Parents continue to struggle with rising back to school costs

Parents continue to struggle with rising back to school costs

Parents continue to struggle when it comes to back to school costs, with one in four having to deny their child basic school items, according to the latest survey conducted by the Irish League of Credit Unions.

The survey shows 20% of primary school parents and 31% of secondary school parents say they will be forced to deny their children certain school items this year.

ILCU Back to school costs 25072017

Of those who say this, almost four-in-ten say they can’t buy their children new school shoes. More than two-thirds say they can’t afford extracurricular activities.

Added to this, 36% say gym gear, and a further 36% say school trips, will be the items cut from the back to school list as they struggle to cope with costs.

Although more parents than ever are now in a position to finance back to school costs through their monthly income (71% compared with 64% last year and 41% the previous two years), the survey results show that funding this annual spend continues to be a challenge.

A substantial 72% of parents feel the back to school spend is a financial burden, with more than a quarter (27%) saying the costs will impact negatively on household bills.

According to parents in the nationwide survey, the average back to school spend continues to rise – and has now reached €1,209 per child. This is an increase of 2% on 2016 (€1,185) and a rise of 4.7% on 2015 (€1,154).

The average spend per primary school child has increased by a significant €81 since last year to €1,048. On a more positive note, costs per secondary school child have fallen from €1,474 to €1,401, while campaigns to bring down the price of school uniforms appear to have paid off, with a fall of 21% (€39) in the cost of uniforms since last year.

The most expensive school-related cost continues to be extracurricular activities, at an average of €187 per child.

This is followed by school lunches at €154 and school books at €150. Fees and voluntary contributions remained on a par with last year at €113.

The vast majority of parents (71%) say they will be paying a voluntary contribution this year.