As parents of school going children brace themselves ahead of the back to school shopping season, the Irish League of Credit Unions has taken a look at just what the costs for both primary and secondary school children are. In 2011, a typical Irish family will spend approximately €400 on each child when getting them ready to go back to school in September with back-to-school expenditure for a second-level student is almost 50 per cent higher than for a primary-level pupil.
Commenting on the research findings, Kieron Brennan, ILCU CEO said: “The cost of school going children to parents is considerable and can put significant pressure on household budgets and the ability of some families to pay their essential bills. This iReach research shows us that there are significant numbers of parents using their credit cards and using their savings to pay for their child’s back to school needs, with many parents feeling that the back to school allowance is not sufficient to cover costs.
We were surprised at the number of parents that would like to see their children using laptops and or e-books in the classroom and this may be part of a growing trend whereby parents are looking to technology to save on the costs of school books. Claremorris Credit Union recently announced a partnership with St Colman's College in Claremorris to make history by becoming the first school in Ireland to introduce the truly digital classroom following its decision to replace textbooks and school bags with Apple’s iPad tablet device. In time this is something which could be looked at more closely by the education system and by government as a possible way to reduce costs in future for families.”
Mr Brennan concluded, “Ultimately, we urge parents to shop around for the best value in back to school items like school books and uniforms. We recommend that you check what you have left over from last year and then make a list of everything you need to buy and stick to that list. Eight per cent of those surveyed already speak to their credit union about back to school finance and budget management, so if you want advice on budgeting or some guidance on applying for a loan, visit your local credit union and talk to a member of staff.”