Adding it all up
For parents with children in secondary school, finding the money each year for school items can put a strain on their finances. To alleviate some of these financial burdens, parents are constantly looking at ways to reduce their children's school costs. However, there are many expenses such as uniforms, books, and voluntary contributions that are unavoidable.
An example of this is in relation to school books. For 59% of secondary school children, they are primarily required to have hard copies of books and the Zurich Cost of Education research report found that 50% of secondary school children were offered a book rental scheme.
Parent's looking at reducing the cost of books during the post primary cycle said that the use of technology could have an impact here. In secondary school, parents said they would like to see more widespread use of laptops, iPads and eReaders in their children's classroom.
Similarly with regard to uniforms, parents can try to reduce the cost by providing non-branded uniforms for their children but this is dependent on the policy of individual schools. During our research into the cost of education in Ireland, we found that 58% of secondary school children have to wear a full branded uniform.
There are other areas where parents can reduce costs such as lunches and transport. Secondary school children can bring a packed lunch, but for those that buy their lunch or eat in the school canteen the average spend on school lunches in the year is €452. In secondary school, transport costs for the academic year average around €352 but if children can walk or bike to school then this will eliminate the transport cost.