Parents pay up to €4k cost for school

Parents will pay up to €2,211 for a child to attend primary school this September, with the annual cost reaching €4,154 for a child in secondary school.

Parents pay up to €4k cost for school

The research released by MummyPages.ie, an online community of mothers, also shows that more parents are experiencing financial difficulty in putting their children through school.

It shows that 61% of mums are finding it difficult to cover the costs, an increase of 10% on last year, while 80% agree that school costs are expensive, compared to 63% last year.

And a new school year is a challenging time for parents — 89% of mums said they felt under pressure as September approaches.

The overall cost for a year in primary school, at €2,211 per child, does not include the cost of after-school care that can add a further €4,000 onto the back-to-school bill for working parents.

The average cost of putting a teenager through school is €3,375 per year but does not include the use of technology. Parents can expect to face an extra bill of €779 for a tablet and the relevant e-books.

According to the research, the average cost of a school uniform in primary school costs €102.50, increasing to €189.50 at second level.

Three-quarters of parents said the school uniform, including the physical exercise gear, was the most expensive part of the back-to-school bill.

Almost half of the parents (49%) said their child wore a crested school uniform while 35% said their children wore a mix of generic and crested uniform garments.

Just 13% wore a generic school uniform and 3% did not have to wear a uniform.

Just over one in 10 (11%) bought their child’s school uniform through the school and 68% had to go to a specified school uniform store.

Only one in four mums (24%) said their school recently changed its uniform policy to help make uniform costs more manageable.

However, 70% of schools have a book rental scheme in place and a further 5% are hoping to introduce one.

Mum-in-residence for MummyPages.ie, Laura Haugh, said parents were coming under financial pressure because the “snob factor” of costly crested uniforms and an increased reliance on digital technology.

She pointed out that nine out of 10 parents wanted the Government to introduce a digital strategy for schools.

The survey shows that parents are having to pay about €289 for an e-reader and e-books for children at primary level, a cost that increases to €779.40 for an iPad and e-books at secondary level.

“I know one mum with two children in secondary school and they both have iPads and her third child is starting secondary school next year,” said Ms Haugh.

MummyPages.ie wants school boards of management to consider introducing a phased payment system throughout the year to incorporate the voluntary contribution, school books and book rental schemes.

Ms Haugh said the parenting site launched a campaign earlier this year to encourage schools to allow cheaper uniforms.

It found that families could save around €300 per child each year if schools used generic uniforms.

Despite submitting a petition with 8,304 digital signatures supporting the campaign to the Government last May, schools continue to demand that parents pay for expensive crested uniforms when similar generic garments are available at a fraction of the price.

Ms Haugh said parents should be allowed to buy generic school uniforms that can cost as little as €6.

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