer from Hereward, but we can't just stitch a badge on it – we have to buy a brand new blazer. That was money down the drain.

"A lot of parents are not happy about it."

But academy spokesman Miles Delap defended the prices.

He said: "We've benchmarked the uniform against other schools. We recognise that the uniform is more expensive than John Mansfield school used to be.

"But it felt like the right thing to do to get people into the right uniform for the new school.

"We have asked parents to buy the uniform from the same supplier."