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04th Aug 2023

Parents ‘lying awake at night’ over back-to-school cost concerns

Irish parents are struggling to deal with price of back-to-school essentials amid the current cost of living crisis.

With just weeks to go until the new term begins, parents and guardians are feeling the pressure as the cost of books, uniforms, and other must-haves pile up.

Survey figures from Barnardos show that it costs €972 to send one child to secondary school. Families sending a child to primary school will likely spend an average of €320.

The free books scheme may help some parents with children in primary school, but 51% of parents say the costs are still financially crippling.

Families with children attending secondary school are struggling even more with 24% turning to loved ones and financial institutions for loans.

According to Barnardos, parents are so worried about the financial strain that it is affecting their physical health.

A parent of a primary pupil told the charity:

“It is very difficult and such a stressful time, the school requires both crested tracksuits and crested uniform with black shoes and trainers for tracksuit days.

“I lie awake in bed with anxiety thinking about how will we meet the uniform needs along with the grocery bill. We both work, me part-time, and we have eaten through our savings since January due to the rise in the cost of living for everything.”

Families are already struggling to make ends meet due to the hike in the cost of food shopping and household bills, which has made it harder for them to cover back-to-school costs.

Parents agreed that crested uniforms and voluntary contributions are two of their biggest concerns.