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Thursday 12 December 2019

Back to school costs €400 per child – new research

Colm Kelpie

Families are spending on average €400 per child for returning to school.

Uniforms are the most expensive items, coming in at €229, followed by books at €182, according to the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCUs) research.

Almost 90pc of parents want to switch to laptops and e-books in the classroom to save cash.

ILCUs chief Kieron Brennan said some families were forced to get into debt or dip into savings to afford the costs.

Mr Brennan said: "The cost of school-going children to parents is considerable and can put significant pressure on household budgets and the ability of some families to pay their essential bills.

"This iReach research shows us that there are significant numbers of parents using their credit cards and using their savings to pay for their child's back-to-school needs, with many parents feeling that the back-to-school allowance is not sufficient to cover costs."

The survey was carried out last month among 1,000 people aged between 18 and 65.

Key findings of the research include:

-A typical Irish family spends approximately €400 on each child to prepare them for school in September;

- Some €470 is being spent for secondary level and €320 for primary level;

- Uniform cost for a secondary school child is on average €281, compared to primary at €177 euro:

- One in 10 (88pc) parents express a preference for laptops or e-book readers for in-class use;

- 46pc of parents use monthly income to source back-to-school necessities, but 54pc would resort to credit cards, dip into savings or credit unions;

- 7pc of parents will be forced to forego/delay a credit card payment to meet all back-to-school expenses for their children, incurring additional interest charges;

- Eight in ten parents (81pc) who are entitled to back-to-school allowance admitted that this is insufficient;

- 9pc of Irish parents send their child/children to a fee-paying school, with primary charged at €1,750 and €4,750 for secondary.

The ILCUs urged parents to shop around for better deals on uniforms and books.

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