Barnardos ask for free primary education as parents struggle with costs

Costs: Irish charity asked for free primary education for all children.
Costs: Irish charity asked for free primary education for all children.

Children's charity Barnardos has demanded government action as their school survey shows parents are struggling to meet back to school costs.

The charity released it's annual school cost survey today that showed a child returning to senior infants will cost €340 while a child returning to fourth class will cost €395.

Parents with a child moving to secondary school will face a cost of €775 in the first year.

Nearly half of all parents surveyed said that they will delay household bills or cut back on daily expenses to afford the school costs.

One parent said that their "rent has recently gone up €150. We live from week to week. School time is a nightmare situation for me.

Another parent complained about the use of workbooks as they cannot be passed on, the book rental scheme only applying to English readers while the use of generic uniforms would save a lot of money.

"We had to choose between food on the table or him wearing a dirty jumper - I choose food," one parent added.

The report is calling for €103.2 million to be provided in the Budget to make primary education completely free.

Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay said that parents "are frustrated by the injustice of different schools setting vastly different parameters, with some benefitting from school book rental schemes, minimal contributions and plain uniforms.


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