Fianna Fáil Senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor has called on the Government to tackle the soaring costs associated with sending children to primary and secondary schools.
Senator Murnane O’Connor said the Government must listen to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Skills which has called for a number of measures to be introduced to reduce the financial burden associated with sending children to school.
She said: "Recently the Oireachtas Education published a report on school costs.
"It called for funding for the school book rental scheme to be increased; non-badged generic uniforms to be introduced and for the Department of Education and Skills to carry out an independent assessment of the adequacy of the capitation rates and incrementally increase funding to schools.
"Were these measures to be introduced, parents wouldn’t have to get themselves into debt, or worse, turn to loan sharks, to prepare themselves for an influx of school related bills as September approaches."
"The Barnardos School Costs Survey for 2019 has shown that the costs associated with sending children to school remain stubbornly high.
"Worryingly, the average cost for a first-year pupil is €735 which really brings a different meaning to 'free education'.
"New uniform costs, book expenses, transport charges and voluntary charges which aren’t really voluntary whatsoever all add up and these don’t even take into account additional costs associated with extra-curricular activities such as school trips. It’s a worrying time for some parents when instead they should be enjoying the excitement with their child," she added.