Back-to-school bills adding up

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 11:29 17/01/2014
Back to school
NICOLE SHARP/Fairfax NZ
The Morrison family, from left, Lucy, 8, Hugo, 1, and Meg, 5, shop with their Mum Sonia, for school stationery at Paper Plus in Gore.
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Southland parents struggling to pay back-to-school costs are being told to shop around to ease the financial burden.

The Eye found stationery requirements for year seven pupils, entering their first year of high school in Invercargill, cost $200 on average, while a complete uniform could cost up to $900 if bought new.

Salvation Army Captain Annette Bray said many parents found January expensive, and some looked to the Salvation Army services for help.

"It can be a tough time, especially for families that have got students transferring from primary school up to high school, having to buy a complete new uniform."

In extreme circumstances, the Salvation Army could provide financial aid, but generally advised families to look around for cheaper options, she said.

As well as looking for second hand goods in family stores, Captain Bray suggested taking the uniform search online to sites such as Trade Me.

"You don't always get everything you need, but it's a good start."

Most schools also held second hand uniform sales, where families could also find good quality gear, she said.

James Hargest College Parent Teacher Association chairperson Anne Allen said the school's second hand uniform sales were always very popular because of the large up-front cost of uniforms.

Not all families who patronised the sales were struggling, she said.

Second-hand items such as shoes, shirts and PE gear often sold for well less than half their original price, while more expensive items such as kilts and blazers sold at half the original price if they were of good quality, she said.

FAST FACTS

Year seven uniform costs

Southland Boys' High:
Jersey $90
Shirt $36 x 3 = $108
Shorts $65 x 2 = $130
Socks $10.50 x 5 pairs = $52.50
Shoes $99
PE shorts $32
PE top $39
Total: $554.50

Southland Girls' High:
Blazer $230
Kilt $170
Summer dress $135
School tie $40
Blouse $39.99 x 3 = $119.97
PE top $75
Shoes $129.99
Total: $899.96

St Peter’s College, Gore:
Girls junior (NEW) A-line skirt $85
white short sleeve blouse x 2 $90
bobby socks 3 pack x 2 $24
school polar fleece $80
PE shirt $27.99
shoes $80
kilt $250
white long sleeve winter blouse x 2 $66
tights/socks x 4 $20
Total $722.99

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Northern Southland College:
Boys junior (NEW) grey winter shorts x2 $70
grey school trouser x 2 $94
long sleeve school shirt x 2 $70
short sleeve shirt x 2 $56
striped school sock x 4 $56
Total $346

All items are priced new through the school or from H & J Smith

Stationery list

Sample year seven required stationery: 12 x general exercise books, 2 x maths exercise books, 2 x refill pads, 3 x clear file folders, 1 x spelling notebook, 1 x music manuscript book, Scientific calculator, protractor, compass, scissors, eraser, 2 x rulers, 4 x gluesticks, blue pens, red pens, pencils, colouring pencils, highlighter pens, whiteboard pen, marker/vivid pen, USB flash drives

- Invercargill Eye

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