The Real Cost of School in 2017
This year over 1,800 parents took the Barnardos’ School Costs Survey. Parents are yet again stressed and over-burdened by back to school costs. It affects so many families, not just those on low incomes. The impact of these mounting costs mean many parents are forgoing other bills, cutting back on daily expenses or ending up in debt in order to ensure their children have all they need for the new school year.
The survey found:
- The impact of school costs means 45% of parents had to forgo other bills or cut back on daily expenses.
- Parents of primary school pupils pay on average between €50 and €100 on books while one-fifth (20%) of parents of secondary school pupils pay in excess of €300.
- Generic school uniforms are more common at primary level than secondary level. Parents spend on average €95 on school specific uniforms at primary level and between €150 and €200 for them at secondary level.
- Fewer parents are being asked to pay a voluntary contribution this year but significantly more parents are being asked to pay the mandatory classroom resources fees.
The State is failing to see its fundamental role in ensuring the education system is adequately funded to ensure all children have what they need to learn the curriculum. No other public service has to subsidise their funding to keep the show on the road, so why should the Department of Education expect schools to have to undertake extensive fundraising activities from parents and staff to fund necessities? Budget 2018 must take the first step towards making education free for all children by providing free books for all pupils in primary school.