Each year parents have to do the sums on the cost of education. But do they realise the actual cost of putting their children through secondary education?
While parents are told that there is ‘free’ education in Ireland, for many across the country, each year they must count the mounting costs of sending their children to secondary school.
Although the cost of sending your children to primary school can add up, the cost of education when that child moves into secondary school increases substantially.
School uniforms and shoes, books, transport, voluntary contributions, and indeed extracurricular activities all add up and can put parents under increasing pressure to manage these expenses on an ongoing basis.
The costs involved in funding your children’s education – especially for secondary schooling – far outstrip the back-to-school clothing and footwear allowances that are available. The average annual cost of education for a child entering first year is €1,629*.
While school books and transport are among the most sizeable expenses, the move to secondary school also brings a greater number of 'other' expenses such as lunch money, sports gear, school trips, more sizable lunches and grinds for some of those approaching an exam year.
If we allow for the fact that the bulk of school books will be bought in first and fifth year, the total cost of six years' secondary school education, excluding extra expenses is estimated to be €7,734*.
For many parents the real challenge comes when trying to get to grips with the costs of education when it's too late. This often leads to parents having to fund everything out of their day-to-day expenditure or take out a loan.
Clearly 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?
*Source: Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2017