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Minister Bruton must challenge rising back to school costs – Kathleen Funchion TD

10 August, 2017 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Kathleen Funchion TD has today published Sinn Féin’s plans to tackle the spiraling costs of sending children back to school.

The document comes on the back of recent reports from Barnardos and other organisations showing back to school costs are steadily rising, continuing to be a major financial burden on families.

Speaking at the launch, Teachta Funchion said;

“The cost of returning a child to school has increased fourfold in recent times and as many as 72% of parents feeling the back-to-school costs will be a financial burden.

“The average back to school cost for a single primary school child is €1,048 and €1,401 for a child in secondary school.

“Regressive cuts to supports for low and middle-income families have left many feeling exposed and finding themselves literally unable to put food on the table.

“Our document on tackling the cost of primary and secondary education looks to reduce this burden from ordinary working families by investing in key areas that need to be addressed immediately.

"We want to see the practice of schools pressuring parents into paying voluntary contributions regulated.

"This would ensure that no child is treated unfavourably as a result of the fact that their parents did not make a voluntary contribution.

“Sinn Féin supports the further implementation of the Oireachtas Report of tackling school costs. Through this, we can begin to reduce the pressure to cover costs of education.

“Sinn Féin would increase funding for school book schemes to €60 million over the course of the next five years. This would see free schoolbooks become available to children across the State by 2022.

"We also propose that the funding for school transport schemes is increased by €30m over the next five years to make the scheme more affordable and accessible to parents.

“The government needs to start investing in our future if the financial barriers affecting children are to ever be removed”.

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