Sending child to primary school costs €1,000, study finds

Credit union survey finds 25% of parents likely to struggle with bills in coming months

 A credit union survey found the average cost of sending a child to a non-fee-paying primary school in the coming year will be just under €1,000, while the cost of a “free” education in any of the State’s secondary schools will climb to almost €1,500. File photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

A credit union survey found the average cost of sending a child to a non-fee-paying primary school in the coming year will be just under €1,000, while the cost of a “free” education in any of the State’s secondary schools will climb to almost €1,500. File photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

 

As many as one in eight parents say they will have to sacrifice spending on food in the weeks ahead to cover the cost of sending their children back to school in September, according to a new survey.

The research from the Irish League of Credit Unions also shows rising education costs will mean one in four households with school-going children are likely to struggle to pay bills on time over the coming months.

The average cost of sending a child to a non-fee-paying primary school in the coming year will be just under €1,000, while the cost of a “free” education in any of the State’s secondary schools will climb to almost €1,500.

When the cost of uniforms, books, lunches, extracurricular activities, school trips, “voluntary” contributions, transport and sports gear are totted up, parents of children in the primary system will spend an average of €967 per child, according to the research. Parents of secondary school children will spend an average of €1,474 per child.

The survey of 1,000 nationally representative adults found extracurricular activities to be the most expensive element for primary school children, having jumped sharply year on year. The cost of uniforms remains the most costly item for secondary school children.

Extracurricular activities

The parents of primary school children said they would spend an average of €189 on extracurricular activities per child this year, up from €131 in 2015. Secondary school parents said they expected to spend an average of €180, up from €137 last year.

The cost of uniforms for younger children has fallen slightly, with parents saying they will spend €145 this year compared with €166 last year. Uniforms in secondary school, meanwhile, will cost an average of €234 this year, down from the €258 they cost last year.

Books were the next most expensive item, with primary school parents saying they would spend €94, down slightly from the €106 spent last year. Secondary school parents said they would spend €214, up €1 on last year’s figure. In 2014, the cost of secondary school books was put at €166.

School lunches will cost €129, up from €116 in 2015, while the cost of lunches for secondary school children is put at €166 per child, up from €147.

Controversial “voluntary” contributions will be made by 79 per cent of parents, with the average amount sought by schools coming in at €118 per child, up from €112 in 2015

Overall, 81 per cent of parents of school-going children said the costs were a significant burden with 31 per cent likely to get themselves into debt.