Home Leisure & Lifestyle New Research Reveals Parents Spend Over £6,000 per Child by the Time They Leave Primary School

New Research Reveals Parents Spend Over £6,000 per Child by the Time They Leave Primary School

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As families continue to deal with the ongoing cost of living crisis, with 100,000 more children said to be in relative poverty this year compared to last year according to Save the Children, new research highlights the staggering costs that parents face during their child’s state primary school years, with expenses exceeding £6,000 on average by the time they leave year six. 

TigerTags, the company that carried out the research, found the financial strain on parents is significant. If the child opts for packed lunches, parents can expect to spend approximately £6326.82 over 7 years for all school related expenses, averaging £904 per year. 

If opting for school dinners, the cost slightly reduces to £5755.82, averaging £822 per year. The average weekly cost (39 weeks per school year) comes to £162.23 with packed lunches and £147.59 with school dinners.

Breakdown of school expenses for parents

  • School dinners (190 days at £2.30 per day): £437 per year, £3059 over 7 years
  • Packed lunches (190 days at £2.73 per day): £518.70 per year, £3630 over 7 years
  • School trips (2 per year at £36.63 each): £73.26 per year, £512.82 over 7 years
  • Uniforms: £287 per year, £2009 over 7 years
  • School bag (1 per year at £25): £25 per year, £175 over 7 years

According to a report this year by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) titled “The Ongoing Impact of the Cost of Living Crisis on Schools”, the most common support activities reported by schools include providing uniforms and clothing to pupils. The data reveals that 94% of primary schools and 96% of secondary schools are engaged in these support activities.

One of the most concerning findings from the report is that 40% of primary teachers have observed an increase in the number of pupils coming to school without adequate clothing, such as proper uniforms or winter coats and shoes. This figure has risen significantly from the previous year, where it was estimated that 12% of primary school pupils lacked adequate clothing.

Sonja Adams, founder of TigerTags, shares her practical advice for parents to help reduce the cost of school uniforms.

Second-hand uniform shops

Many schools have second-hand shops where uniforms can be bought at a fraction of the cost. These shops offer used uniforms that are often in excellent condition and by purchasing from these shops, parents can save significantly compared to buying new items. This not only helps reduce expenses but also promotes sustainability by recycling clothing.

Set up a swap

“Parents can organise uniform swaps through Facebook groups or the school PTA to exchange uniforms that their children have outgrown. It’s a cost-effective way to refresh a child’s wardrobe without spending money. 

Government grants

It’s a good idea to check your eligibility for government grants that help cover uniform costs as they can provide substantial financial relief. Many local authorities offer grants to support low-income families with school uniform expenses, contact your local council or school to find out more about available grants and how to apply.

Buy a size bigger

I always used to buy my son’s uniform a size bigger, to help it last longer. There are loads of options now for clothing with adjustable waistbands and skirts with elastic that can also accommodate growth spurts, helping you avoid repurchasing the next size too soon.

Maintenance tips

Using labels on all your children’s clothing and even items like bags and shoes can mean the difference in more months’ wear or them becoming lost property forever. I’d also recommend learning basic sewing skills for minor repairs, such as fixing hems and replacing buttons, which can extend the life of uniforms. And lastly, encouraging children to change out of their uniforms immediately after school can reduce wear and tear, allowing items to be reworn more often before needing to be replaced.

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