Barnardos have today released their report on the Real Cost of School in 2016. The study of 1,475 parents showed that the average cost of sending a primary school pupil to school is €340 for a senior infant and €395 for a child in 4th class. Secondary school pupils cost parents €775.
The cost covers schools books, uniforms, and voluntary contributions. 42% of parents say they have to delay household bills in order to pay school bills and 1 in 10 parents say they must go into debt at this time of year.
The average spend on school books cost between €75-€125 per year for a primary school pupil and €250-€350 for a secondary school pupil. Many parents criticise the use of workbooks, which can only be used once and are then thrown away.
Further criticism is made by parents on the use of crested school uniforms rather than the use of generic uniforms which can then have a crest sewn on. Primary school uniforms cost on average €100, and €200 for secondary school. In addition to this the average cost of footwear comes in at €47.50 for primary and €65 for secondary. Some parents even said they had to choose between putting food on the table or allowing their child to wear the same dirty jumper every day.
Some pupils are asked to purchase iPads or tablets adding to the costs faced by parents. Those who live far from school must rely on school buses which cost €100 for one child in primary and €350 for one child in secondary. Savings can be made if more than one child attends school, but at a cost of €200 per family for primary and €650 per family for secondary, these costs lay a heavy burden on families.
Barnardos are calling on the government to invest in our education system and make schooling free for all. You can help their campaign by signing here.