Cost of back to school

By Ashlea Witoslawski

As our newest Foundation students walk into school grounds across the Goulburn Valley for their first day of school, they will be sporting a large range of new clothes and accessories.

Isabella Byron, 5, has been counting down the days to start her educational journey at Katunga Primary School, letting everyone she meets know about her impending big first day.

Isabella’s mother Keat Byron said her energetic daughter had not gone anywhere without first putting on her new shoes — a bright pair of pink and white runners.

‘‘She makes sure she puts them on before leaving the house,’’ Mrs Byron said.

This is the Byron family’s first child at school and, so far, Mrs Byron said the initial costs associated with uniform and supplies had not been too overwhelming.

‘‘So far it has been pretty manageable,’’ she said.

Mrs Byron said she had bought most items of clothing and accessories such as a lunch box and drink bottle from retailers such as Target, Kmart and Big W, with only a few branded items needed.

After many years perfecting the before-school-starts shop, mother-of-three Apryl Smith finds buying a mix of unbranded and branded items works best for her family.

‘‘I buy my boys at least two polos, a bomber jacket and a hat from the uniform shop,’’ Mrs Smith said.

With her two youngest boys Ayden (Year 5) and Jett (Year 3) at Mooroopna Primary School as well as her son Tayte starting in Year 7 at Mooroopna Secondary College, Mrs Smith has found shorts from Best and Less or Kmart do the trick.

‘‘I’ve done both — buying branded and unbranded — and you get what you pay for,’’ she said.

‘‘The more expensive, the better the quality.’’