(Sometimes, finding images to illustrate posts can be tricky as it is all to easy to breach copyright. Fortunately, Google has a useful new feature for bloggers: looking for images that can be reused under Creative Commons with attribution.
There is an old saying that when you have a baby, you might as well empty your wallet onto the counter at Boots, then later at Mothercare (who go up to Ten, as their adverts used to say).
When they get to 11, you then need to do the same thing at the school outfitters. Today we spent some time in Morley visiting what used to be known as Khalid Fashions, now called the Uniform Centre. The guys are very helpful there and they know their stuff. Our trip today cost us more than £73 and that excludes the craft apron (coming Monday) as well as various shirts and trousers that we have been getting from M&S and ASDA in anticipation of David starting at Woodkirk High in September. (We are holding off on footwear as his feet are already huge and growing rapidly).
Now interestingly, many High Schools have set up their own Uniform shops in recent years and some have been using “Stagecoach tactics” to squeeze out the little guys like the Khalids. It has now been frowned on as a fundraiser by the Government though and the little guys are fighting back. I was pleased to see The Uniform shop van parked opposite the entrance on the year 7 intake briefing night and we spotted it again outside Morley High for one of theirs.
These days there are great efforts made to make the transition into High School as painless as possible for youngsters which is a far cry from mine forty years ago.
I can clearly remember my school placement letter arriving and with it was the list of things I needed. It was foolscap sized, duplicated and double sided. It specified all of the clothes items of course, along with geometry items like set squares and a pair of compasses. (When I went up to 6th Form, a slide rule was recommended, along with something called French Curves which sounded rather exotic but turned out to be some plastic wiggly things for drawing graphs. The green lead centred flexible curves that one or two kids had were impressive though.)
My mum took me to a uniform shop in Newcastle (possibly in Grey Street, I was impressed with the extent of their stock) and we duly returned laden with provisions.
For carrying stuff to school, a briefcase or a haversack was recommended. What the list didn’t tell you was that only swots used a briefcase and the only two in our class were myself and Gavin Atkinson. (I rapidly transitioned to a Haversack which whilst having two straps was only to be worn over one shoulder otherwise you were categorised as a Puff or a Spaka. Sadly, Gavin’s Dad was a teacher at Kenton and he had to keep the swot-bag but he was called those things anyway).
Anyway, all these years on, the one thing that sticks in my mind from that list for Kenton School in 1969 was that girl Pupils were obliged to wear navy blue knickers. I don’t recall it being prescriptive for boys but there again, we didn’t have to wear skirts…