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Parenting & Education in Ireland

Cost of
Primary Education

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It all starts here; your child's first days at school are a big milestone. Their first day at school is also your first day of many years of (very worthwhile) expense and investment.

The average cost of sending a child to primary school each year is €830, but Zurich's research report into the cost of sending a child to primary school for one year finds that parents underestimate the actual cost and assume that it costs just €584 per child, per year, when in fact it is nearly double that*.

Primary Focus

Often the first thing that comes to mind for parents counting the cost of sending their children to primary school is the cost of books and school uniforms, and while these items do account for a substantial expense, they are not the only costly item on the back to school shopping list.

The Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2018 found that in primary school, the highest costs are activities at €191, up from €165 last year, lunches €124, transport €71 and books €88. School uniforms cost on average €71 and school footwear €64 for each child during the academic year.

When adding up all the figures, the average cost of sending just one child to primary school for one year is €830 and the total cost of eight years' primary school education certainly adds up and comes in at an estimated €6,640.

Hidden Costs

In addition to the obvious expenses associated with sending children to school, the Zurich Cost of Education Survey also found other hidden costs and looked at whether or not there are means by which parents can better manage their finances.

It is not surprising to learn that because the cost of education for children is so high, parents try to find ways to reduce expenses. The average spend on school lunches in the most recent primary school year has increased from €110 to €124. Most primary school children (87%) bring a packed lunch with them and half of parents spent €100 or less on school lunches.

The majority of primary school children (92%) are primarily required to use hard copies of books. Primary schools offered a book rental scheme for 61% of children and the majority of parents availed of this initiative. However, almost 40% of parents said they would like to see more widespread use of laptops, iPads and eReaders in an effort to reduce the cost of books.

Other hidden costs that are often paid out on an ad hoc basis are extra-curricular activities and school trips.

This year in primary schools, 59% of parents spent €100+ on extra-curricular activities and the average spend on extra-curricular activities increased to €191 compared to €165 last year.

It's clear to see that the cost of education is high and increases over the years. So, wouldn't it make sense to plan ahead and build up your savings year-on-year?

With an Easy Access Savings Plan from Zurich Life you can gradually build up the funds necessary to support your children's education.

The table above illustrates just how much regular savings can grow with a Zurich Easy Access Savings plan. For example, if you saved the Government child benefit of €140 per month for five years (as of June 2018) from when your child was born, by the time they started school you could have built up savings of €8,705 in time to fund this crucial stage in their education.

To find out how Zurich Life can help you
save for your children’s education and future,
visit or call 1850 804 164.

*Source: Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2018