A new dress code at a Nelson school has some parents upset at the cost of looking "classy".
New entrants at Nelson Intermediate have a new uniform this year, sparking a mixed reaction.
Staff and pupils spoken to by the Nelson Mail were happy with the new look, but some parents say the cost is excessive, particularly for lower income families.
Nelson Intermediate principal Hugh Gully said the new uniform "without a doubt" cost more than the old uniform.
"It will cost about $50 more to be fully kitted out," he said.
The school was phasing-in their introduction of the dress code, meaning senior pupils could continue wearing the uniforms they already owned.
Next year all pupils at the intermediate would wear the new uniform.
Mr Gully said he wanted to replace the tired-looking 15-year-old uniform with something more up-to-date.
He wanted a point of difference between Nelson Intermediate pupils and local primary school pupils, who wore similar uniforms.
"The kids want to feel a bit more grown-up," Mr Gully said.
"Our students take a great deal of pride in our school and this just takes it to the next level.
"It's quite a classy uniform, nothing like anything else in Nelson."
Jo Davis's daughter Madeline started at Nelson Intermediate this week.
Ms Davis said it cost $370 for the new outfit, which she thought was "excessive". That sum bought three summer shirts, two skirts, shorts and a T-shirt for PE (now an entirely separate uniform), a jacket and a cap. It did not include the winter uniform.
"I just think they are too fancy," she said. "I think they could be a lot cheaper."
Ms Davis said the cost of the new shirts - $38.50 each - was particularly galling. She would not spend anything like that much on buying a shirt for Madeleine.
Ms Davis believed the uniform costs would cause hardship for families on lower incomes.
Other parents of intermediate pupils, who did not want to be named, said the new uniform was too expensive and too similar to the Nelson College Preparatory School.
Nelson Postie Plus store manager Sue Beloe said she had heard many complaints from parents that the new Nelson Intermediate uniform was "so much more expensive" than other schools' and that it looked too formal.
The store still sells the old uniform, but does not stock the new uniform, which is provided by an Auckland supplier.
"Parents don't like spending a lot of money for two years, because their kids are off to college," she said.
Year 8 Nelson Intermediate pupil Konan Hey said he was pleased he could continue wearing the old uniform, which he liked. Konan thought the new uniforms looked "all right" on the year 7s.
"They just look like college students, I reckon," he said.
Hayden Didcott, year 7, said he liked his new school jacket. "It's cool."
Mr Gully said he had been telling parents to stagger their purchase of the new uniform, if they were struggling with the cost.
"We have access to various funding agencies who have assisted families who needed it, too," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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