Midwest Radio

Minister Bruton's attempts to cut school costs are welcome, but don't go far enough- Barnardos

Schools are being told they have to do 'everything possible' to keep costs down for parents.

The Minister for Education Richard Bruton is introducing a range of orders aimed at reducing the financial burden of sending children to school.

It includes making all uniform elements available to buy in a range of shops, and only using 'iron on' or 'sew on' school crests.

Studies show that one in ten parents are forced to go into debt to cover back to school costs, while 42% of parents delay paying household bills or cut back on daily expenses to fund school costs.

Minister Bruton said today that he will publish a circular in the coming days to be adopted by schools to reduce the costs of uniforms of and other costs.

This includes schools providing book rental schemes, and banning the use of workbooks that cannot be re-used.

Last year, a survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions showed the average overall spend on costs for a primary school student was 967 euro per year, and 1,474 euro at second-level.

Under the new rules, the Board of Management in each school will have to review the cost of items they require parents to buy and make this information availahle.

Children’s charity Barnardos has welcomed the Minister’s attempts to reduce school costs, but says they don’t go far enough.  

They say it would only cost the State 185 euro per pupil to ensure a free primary education for all children in this country.

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