Government must tackle soaring back to school costs – O’Loughlin

Published on: 02 August 2019

Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South and Chairperson of the Oireachtas Education Committee Fiona O’Loughlin has called on the Government to tackle the soaring costs associated with sending children to primary and secondary schools.

Deputy O’Loughlin said it shouldn’t be the case that parents are having to get themselves into debt, or worse, turn to loan sharks, to prepare themselves for an influx of school related bills as September approaches.

She explained, “The Barnardos School Costs Survey for 2019 has shown that the costs associated with sending children to school remain stubbornly high. Worryingly, the average cost for a first-year pupil is €735 which really brings a different meaning to ‘free education.

“New uniform costs, book expenses, transport charges and voluntary charges which aren’t really voluntary whatsoever all add up and these don’t even take into account additional costs associated with extra-curricular activities such as school trips.

“Recently the Joint Committee on Education and Skills published a report on school costs. We believe funding for the school book rental scheme be increased; non-badged generic uniforms should be introduced and perhaps most importantly, that the Department of Education and Skills carries out an independent assessment of the adequacy of the capitation rates and incrementally increase funding to schools,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.

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