Back to school costs driving a quarter of parents into debt

More than one in four parents are going into debt in order to pay back to school costs for their children.

A new survey from the Irish League of Credit Unions (ICLU) show the average amount parents owe is just under €400.

Parents are spending more than €1,100 per primary school child to get them back to school, an increase of €174 on last year, according to the survey.

It found spending on secondary students is just under €1,500 each.

69 per cent of parents feel that schools could do more to reduce the costs, so for example, there could be school book rental schemes, non-badge uniforms.

Paul Bailey from the ICLU says there are ways that schools can help to bring the cost down: “69 per cent of parents feel that schools could do more to reduce the costs, so for example, there could be school book rental schemes, non-badge uniforms.

“So instead of having to buy a badged uniform in a particular school colour, schools can opt to go for the grey trousers, the grey skirt, the grey number, which can be bought now in all the major retail outlets at very reasonable costs.”

Contribution fees

The cost of after-school care has also increased by more than 70 per cent when compared with last year, standing at €200.

Mr Bailey says voluntary contributions to schools have risen too: “Parents are asked to contribute voluntarily but what we find is they’re almost like a mandatory charge.

“They’ve increased by 25 per cent to an average of €110 per child from €88 last year. Secondary school contributions are remaining at an average of €140.”