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Parents struggling to cope with education costs

Some parents are being forced to take out loans to pay for uniforms and text books, says the children’s charity Barnardos.

File photo: students from Trinity Comprehensive School in Ballymun as they sit exams.
File photo: students from Trinity Comprehensive School in Ballymun as they sit exams.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

FAMILIES ARE STRUGGLING to meet the costs of sending their children to school, with  many being forced to take out loans to cover expenses, according to a survey by the children’s charity Barnardos.

Barnardos’ CEO Fergus Finlay said “parents responding to our survey have overwhelmingly responded to say that despite the recession the costs of sending their children to school have increased this year”.

Finlay said that the average costs of sending a child to junior infants stands at €350 and rises to €805 for a child entering secondary school. “Even for those parents in receipt of the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance the shortfall between these costs and the amount they receive can leave them struggling to afford school costs,” he said.

The charity said that such the impact of such expenses at a time of recession means that education costs are “pushing parents to the limit.”

One mother responding to the survey outlined her situation: “It is costing me €1,800 to send my three children to school this September. My husband is currently unemployed and we are really being stretched to meet the costs. We had to get a loan from the credit union to send our children to school – it’s a joke.”

The biggest costs facing parents sending children to school remain uniforms and text books. In some schools, the absence of crest-free uniforms and school book rental schemes can stretch budgets even further, Barnardos said.

Read: Are third level fees looming?

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