Almost half of parents cutting back on essentials to pay school costs

A Barnardos survey says parents are bearing the brunt of an under-funded education system

School children, UK, strike, SATs, parents, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, exams

File photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A new survey has found that 45% of parents had to forgo other bills or cut back on daily essentials to fund back to school costs.

Barnardos’ Annual School Costs Survey says parents are bearing the brunt of an under-funded education system.

Source: Barnardos

The survey revealed that parents of primary school pupils pay on average between €50 and €100 on books, while one-fifth (20%) of parents of secondary school pupils pay over €300.

Parents also spend on average €95 on school-specific uniforms at primary level - and between €150 and €200 for them at secondary level.

Source: Barnardos

Generic school uniforms are more common at primary level than secondary.

Barnardos says: "There remains a constant expectation that parents will prop up the educational system by having to buy the essentials required for their children to complete the curriculum i.e. books, classroom resources, stationery and voluntary contributions."

Source: Barnardos

June Tinsley, head of advocacy at Barnardos says: "This year over 1,800 parents took the Barnardos’ School Costs Survey.

"Parents are yet again stressed and over-burdened by back to school costs. It affects so many families, not just those on low incomes.

"The impact of these mounting costs mean many parents are forgoing other bills, cutting back on daily essentials or ending up in debt in order to ensure their children have all they need for the new school year."

Source: Barnardos

While fewer parents are being asked to pay a voluntary contribution this year, significantly more are being asked to pay the mandatory classroom resources fees.

"Books should be provided free to students, and there should be no examination fees.