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Back to School 2023

Back to School 2023

Barnardos’ Back to School Survey 2023 highlights that parents, particularly lone parents, are concerned about meeting back to school costs this summer. The survey has found that many will find it harder this year due to the ongoing cost of living increases. Parents are finding themselves under considerable financial pressure to meet costs and expressed frustration and exasperation with being compelled to pay high uniform costs, large sums for digital tools and increased voluntary contribution fees, which in reality are not really ‘voluntary’.

It is a very difficult and such a stressful time. I lie awake in bed with anxiety thinking how will we meet the uniform needs along with the grocery bill. We both work and we have eaten through our savings since January due to the rise in the cost of living for everything.


A snapshot of Back to School 2023

2023 Survey Findings

Barnardos Recommends

Barnardos believes that no parent should face financial pressure in trying to meet what are essential costs for their children’s education. By investing in our education system and tackling school costs, we can ensure that all children start off with the same resources, increasing their ability to reach their full potential.

We know that the impact of a child’s early experiences lasts a lifetime and school is an essential part of that experience. We offered parents an opportunity to suggest priorities for the government that would make costs more affordable for them. Our recommendations are based on what they told us.

Extend free schoolbooks to all secondary schools children.

The Department of Education should mandate that all schools in Ireland introduce low-cost uniform options.

Commit to extending the €100 increase to the back to school allowance on a permanent basis and extend Child Benefit.

Increase the capitation grant to reduce reliance of schools on voluntary contributions.

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