Primary education costs add up

The Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2021* highlights the cost of primary school in Ireland and gives a breakdown of the back to school shopping list. 

Starting primary school is a big milestone for children. There are a few items children need in primary school, so knowing how much each item costs can help you budget and manage those outgoings.

In order to gain a better understanding and help parents with back to school costs, Zurich conducted research to reveal the true cost of sending children to school. The Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2021* found the average cost of sending a child to primary school each year is €1,305 up from €1,010 last year. When adding up all the figures, the total cost of eight years' primary school education certainly adds up and comes in at an estimated €10,440.

Our research report into the cost of sending a child to primary school also found that parents often underestimate the actual cost.

In addition to the obvious expenses associated with sending children to school, there are other hidden costs. The research found that in primary school, the highest costs are lunches €312, books €176, transport €149 and clothing €123. 


It is not surprising to learn that because the cost of education for children is so high, parents try to find ways to budget and manage their finances. 

The majority of primary school children (70%) are primarily required to use hard copies of books. Primary schools offered a book rental scheme for 58% of children and the majority of parents availed of this initiative. In addition, parents said they would like to see more widespread use of laptops, iPads and eReaders in an effort to reduce the cost of books.

Looking specifically at parents' saving behaviour, the Zurich Cost of Education research found that parents that have a savings account say their top saving priority is to cover their children's education costs.  

Saving for a child’s future

It's clear to see that the cost of education is high and increases over the years. So, wouldn't it make sense to plan ahead and build up your savings year-on-year?

With a Regular Savings plan you can gradually build up the funds necessary to support your children's education.

The table below illustrates just how much regular savings can grow with a Zurich LifeSave Savings Plus plan. For example, if you saved the Government child benefit of €140 per month for five years (as of July 2021) from when your child was born, by the time they started school you could have built up savings of €8,587 in time to fund this crucial stage in their education.

Savings fund after five years starting primary school Savings fund after 12 years starting primary school
Regular contributions of €140 per month* €8,587 €21,689
Lump sum of €10,000 and regular contributions of €140 per month* €19,072 €33,292
A gross investment return of 3.0% per annum is assumed for the 5 year savings fund and 3.4% per annum for the 12 year savings fund. We have assumed that on death, encashment, partial encashment or assignment of the policy or on each 8th policy anniversary, tax is deduced on the gains made at the current rate of taxation, being 41%. A government insurance levy (currently 1% as at June 2021 and may change in the future) applies to this policy. The contribution amounts above are inclusive of this levy.No surrender penalties apply. An annual management charge of 1.25% and an allocation rate of 101% apply. The information contained herein is based on Zurich Life's understanding of current Revenue practice as of July 2021 and may change in the future.

*Source: Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2021

About: Benchmark Tool

Use Zurich's Cost of Education benchmarking tool to see how education costs compare and pinpoint where savings could be made.

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