The ultimate back to school mask guide


Secondary school pupils will have to wear masks to school when they return next week after a government U-turn last week. 

With just days to go before children return, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson last week said face coverings will be compulsory in the communal areas of schools covered by local lockdowns.

A decision on whether to wear masks in other schools will be left to individual heads. 

Some parents have also shared their desire for smaller children to wear masks and in England and Wales children over the age of 11 have to wear masks on public transport.

Here, FEMAIL reveals the best masks for your children, from simple colours to match their school uniform to personalised coverings so they don’t get mixed up.

PLAIN COLOUR TO MATCH UNIFORM  

Marks & Spencer has a great deal on school face masks, selling a pack of five adjustable kids’ face coverings in plain colours for less than £10.

With the rules around coverings constantly changing, some schools may insist on plain masks to match uniform rules. 

Marks & Spencer has a great deal on school face masks, selling a pack of five adjustable kids’ face coverings in plain colours for less than £10. 

They also sell the pack in pastel and patterned colours for less strict schools, or when children need to wear a mask in the evening or at weekends.  

PERSONALISED

With hundreds of pupils at school, personalised masks will stop your child’s getting mixed up with someone else in class.

Prezzybox offer photo-printing onto masks form £9.99, for a unique design while various sellers on Etsy offer monogrammed masks on a black or navy design for a simpler look. They start at £14.99 for a pack of two. 

Snapfish also allow a fully personalised designs, with both photos and text from £9.99.

Prezzybox offer photo-printing onto masks form £9.99

Etsy offer monogrammed masks on a black or navy design for a simpler look. They start at £14.99 for a pack of two

Prezzybox offer photo-printing onto masks form £9.99 (left), for a unique design while various sellers on Etsy offer monogrammed masks on a black or navy design for a simpler look. They start at £14.99 for a pack of two (right)

Prezzybox also allow masks to be personalised with a fun pattern for kids who enjoy bright colours

Prezzybox also allow masks to be personalised with a fun pattern for kids who enjoy bright colours

 ANTIBACTERIAL 

Lloyd’s are selling children’s face covering with antibacterial fabric treatment, which are also water repellent and washable up to 20 washes, which is £7.99 for a pack of four, which are currently on offer for buy one get one half price. 

The mask comes in four child friendly designs and is hand and machine washable.

Boots also offer an adjustable facemask for all ages for £10. Made by the Body Doctor, the mask uses skin friendly, patented, Polygiene technology, which does not interfere with skins natural bacterial flora.

Lloyd's are selling children's face covering with antibacterial fabric treatment, which are also water repellent and washable up to 20 washes, which is £7.99 for a pack of four, which are currently on offer for buy one get one half price

Lloyd’s are selling children’s face covering with antibacterial fabric treatment, which are also water repellent and washable up to 20 washes, which is £7.99 for a pack of four, which are currently on offer for buy one get one half price

Boots also offer an adjustable facemask for all ages for £10. Made by the Body Doctor, the mask uses skin friendly, patented, Polygiene technology, which does not interfere with skins natural bacterial flora

Boots also offer an adjustable facemask for all ages for £10. Made by the Body Doctor, the mask uses skin friendly, patented, Polygiene technology, which does not interfere with skins natural bacterial flora

Face mask storage cases for school 

If you don’t opt for a personalised mask, children can keep their masks in a personalised case.

Many independent sellers on Etsy sell cases, usually clear in colour, with the option to print a name on them from around £4.50.  

PATTERNED

Catering for any age, The Lion Sparkles customers with a penchant for something unique will find just that when browsing through their range of masks. One designer sure to be a hit with on-trend teenagers is their powder pink design with a tiger print, which costs £18.   

British children’s designer Rachel Riley, who is best known for dressing Prince George and Princess Charlotte has repurposed her workshop which normally makes her handmade shoes to now produce masks. 

British children's designer Rachel Riley, who is best known for dressing Prince George and Princess Charlotte has repurposed her workshop which normally makes her handmade shoes to now produce masks. Pictured a model in one of her masks

British children’s designer Rachel Riley, who is best known for dressing Prince George and Princess Charlotte has repurposed her workshop which normally makes her handmade shoes to now produce masks. Pictured a model in one of her masks

Catering for any age, The Lion Sparkles customers with a penchant for something unique will find just that when browsing through their range of masks. One designer sure to be a hit with on-trend teenagers is their powder pink design with a tiger print, which costs £18.

Catering for any age, The Lion Sparkles customers with a penchant for something unique will find just that when browsing through their range of masks. One designer sure to be a hit with on-trend teenagers is their powder pink design with a tiger print, which costs £18.

She makes masks for children, men and women in her signature vintage prints, starting at £19. 

Frugi, the leading organic kidswear brand has some colourful, fun facemasks for kids on their website.

They come in two sizes, for 3-11 years (£9.95) and over 12 years (£13.96). 

Regatta also have a range of fun patterned masks in animal prints, including sharks, tigers, and crocodiles that start from £9 for a pack of three.

Regatta also have a range of fun patterned masks in animal prints, including sharks, tigers, and crocodiles that start from £9 for a pack of three.

Regatta also have a range of fun patterned masks in animal prints, including sharks, tigers, and crocodiles that start from £9 for a pack of three.

Stressed-out parents tell of battle through ‘HELL’ to buy new school uniforms with EIGHT-hour queues due to limit on shoppers in last-minute rush before classes restart next week

Stressed-out parents have been stuck in eight-hour queues this week as they rushed to buy last-minute school uniforms ahead of the start of term.

Hundreds of shoppers flocked to outfitters across Britain in the early hours to avoid the huge wait times which stacked up as staff limited the number of customers allowed inside due to social distancing.

It comes amid chaos ahead of the start of term, with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson warned he is ‘on his last life’ after his humiliating exams fiasco and will be sacked if Boris Johnson’s schools reopening is botched.

Mr Johnson has visited schools across Britain ahead of the new academic year, after the Government made a last-minute U-turn on face-coverings in secondary schools.

In Croydon, south London, frustrated parents arrived as early as 5.15am to purchase the required clothing for their children while residents insisted ‘we need more uniform shops.’

A sign outside Hewitts of Croydon, which provides uniforms for 80 schools, warned parents they would not be guaranteed entry to the store if they arrived after 3pm.

However, one furious parent urged the shop to ’employ more staff’ as she claimed people arriving at 10am were only entering the store at 3pm.  

Stressed-out parents have been stuck in eight-hour queues this week as they rushed to buy last-minute school uniforms ahead of the start of term. Pictured: Lines in Eastleigh, Hampshire

Stressed-out parents have been stuck in eight-hour queues this week as they rushed to buy last-minute school uniforms ahead of the start of term. Pictured: Lines in Eastleigh, Hampshire

Pictured: Hewitts of Croydon

Pictured: Hewitts of Croydon

In Croydon, south London (pictured on Tuesday), frustrated parents arrived as early as 5.15am yesterday to purchase the required clothing for their children as residents insisted ‘we need more uniform shops’

Similar scenes were spotted in Eastleigh, Hampshire, where shoppers were seen lining up in heavy rain outside an outfitters last week.

And outside Stevensons in Southbourne, near Bournemouth, three-hour queues formed as desperate parents scrambled to secure the necessary items for their children. 

Another woman reported queues of up to eight hours outside her local uniform store, writing:  ‘There’s only one shop that sells school uniforms where we live.

‘There are presently eight-hour queues outside the door, and no ticket system. So if you queued all day and didn’t get in, you don’t get to be first in the queue the next day.

Pictured: Dozens of shoppers wait in heavy rain outside a school uniform shop in Eastleigh

Pictured: Dozens of shoppers wait in heavy rain outside a school uniform shop in Eastleigh

‘There are people who have queued for days.’

In Croydon, customers to Hewitts reported lining up outside the store for the fourth day in a row after they were turned away from the shop when it closed at 5pm.

One woman, attempting to buy uniform for her 12-year-old daughter, told My London she had waited for more than three hours each time and spent £40 on parking.

But Martin Hewitt, who runs the retailer, said he and 35 staff members were working hard to meet the enormous demand. He added that only 10 customers were able to be in the shop at once instead of the usual 40. 

One furious parent urged Hewitts to 'employ more staff' as she claimed people arriving at 10am were only entering the store at 3pm

One furious parent urged Hewitts to ’employ more staff’ as she claimed people arriving at 10am were only entering the store at 3pm

Staff are also not permitted to measure students for uniforms due to social distancing and any returned items have to be quarantined for 48 hours.

Neil Garratt, a Conservative London Assembly candidate for Croydon and Sutton, said he had seen similar queues outside Cladish Schoolwear in Wallington, London.

He said: ‘This is ridiculous. Schools that force parents to buy uniform from one single shop can’t wash their hands of this: they’ve created the problem, they need to stop up to find a solution.

‘This isn’t it.’

In Bournemouth, those outside Stevensons reported ‘tensions building’ as people rushed to get hold of uniforms and sportswear before the start of term.  

Natasha Sanders-Jones told the Bournemouth Echo she had been waiting to enter the store for two-and-a-half hours yesterday after driving to the retailer from Poole.

She said: ‘I had to drive here from Poole because this is the only place to get Poole High and Poole Grammar uniform.

Lengthy queues were also rife in other parts of the UK, with dozens taking to social media to complain about the wait

Lengthy queues were also rife in other parts of the UK, with dozens taking to social media to complain about the wait

‘By the time I get home I will have had a round trip of at least four hours just to get a few bits and pieces.’

Susan Elsworth added:  ‘We drove past the shop yesterday and saw a big queue so we thought we’d come back today but it’s just as bad.

‘Unfortunately we’ve got no choice because we need an Avonbourne uniform and this is the only place to get one.’

The store had been open for appointment-only customers until August 24, when it opened for walk-in shoppers. 

One father said: 'My wife and youngest son have been queuing up for the past 30 minutes to buy his sixth form college uniform, still seven in front of them. The blazer alone is £65, will it last till Christmas? (Not the blazer)'

One father said: ‘My wife and youngest son have been queuing up for the past 30 minutes to buy his sixth form college uniform, still seven in front of them. The blazer alone is £65, will it last till Christmas? (Not the blazer)’

Lengthy queues were also rife in other parts of the UK, with dozens taking to social media to complain about the wait.

‘These festival length queues to buy school uniform is reason enough not to have children,’ one user said.

Another added: ‘My wife and youngest son have been queuing up for the past 30 minutes to buy his sixth form college uniform, still seven in front of them.

‘The blazer alone is £65, will it last till Christmas? (Not the blazer).’

Others were more prepared, with one mother explaining she had come prepared for the wait with a coffee and her Kindle.

Thousands of students are preparing to return to school next week – many for the first time since the coronavirus crisis closed classrooms in March.

Children must return for the autumn term unless they or a family member develop symptoms of Covid-19 or test positive for the virus.

Penalties could be issued for those who miss school without a reason, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed in June.

‘Unless there’s a good reason for absence… we’d be imposing fines on families,’ he said. 

It comes after it was confirmed this week that thousands of secondary pupils will have to wear masks at school in yet another education U-turn.

With just days to go before children return, Mr Williamson said face coverings will be compulsory in the communal areas of schools covered by local lockdowns.

A decision on whether to wear masks in other schools will be left to individual heads.

The eleventh-hour U-turn followed new advice from the World Health Organisation at the weekend.

He said: ‘Our priority is to get children back to school safely. At each stage we have listened to the latest medical and scientific advice.

‘We have therefore decided to follow the World Health Organisation’s new advice. In local lockdown areas children in year seven and above should wear face coverings in communal spaces.

‘Outside of local lockdown areas face coverings won’t be required in schools, though schools will have the flexibility to introduce measures if they believe it is right in their specific circumstances.

‘I hope these steps will provide parents, pupils and teachers with further reassurance.’

Best value school uniform revealed: Sainsbury’s comes out on top of a like-for-like comparison at £15 – while John Lewis is three times more expensive

Sainsbury’s has come out on top as the best British store to buy new school uniform, according to a new study.

Parents are able to purchase a new whole set of schooling attire for just £15 – £30 cheaper than John Lewis, which proved to be the most expensive in a comparison of seven British retailers.

Researchers at UK-based online price tracking firm Alertr compared prices of six uniform essentials – a shirt, polo shirt, jumper, cardigan, trousers and a skirt – across seven retailers, M&S, John Lewis, Asda, Next, Sainsbury’s, Matalan and Debenhams to determine which ones were offering the better deal. 

Some retailers had multi-pack options and the total number of items included within them was occasionally different (e.g. two pack in one retailer, but three pack in another).

In those instances, researchers divided the total price of the multipack by the number of items within it to reveal the price customers would pay per item, to ensure the results were not unfairly skewed.

The results therefore hypothetically reflect buying one of each item to determine value for money.

Results are also broken down into three age groups to help give the most accurate representation.

Which retailer is best value for money?

 SUPERMARKET

1. Sainsbury’s 

2. Asda 

3. Matalan 

4. Debenhams 

5. Next

6. M&S

7. John Lewis  

4-5 years 

£15.00 

£19.75 

£20.50 

£25.90 

£34.50 

£36.30 

£45.00 

7-8 years

 £20.50 

£24.50

£25.50

£30.10

£40.50 

£42.33

£55.00 

 10-11 years

£20.50 

£29.25

£30.00

£30.10

£48.50

£50.00

£64.00 



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