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Parents feel pressure to pay voluntary school contributions

The National Parents’ Council said the anxiety of paying contributions can distract parents from offering the support their children need when starting back at school.

File photo
File photo
Image: Eleanor Keegan/Photocall Ireland

PARENTS ARE FEELING increasing pressure to pay voluntary contributions sought by primary and secondary schools, the National Parents’ Council (NPC) has said.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, the NPC’s Aine Lynch said the council is trying to send out a message to parents to dedicate their attention to their children’s education and ignore any pressure schools may put on them.

“It’s very important for parents to do this, not just buying their books and uniforms, but the psychological side of things, encouraging their children and preparing them for starting school,” she said. “It can be difficult to do this if they’re struggling to cope with the anxiety of paying contributions.”

Lynch said a survey by the NPC last year showed 42 per cent of parents feel under pressure to pay contributions and this “calls into question the word ‘voluntary’”.

MEP Phil Prendergast today urged parents with children returning to school not to feel under pressure to pay the voluntary contributions to schools if they cannot afford to.

“Schools should act with extreme care when requesting these donations, and to take into account the difficult financial circumstances which many people find themselves in presently,” he said.

“Many families are struggling to pay for books, uniforms, transport and all the other associated costs of going back to school, they should not have additional expense heaped upon them at this time.”

Prendergast said parents should not be made feel guilty and if individuals feel pressure they should report them to the school’s board of management.

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