Rising school costs an extra burden on struggling families – O’ Brien
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Jonathan O’ Brien TD, has described the rise in schools costs for parents as a “nightmare for struggling families”. The Cork North Central TD was responding to a survey published by Barnardos today that shows the costs for first year pupils at secondary school increasing by an average of €50 to €785 last year.
Deputy O’ Brien said:
“Rising back to school costs are a nightmare for struggling families. Many families have to get loans in order to cover the costs with one in five secondary school parents forced to take this option. It puts paid to the notion of free education.
“Cuts to capitation costs means that some schools are barely able to cover costs and parents are put under tremendous pressure to increase their voluntary donations. The cost of school books has also increased putting even more strain on Irish families. It doesn’t help that the back to school clothing allowance was slashed by the government last year.
“These government imposed cuts fly in the face of education as a basic and fundamental human right. With back to school costs rising year on year, these rights are being denied. School has to be affordable to all so that everyone has equal access to education.
“Sinn Féin wants to make back to school time more affordable. If in government we would increase the annual Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, increase funding to school books and increase the capitation grant to primary and post-primary schools - reducing the need for parents to dig into their own pockets for school contributions and ensuring education is something truly accessible to all.”