'Life is a struggle': Cork parent expresses concern about the rise in back-to-school costs

The concerned Cork mother told The Echo she is worried about the various costs for her three children
'Life is a struggle': Cork parent expresses concern about the rise in back-to-school costs

The Government on Tuesday announced that the back-to-school allowance is to increase by 100 euro per child, as part of a 67 million euro package announced to help with the cost-of-living crisis.

A CORK mother of three secondary school students has raised her concerns about the rise in back-to-school costs ahead of the new academic year.

The Government on Tuesday announced that the back-to-school allowance is to increase by 100 euro per child, as part of a 67 million euro package announced to help with the cost-of-living crisis.

The allowance of 160 euro is currently available to children who are aged between four and 11 on September 30.

However, the Government is under pressure to extend the eligibility criteria to include more families.

The concerned Cork mother, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Echo she is worried about the various costs for her three children.

“One is in Leaving Cert, one is in transition year, and I have one girl going into first year,” she said. “I have to pay €280 for voluntary fees for one student.

“My other two are €100 each which means it will cost €480 alone in voluntary fees before books and uniforms. We also have to pay an extra €20 euro for their locker and school journal for the year.”

The Cork parent said the increase in the cost of books and school uniforms since last summer has added to her financial worries. “Everything has gone up. There will be a big outlay on books for my first-year student as the curriculum has changed again so none of my other daughter’s books will suffice. I will have to buy a complete new set of books for her. 

"I had a quick look at prices and some of the books are costing €40 or €50 which is crazy.

“My elder two children thankfully don’t have too many books to buy this year.

“There are also certain shops only where you can only buy the school uniform. For my daughter in first year, the polo shirt alone is €45. You have to buy a tracksuit which you can only wear one day a week. There is also a school jacket, jumpers, and trousers to buy. There is also a transition year fee which is another couple of hundred euro to pay for the various activities. 

"This doesn’t include the TY holiday. Add to this the various trips during the year when you will be asked for €5 and €10 here and there. We don’t know the bus price for next year as the transport costs are being reviewed due to the increase in fuel prices,” she added.

“It is frightening but so many other families are in the same situation. When the school asks for voluntary contributions, you don’t want to be the only parent who won’t pay as you don’t want anything coming back on your children. 

"The school should be getting the funding from the Government, not from us. Life is a struggle. My gas is now going up. I must fill the car this week and that will cost me another €100 because with three kids I am up and down the road like a yo-yo.”

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