Back-to-school preparations are in full swing ahead of the official opening of school doors on Wednesday.
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This is an exciting milestone for some parents and children, but has become a tradition for others.
Excited mother, Nomvelo Mbenya, whose child will be starting Grade One at Kingsway Christian School, said she did not feel the pinch, as she had done some of her child’s shopping in December.
“It is my first time doing school shopping and this is actually my last bit. It’s wise for parents to do their shopping before everyone flocks to the shops to buy.
“It is much more convenient,” said Mbenya.
Michelle Bartosch, a mother of a Grade 11 pupil at Selborne College, said prices had gone down compared to previous years.
“Every year my son needs new school clothes and this year they were much cheaper than last year. Either way, we just have to buy,” she said.
Although some parents said they had observed a decrease in prices, Kingons clothing store owner, Mark Kingon, said the rise and fall of the rand had an impact on the price of school uniforms.
“When the rand tumbled some time ago the price of school uniforms went up two or three times more than normal. People now feel like it’s not much more than the previous years,” he said.
He said very few families were taking advantage of the early shoppers’ discounts that were offered late last year.
“The best time to buy uniform is in November and December when it is at its cheapest. These discounts are actually targeted at people who know they will be spending a lot of money,” said Kingon.
Some schools, however, require children to buy school branded items at the school shop, which can cost three times more than the price charged by retailers.
Dispatch checked one East London school’s price list and found that a school branded shirt costs R80, while a similar shirt at Pep stores cost R36.99.
Some schools do not provide stationery and a parent with a child going to school on Wednesday might find themselves forking out more than R700 on stationery alone.
The Saturday Dispatch got hold of stationery lists from four East London schools from Grade three to Grade 12 and checked prices at four stationery stores. The average cost was R720.
East London stationery and uniform shops were abuzz yesterday, with parents and children doing last-minute shopping.
Janine Donaldson, a mother of a Grade seven pupil at Hudson Park Primary said although her son would be using some of the stationery from last year, her bill yesterday was still higher than last year.
“You don’t have to buy everything on the list, but for every grade the children are expected to have different things. The higher the grade, the more expensive the items they are expected to get,” she said.
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