Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill wants the Government to tackle back to school costs
Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill has called on the Government to tackle the soaring costs faced by parents sending children to primary and secondary schools.
Deputy Cahill said the Government must listen to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Skills, which had outlined a number of measures to reduce the financial burden associated with sending children to school.
“Recently, the Oireachtas Education Committee published a report on school costs. It called for funding for the school book rental scheme to be increased; non-badged generic uniforms to be introduced and for the Department of Education and Skills to carry out an independent assessment of the adequacy of the capitation rates and incrementally increase funding to schools," he said.
Deputy Cahill said that the recent Barnardos School Costs Survey had shown that the cost of sending children to school remained stubbornly high. Worryingly, the average cost for a first-year pupil was €735, which really brought a different meaning to "free education".
“It shouldn’t be the case that parents are having to get themselves into debt, or worse, turn to loan sharks, to prepare themselves for an influx of school related bills as September approaches," said the Thurles-based TD.
He said that new uniform costs, book expenses, transport charges and voluntary charges which were not really voluntary whatsoever all added up and these did not even take into account additional costs associated with extra-curricular activities such as school trips.
"It’s a worrying time for some parents when, instead, they should be enjoying the next chapter of their child’s life”, Deputy Cahill said.