“Even for uppity Parnell this is a disgrace”

Furious parents in an upmarket city suburb are digging deep for what could be the country’s most expensive school PE tops.

Sports T-shirts for the new school year at Parnell District School in Auckland cost $62.50 each.

Tops in other schools in the city are available from as little as $11.50.

Some Parnell parents were further angered when a rule was introduced last week saying the shirts can only be worn on the one day of a week when students have PE.

Students were previously allowed to wear them every day as part of their uniform, said mother-of-two Charmaine Williams, whose 9-year-old son Sid is in Year 5.

“I was shocked the PE shirts cost more than $60,” she said. “I bought a similar top for Sid last year and he wore it to school all the time. I planned to get him a new one for this year, but not any more.”

Carolyn Bromhead was fuming at having to fork out $62.50 for a top for her son Oscar, aged 9.

“Even for uppity Parnell this is a disgrace,” she said.

Someone is filling their pockets along the way, and the problem is that the shirts are only available from one source. ? The school makes it mandatory, assigns the contract to one company, and that’s it. ?

The screen-printed T-shirts for the decile 9 primary are solely available from the School Uniform Centre in Remuera. However, students with no sports uniform can wear a Parnell school polo on PE days instead.

Other sports T-shirts on sale from the School Uniform Centre include an $11.50 top for decile 7 Kaipara College in Helensville. Shirts for several other schools range from $26.50 to just over $50.

Elsewhere, a Calvin Klein Men’s T-Shirt is available at Farmers for $35.95 (or $28.76 on sale), and a PE shirt for exclusive Auckland Grammar costs $60.

Gary Cain, Parnell District School principal, noted the shirts were “surprisingly expensive”.

“The kids like the tops because they are very light and ideal for summer, but it seems they have leaped up in price,” he said.

“I have contacted the suppliers asking for a breakdown in costs and will review the situation once I have received a reply.”

It seems the school isn’t setting the price nor getting the money then…

…but that doesn’t pass the sniff test. ?What school would not be part of selecting the uniform and knowing the pricing in advance?

There is a rort here, and principal Gary Cain is doing an awfully good Sgt Schultz impression right now.


– Russel Blackstock, Herald on Sunday