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Government must to do more to help parents meet the cost of school uniforms – Crowe

21 July, 2011 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s education spokesperson Sean Crowe has urged the government to fastrack measures to help parents pay for school uniforms.

At a meeting this week of the Education and Skill’s Committee, the Dublin South West TD urged education minister Ruairí Quinn TD, to introduce measures to help with the spiralling cost of sending a child to school.

He continued:

“This is a crisis that is hitting many families hard as they struggle to make ends meet.

“A recent a survey of 1,000 people by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) found that on average, €400 will be spent annually on each child attending school. This outrageous figure, combined with additional expenses such as books and voluntary contributions to schools, is proving impossible for more parents to meet.

“When I raised this matter with the minister, he agreed to consider initiatives including standardising the design and colours of uniforms and providing an option for parents to sew on school crests. This would allow families shop around for better deals and not be forced to rely on a select number of retailers who can charge outrageous prices for uniforms.

“Parents should also be encouraged to pass on their school uniforms, which often have to be replaced annually as children quickly outgrow their clothes. They could be reused by other children at a fraction of the cost.

“When we consider that on average, it costs €470 for a second-level student and €320 for a child attending primary school then we need to do everything possible to ease the financial burden on parents. Charities like St Vincent De Paul are doing their best to meet these rocketing costs and the government must do likewise.”

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