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Parents spending almost €1,500 a year sending children to secondary school - survey

The average debt parents find themselves in is €336.

Image: Shutterstock/ITTIGallery

A QUARTER OF parents are getting into debt in order to cover the costs of sending their children back to school. 

Over 1,000 parents took part in a survey by i-Reach Insights for the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU), which found that the overall spend on school items is up for both primary and secondary schools despite children being home-schooled for the early part of the year. 

Parents are now spending €1,491 per secondary school child, up €24 on last year, while the cost of sending a primary school child to school is up €63 at €1,186. 

The average debt parents find themselves in to send their child back to school is €336. Three-quarters have debts of over €200, while 21% have debts over €500. 

The top expense for parents of secondary school children is books at €211, up from €196 last year. For primary school parents, the top expense is extracurricular activities at €178, up from €167 last year.

Parents also reported that 71% of schools are still seeking ‘voluntary contributions’. 

In order to cover the back to school costs, 68% of parents use their monthly income. 36% rely on their savings, up 2% on last year, while those using a credit card has fallen 3% at 17%. 

Nearly two-thirds of parents believe that schools don’t do enough to help keep the costs down. 

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The survey also found that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on families has been profound, with 70% of parents reporting that the mental health of their household has been affected. 

65% of parents also said that that home-schooling and lockdowns had a negative effect on their child’s overall educational performance. 

The extra cost of the pandemic was also felt by parents. 35% said the extra cost of feeding children when home-schooling had the biggest effect on household finances, while 22% said spending on laptops and tablets had the biggest effect. 

Last month, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys TD announced that €118 million in funding is being provided across three schemes in support of school students and their families.

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