Minister for Education Richard Bruton yesterday announced the publication of circular to be adopted by schools, designed to reduce school costs.
Among new measures aimed at improving cost-effectiveness, schools will be required to ensure that all elements of a school uniform are purchasable from various stores and that only iron on or sew on crests should be used.
Schools will be asked to provide parents with a list of all required items and indicate the likely costs of these required items at best value stores. They will also be expected to provide a book rental scheme and ban the use of workbooks which cannot be reused.
This circular will come into force once it has been published in the coming days and where a school has already made arrangements for the next academic year, the circular can be implemented from September 2017 onwards.
The Minister will also introduce a requirement for every school to develop a Parent and Student Charter, which will ensure that the interaction between students, parents and schools, is always done in an open and progressive way.
Schools will consult with parents on their views about school uniform costs, and other costs,
and ask for suggestions on cost reduction initiatives.
"School is costly because children go through things quite quickly so I think anything that can be done to reduce the cost is good, especially generic uniforms.
"The boy's school is good because they do have a book rental scheme in place already but a lot of the workbooks and things are one use and that always seems quite wasteful to me."
"Books are extremely expensive, particularly the workbooks, considering they write in them and they're just dumped afterwards.
"Books cost me more than €300 a year. Then you have your school fees that work out at about €120 each, their uniforms and all their activities on top of that.
"You easily end up spending €800 for each child between everything each September."
"I don't think anything is free these days, especially with education.
"You find out those things when you have kids yourself that education costs money despite being “free”.
"I think it's worth trialing things to see if new schemes could work and if they do, then they should be rolled out."
"I think book rental schemes are hugely important.
"We have it in our school, we're hugely fortunate to have it, but having said that the amount of school work that is done in workbooks is huge and they're not even finishing the books.
"You're still forking out €50 to €60 and they are only doing a random page here and there so they don't even get the full use of the book which is mad."