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Cost of child in secondary school now averaging €1,500

Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 15/07/2021. Cost of child in secondary school now averaging €1,500 Tags: Parenting Education And Politics

Annual ILCU back to school survey shows cost of sending child to secondary school are steadily increasing each year with this years cost now averaging €1,500. At primary school level, spending has increased by €63 on average.

Despite the pandemic lockdowns and children being home schooled for the early part of the year, back to school spending is already on the minds of parents as they prepare for the new school year. The latest Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) survey on back-to-school costs shows the overall spend on school items is up for both primary and secondary schools. The cost of sending a child to primary school this coming year is just shy of €1,200 at €1,186, up €63 on last year, while parents of secondary school children can expect to pay an average of €1,491, up from €1,467 last year.

Most expensive item

School books top the list this year as the most expensive item for parents of secondary school children at €211, up from €196 last year. Extracurricular activities are the top cost for primary school parents at €178, up from €167 last year. Spending on gym gear/sports equipment has increased for both primary school and secondary school. Sadly, 43% of parents say they will have to deny their children new gym gear, a sharp increase of 16% from 2020. Parents also reported that 71% of schools are still seeking ‘voluntary contributions’.

A quarter of Irish parents in debt

Funding back to school continues to be a challenge for parents with 63% of parents saying that covering the cost of back to school is a financial burden. Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) are getting into debt to cover the costs of back to school. Of these, three quarters have debts of over €200 with 21% having debts over €500. The average debt parents find themselves incurring is €336 which encouragingly is down €61 on last year’s figure. While the majority of parents said they either use their monthly income or saving, the number of Dublin parents relying on their credit card for back-to-school purchases is worryingly high at 31%.

14% of parents rely on the state’s Back to School allowance, up 1% from last year. Find out how to apply and if you are eligible here.

This year’s survey also revealed that 68% of parent’s now shop online for school supplies, a rise of 2% from 2020, with respondent’s citing convenience as the main reason for doing so.

Impact of Covid-19

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on families, with 7 in 10 adults surveyed reporting that the mental health of their household has been affected, and almost a third saying that their physical health has suffered.

As expected, households struggled with the challenges of home-schooling with almost 1-in-3 parents saying they found it difficult to juggle home-schooling with work commitments and over a quarter agreeing that home-schooling was a burden.

1-in-3 parents (35%) said the extra cost of feeding children when home-schooling had the biggest effect on household finances. This was a noticeable increase (14%) from 2020. Over one fifth (22%) of parents reported that expenditure on laptops/tablets to support home-schooling has had an impact on their household finances compared to 11% in 2020.

65% of respondents agreed that that home-schooling and lockdowns had a negative effect on their children’s overall educational performance, and that their children were less focused on schoolwork.

One of the biggest impacts of home schooling and lockdowns, according to 88% of parents, was that children missed their friends and social activities. Positively, 60% also said that, despite this, children enjoyed being at home and spending more time with family.

For the full survey results from the ILCU click here.


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