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Increase in back-to-school costs
05 Aug 2015 00:12
The Minister for Education has said she intends to give further funding to the school book rental scheme in the forthcoming budget.
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Responding to the publication of a survey by Barnardos on back-to-school costs, Jan O'Sullivan said that she would not be able to invest the just over €100 million that the charity called for to help ease the cost of books, transport and fees at primary level this year.
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But Ms O'Sullivan said she would be arguing very strongly in budget negotiations for further investment in education.
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She said she understood and recognised that back-to-school time was an expensive one for parents.
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Although she has no power to force them to, she said she would continue to try to persuade schools to move away from cresting and branding uniforms and that she would encourage parents to do the same.
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She said that 94% of primary schools and 68% of secondary schools now have book rental schemes and this was an area she would continue to focus on to bring costs down.
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The survey by Barnardos found that parents are feeling the strain when it comes to back-to-school costs.
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The tenth annual School Costs Survey details the average costs of books, uniforms and voluntary contributions and indicates that many parents are taking out loans to cover the costs.
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The survey found that back-to-school costs for first-year pupils at secondary school have increased by an average of €50 in the past year, to €785.
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