15 July 2021
Average Cost Sending a Child to Secondary is €1,500 School
Annual ILCU back to school survey shows cost of sending child to secondary school now averaging €1,500
Parents now spending €1,491 per secondary school child - up €24 on last year
At primary school level, spending has increased by €63
Back to school costs still a challenge for parents with 63% of parents finding it a financial burden
A quarter of parents (24%) are getting into debt to cover the costs of back to school with 21% having debts over €500
The average debt parents find themselves in is €336
65% of parents believe that schools don’t do enough to help keep the costs of going back to school down
71% of schools still seeking a “voluntary contribution”
65% of parents say that that home-schooling and lockdowns had a negative effect on their child’s overall educational performance
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.
School books once again 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 (€77, up €15 from 2020) and secondary school (€121, up €11 from 2020). Significantly, 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 so called ‘voluntary contributions’.
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.
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 (61%) as the main reason for doing so.
Impacts of COVID-19 - Home-schooling and Lockdowns
For the second year running, the ILCU survey also looked at the impact and concerns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.