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Government must to do more to help parents meet the cost of paying for school uniforms – Seán Crowe TD

21 July, 2011 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson has urged the Government to fast-track measures that would help parents meet the cost of paying 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, to introduce a number of measures that would help combat the spiralling cost of sending a child to school.

Deputy Crowe said: “This is a crisis that is hitting many families hard as they struggle to make ends meet in these difficult times.

“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 individual child attending school. This outrageous figure, combined with additional expenses such as paying for books and voluntary contributions to school funds is proving impossible for more and more parents to meet.

“When I raised this matter with the Minister he agreed to consider a number of initiatives including standardising the design and colours of uniforms and providing an option for parents to sew on school crests. This would allow families the opportunity to 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.” ENDS

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