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Education Minister must act to reduce back to school costs – Deputy Jonathan O’Brien

26 June, 2013 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has said the Department of Education and Skills (DES) must act immediately and implement recommendations that would mean pupils are not obliged to wear crested school uniforms and that the use of workbooks would be brought to an end.

The Cork North Central TD was responding to the recommendations of the Oireachtas Select Committee on Education that recently presented a number of proposals to Minister Ruairí Quinn which if implemented would significantly reduce back to schools costs for parents.

Deputy O’Brien said: “Figures contained in Barnardo’s Annual School’s Survey for 2012 found that on average parents are paying €355 for a child in senior infants, €390 for children in 4th class in primary school and €770 for children going into first year in secondary school.

“Having greater parental greatly choice when clothing and equipping children for school is something Sinn Féin has been lobbying the Minister on for many years.

“We have also put forward recommendations that would enforce a mandatory code of practise on the publishers of school text books as well as the expansion of the school book rental scheme.

“School books and uniforms are amongst the highest of the costs that parents face, with voluntary contributions and school transport adding to the burden.

“The financial burden that is being placed on parents when sending their children to school has now reached unsustainable levels and the report from the Oireachtas education committee has recommended that pupils should not be forced to wear crested uniforms and the that use of workbooks which cannot be reused should be brought to an end.

“It is unacceptable that parents have to pay such excessive amounts of money on back to school costs when there are more affordable alternatives available.”

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