Tag Archives: Starting School

Back to School: Labelling School Clothes

Back to School

In the UK, we’re coming up to half way through the holidays, so in a little over three weeks it’s back to school again. Some people may have already bought and labelled the school uniform, but if you haven’t, now is a good time to think about getting it all sorted.

We’re about to enter our fourth year of full-time schooling, and second year with two children, so it’s all fairly routine here now. But three years ago, faced with a variety of labelling options that didn’t really suit, I was faced with a dilemma:

How to Label the School Uniform?

Labelling clothes is essential when many children are dressed identically. Jumpers and cardigans will get strewn randomly in classrooms whenever it’s vaguely warm, and entire uniforms will get put in the wrong gym bag on regular occasions. Labelling is a must, but what do you use?

1. Sew-in labels: The traditional option. Pros: Woven labels are long-lasting and don’t come out in the wash. Cons: Time consuming to sew on dozens of labels, and to unpick them to transfer. Also may fray so can’t be reused.

2. Iron-on labels. Pros: Quick to iron in. Cons: Involves ironing (I never iron!) Labels can wash out after even one wash, labels can only be used once.

3. Fabric stickers. Pros: Quick. Cons: Not reusable, will probably wash out at some point, may be difficult to remove when you want to pass uniform on.

4. Pen: The cheap option. Pros: Quick and very cheap. Cons: Looks horrible, pen may bleed, might wash out or is impossible to remove other than scribbling over.

5. Easy Tags. Pros: Quick, reusable, last for years, don’t come out in the wash, attach to clothes, bags, towels, labels, even canvas shoes. Cons: Initial cost higher than other options.

Easy Tags from Easy 2 Name

We’ve been using Easy Tags for three years now. A year ago I saw that there was a new applicator available so got that to review and recorded our first vlog, which I didn’t actually publish at the time oops. It’s full of ‘um’s, ‘you know’s and ‘sort of’s and is utterly embarrassing (to me!)


With another year’s experience, I still love them, and here are some highlights:

I LOVE the crocodile system. The bulkier looking tag that I was initially concerned about has been no trouble at all. It’s possible to get the tags behind woven neck labels so the tags don’t touch skin, and my daughters have never noticed the tags were there. It’s so quick and easy.

The names are still clear on all the tags, even the ones that have been in constant use and washed at least weekly for the last three years.

In three years, we’ve lost ONE tag in the washing machine. And by ‘lost’, I mean, ‘pulled out of label’ as it was in the machine and we used it again without any problem. The only reason it came out is because I attached it too near the edge of the label so it tore – but not until several months of use and washes.

The used tags still look like new.

25 tags is enough for a year’s worth of uniform, e.g.:
5 polo shirts
5 winter dresses or trousers
5 summer dresses or shorts
3 sweaters / jumpers / cardigans
1 jogging trousers for PE
1 shorts for PE
1 polo top for PE
1 PE sweatshirt
1 coat
1 pair waterproof trousers
1 other item (or 6 other items as you don’t need winter and summer dresses/trousers at the same time, but you’ll need extra backs for this)

A starter kit with 25 tags, 25 backs, and a crocodile applicator costs £25.95, with replacement backs costing £4.95 for 25.

Disclosure: One crocodile applicator, 25 labels and backs received for review. We purchased our own dolphin applicator, dolphin tags and backs, plus additional crocodile tags and backs.

Preparing for Starting School

I’ve seen several posts recently about things to do to ready your children before they start reception – including writing, reading and counting. It all seems a bit too much like hard work to me! MG has finished her reception year and starts Y1 this September so with this huge amount of school experience, here is my advice:

Why rush their childhood? If they want to count, recognise letters and write their name then by all means don’t hold them back but don’t push an unwilling child. Reception year is still in the Early Years Foundation Stage, it’s not all about sitting at desks and passive learning; it’s still play based and interactive.

Having said that, later years aren’t all sitting at desks and passive learning either but I’ve yet to discover exactly how much that will be a part of KS1.

Here are the things that your (non additional/special needs) child really needs before starting school:

  • All physical and verbal milestones as usually expected by age four.
  • To be able to feed themselves with cutlery and drink from open cups.
  • To be out of nappies in the daytime and be able to use a toilet alone, even if still needing help with handwashing.
  • To be able to dress and undress themselves, even if still needing help with buttons and more difficult pieces of clothing. Try to choose clothing that makes this easier for them e.g. zip-fronted instead of button-fronted dresses; velcro shoes; slightly baggy polo shirts / sweatshirts with wide necks.
  • To be able to part from their primary carer and interact with other children and adults.

If you’re not confident about your child’s ability to cope with going to school, remember you are not obliged to send them from the September after their fourth birthday. Legally, your child does not have to start full-time education until the long term after their fifth birthday. I’m using the phrase ‘long term’ because Oxfordshire schools follow a six term system.

  • You have the right to delay your child’s start to the school you have been offered a place until this date.
  • You have the right to not apply for a school place as long as you can fulfil an education suitable to your child’s age, aptitude and any special needs from the long term after their fifth birthday.
    • An education does not require following the National Curriculum.
    • An education does not require your child to read by age six.
    • An education does not require your child to interact almost exclusively with children born within the September to August of when they were born.
    • An education does not require worksheets.
    • An education does not require exams.
    • An education does not require one size fits all.

There are advantages and disadvantages to delaying your child’s school start.

Disadvantages include: they are not starting at the same time as their peers and may take longer to fit in; if you delay applying until later you may not get a place at your preferred school; if you delay start then they have less time in the Early Years Foundation Stage before starting Key Stage 1.

Advantages include: waiting until your child is emotionally ready for school; having more time to overcome minor developmental delays; having longer to enjoy holidays in term-time 😉

I chose to send both MG and DG to the local primary and for them both to start from the September after they turn four. I am happy with my decision and confident of my children’s ability. I also think it’s important to be aware of the options and your legal rights in respect to raising your own child.

In summary: enjoy the summer; take your child out in good weather and bad; play with friends; watch TV! Leave the worksheets for school 😉

Please note: the comments on legal rights apply to England and Wales. Other countries may have different rules. You should always check the current legal position. Home Education is currently legal under section 7 of the 1996 Education Act.