Almost a third of parents borrow to cover secondary school costs, survey finds

Some 30% of Irish parents go into debt to cover secondary school costs, a new survey has found.

New research says more than half of them find the cost of primary school a financial burden - with this number increasing to 68% for secondary schools.

The study from Zurich Life finds that primary school is 80% more expensive than parents expect - while secondary school costs 28% more than initially thought.

Separately, Barnardos 12th annual School Cost Survey opened for submissions today.

Parents of school-age children, primary and secondary, are invited to fill out the survey and tell Barnardos how much money they spend on their children’s education – iPads, school books, clothing, footwear, photocopying fees, voluntary contributions and any other additional costs.

June Tinsley, head of advocacy at Barnardos, said, “School may have wound down for summer, but for too many parents the pressure of the new school year is only beginning. Ireland tends to pride itself on our ‘free’ education system, but realistically this is far from the case.

“The purpose of our survey is to shine a light on the real cost of children’s education and provide a voice to the parents left footing the bill, helping us put pressure on the Government to invest more in our education system.

“Access to education is a right for all children yet it is those in low income families most burdened by these costs which in turn affects their children’s participation in school.”

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