The Cost of Primary School Education in Ireland 2018 | Zurich Ireland

The Cost of Primary School Education 2018

The Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2018 highlights the increasing cost of primary school in Ireland. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect to spend each year for one child, and the lifetime cost of primary education.

It all starts here; your child's first days at school are a big milestone. Their first day at school is also your first day of many years of (very worthwhile) expense and investment.

The average cost of sending a child to primary school each year is €830, but our research report into the cost of sending a child to primary school for one year finds that parents underestimate the actual cost and assume that it costs just €584 per child, per year, when in fact it is nearly double that*.

Often the first thing that comes to mind for parents counting the cost of sending their children to primary school is the cost of books and school uniforms, and while these items do account for a substantial expense, they are not the only costly item on the back to school shopping list. The Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2018 found that in primary school, the highest costs are activities at €191, up from €165 last year, lunches €124, transport €71 and books €88. School uniforms cost on average €71 and school footwear €64 for each child during the academic year.

When adding up all the figures, the average cost of sending just one child to primary school for one year is €830 and the total cost of eight years' primary school education certainly adds up and comes in at an estimated €6,640.

The Cost of Primary School Education
Item Estimated Cost
After school activities  €191
Lunches  €124
Voluntary contribution €68
Parents Association  €53
School supplies
Annual cost €830
Lifetime cost €6,640

Hidden costs

In addition to the obvious expenses associated with sending children to school, the Zurich Cost of Education Survey also found other hidden costs and looked at whether or not there are means by which parents can better manage their finances.

It is not surprising to learn that because the cost of education for children is so high, parents try to find ways to reduce expenses. The average spend on school lunches in the most recent primary school year has increased from €110 to €124. Most primary school children (87%) bring a packed lunch with them and half of parents spent 100 or less on school lunches.

The majority of primary school children (92%) are primarily required to use hard copies of books. Primary schools offered a book rental scheme for 61% of children and the majority of parents availed of this initiative. However, almost 40% of parents said they would like to see more widespread use of laptops, iPads and eReaders in an effort to reduce the cost of books.

Other hidden costs that are often paid out on an ad hoc basis are extra-curricular activities and school trips.

This year in primary schools, 59% of parents spent 100+ on extra-curricular activities and the average spend on extra-curricular activities increased to €191 compared to €165 last year. 

Saving solutions

There are some measures parents can take to reduce the cost of sending their children to primary school, such as providing packed lunches, walking to school and availing of book rental schemes. Other solutions to minimising the financial burden of children's education is early planning and financial saving.

Looking specifically at parents' saving behaviour, the Zurich Cost of Education research found that 72% of parents have a savings account and save an average of €5,299 per year. Half of those savers say their top saving priority is to cover their children's education costs. Furthermore, one quarter of parents have managed to save less than 500 in their savings account to date.

Something to think about...

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 Zurich Easy Access 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 Easy Access Savings plan. For example, if you saved the Government child benefit of €140 per month for five years (as of June 2018) from when your child was born, by the time they started school you could have built up savings of €8,705 in time to fund this crucial stage in their education.

*Source: Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2018

Savings fund after five years starting primary school Savings fund after 12 years starting primary school
Regular contributions of €140 per month* €8,705 €22,092
Lump sum of €10,000 and regular contributions of €140 per month* €19,475 €34,126
A gross investment return of 3.9% per annum is assumed. 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 2018 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 June 2018 and may change in the future.

Cost of College Education Calculator

Use our Cost of College Education Calculator to work out the estimated costs of sending your children to college and to see how much you might need to save each month to meet these college costs.

Cost of College Education Calculator 

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