Parents are spending almost €1,400 getting their child ready for secondary school and almost €950 to send them to primary school, according to a survey released today.

The survey found that three-quarters of parents find the back-to-school costs a financial burden, with a third going into debt to cover these costs. The average debt is €322, a lower figure than in previous years.

Parents said that in order to afford the basics, 68% of parents plan to cut out extracurricular activities, with 30% of parents saying they won’t spend on school trips.

The survey also found that the most expensive item at second level were books, at €220 compared with €200 last year, and uniforms/clothing next at €200, up from €179 last year.

Of those taking on debt, around a quarter are turning to moneylenders. However, this figure is down slightly from last year. The average amount borrowed from moneylenders has also fallen slightly from €450 last year, to €439 this year.

Parents of primary school children have cut back on school lunches, spending €102 compared to €142 last year and after school care costs have also seen a drop from €140 to €117.

Almost three-quarters of those surveyed suggesting that book rental schemes and generic uniforms would help.

Paul Bailey, of the Irish League of Credit Unions, welcomed the recent publication of the Joint Committee on Education and Skills report on its examination of school costs. That report recommended that generic uniforms and PE gear should be introduced in schools to reduce costs for families.

Rathkeale & District Credit Union Manager, Margaret Heffernan said today, “Every year we see an increase in the number of members from our community coming to us for educational loans. Our education loan is available for all levels; primary, secondary, third level and post grad. plus all associated costs. Our rate is very competitive, often cheaper than the banks. There are no fees. Our staff in any of our three branches Rathkeale, Adare or Croom are happy to help. You can also Phone-a-Loan: 069 64444 or click here to apply online.”

To learn more about our education loans, click here