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Secondary pupil parents spend €1,500 per child on back to school

A quarter of parents are getting into debt as costs rise


Many parents will struggle with school costs. Picture posed

Many parents will struggle with school costs. Picture posed

Many parents will struggle with school costs. Picture posed

The cost of kitting children out for the return to school has gone up, pushing many families into debt.

Parents will spend an average of €1,491 per secondary school child in the coming weeks.

This is up €24 on last year, according to the latest Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) survey on back-to-school costs.

At primary school level, spending has increased by €63.

The survey found back-to-school costs are a challenge for parents, with 63pc finding them a burden.

A quarter of parents are getting into debt to cover the costs of back to school, with 21pc having debts of more than €500, according to the survey carried out by iReach Insights.

The average debt parents find themselves in is €336.

A majority of parents believe schools do not do enough to help keep the costs manageable.

Most schools are still seeking a “voluntary contribution”, despite this being discouraged by the Department of Education.

The cost of sending a child to primary school this coming year is just shy of €1,200.

This is €63 more than families spent last year, the survey shows.

Parents of secondary school children can expect to pay an average of €1,491, up from €1,467 last year.

Books again top the list as the most expensive item for parents of secondary school children at €211.

This is a rise of close to €20 on last year.

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Extracurricular activities are the top cost for primary school parents at €178, up from €167 last year.

Spending on gym gear and sports equipment has increased for both primary and secondary school students.

Around 43pc of parents say they will have to deny their children new gym gear, a sharp increase from last year.

More than a third of parents say home-schooling and lockdowns had a negative effect on their child’s overall educational performance.

Covid-19 has had a profound impact on families, with seven in 10 adults surveyed reporting the mental health of their household has been affected.

Meanwhile, almost a third say their physical health has suffered.

One in three parents said they found it difficult to juggle home schooling with work commitments and more than a quarter agreed it was a burden.

More than a third of parents think the school calendar should be adjusted to make up for schools being closed at the start of the year.

A large number believe there should be a focus on mental health when children return to school.

The survey shows 72pc of parents agree vaccinations should be offered to secondary school students, with half in agreement for primary school students.

Paul Bailey of the ILCU said: “Since we began carrying out our back to school research over six years ago, we have seen a steady increase in the cost of school books and uniforms.

“It now costs a staggering €1,500 to send one child to secondary school, while the cost for a primary school child is not that much cheaper at nearly €1,200.”

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