Over 30% of Irish parents in debt over school costs

Secondary school grinds are contributing to costs

Over 30% of Irish parents in debt over school costs

Dorrie Fitzsimons stocks school uniforms in Arnotts on Henry Street, Dublin in 2011 | Image: RollingNews.ie

More than half of Irish parents find the cost of covering primary school education a financial burden - with this number increasing to 68% for secondary school.

That is according to new research from Zurich Life.

The 'Cost of Education in Ireland' study shows that primary school education is 80% more expensive than parents expect - with the true cost averaging at €766 per year.

Similarly, secondary school education is 28% more expensive than expected, averaging at €1,628 per year.

This results in 18% of parents of primary school children getting into debt to cover the costs, increasing to 34% of secondary school parents.

Primary school costs | Source: Zurich Life

The main contributing factors to the financial burden at primary school level include extra curricular activities (€165), lunch (€110), school trips (€87), books (€80) and uniforms (€124).

In secondary school, costs increase and grinds represent a significant portion of average annual costs - at €310.

After that, the largest costs are school trips (€201), books (€200) and lunch (€183).

Secondary school costs | Source: Zurich Life

But only one in ten of children in primary school eat in the school canteen, and 13% in secondary school.

Over half of parents said that making the switch from books to digital devices would be more cost effective in the context of reducing costs.

Other solutions to minimising the financial burden is early planning and financial saving.

The research found that 77% of parents have a savings account and save an average of €5,299 per year.

Half of those savers say their top saving priority is to cover children’s education costs.

While 66% of parents have or plan to set up a savings account for their children.