Sunday 25 March 2018

Cost of kitting out children for school 'crippling' - report

Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

THE cost of kitting out children to return to school is “crippling” for most parents, a new survey has found.

Some of the costs of getting a children set up to go back to the classroom have fallen, but the overall expense is still a huge drain on household incomes, a survey of 2,000 parents by Barnardos found.

Barnardos boss Fergus Finlay said the costs of sending children back to school “is crippling too many families”

“We are told we have a ‘free’ education system, but as our annual survey shows, this is far from the case.”

He welcomed the fact that parent pressure is having an effect, with indications school uniform costs are levelling off and the voluntary code for publishers (to minimise reprinting) is being adhered to.

“This coupled with the introduction of more school book rental schemes in primary schools is encouraging. But it is nowhere near enough,” he said.

On average, this year’s survey shows it costs €345 to getting all the books, equipment and uniforms needed for a senior infant. This is down €5 on last year.

The cost for a fourth class primary school child is now €380, down €20.

Barnardos found a first year costs €735 to kit out, down €50.

Mr Finlay said it is time for the government to show “real leadership” on cheaper uniforms and school book rental schemes.

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