Secondary school years cost £12,300

A child’s secondary school years set their parents back £12,300, according to a new study.

A child’s secondary school years set their parents back £12,300, according to a new study.
The figure covers school uniform, PE kit and shoes, as well as lunches, stationery, day trips, afterschool clubs and petrol for the school run over the six-year period.

The poll by of 2,000 mums and dads with children aged 11-16 reveals that three quarters of parents admit they struggle to pay for everything and one in six are left feeling guilty if their child goes

Bus fares and petrol for the school run take up the largest chunk of money – totalling £676 each year, or £4,056 during a child’s secondary school life. The survey also found that parents are forking out:

– £2,500 on packed lunches and school dinners
– £1,224 on music lessons
– £774 for an average of three school trips per year, plus £864 on petrol to ferry the kids on the trips
– £312 on school shoes, with the average child getting through two pairs each year
– £928 on school uniform, £300 on afterschool clubs and even stationery nears the £100 mark

The study found three quarters of parents try to provide everything they can for their child for school, but a quarter admit their kids do miss out on some things as they struggle to find the funds. More than four in ten are
‘left shocked’ at the sheer cost of dressing their child for school and one in five have felt under pressure from other parents to compete with getting the best or latest stuff for their children. The same number has
ended up taking out a loan or placing everything on credit cards to ensure their children have everything in time for the start of the school year, while a third have called on grandparents or other family members to help
them out financially.

Paula Felstead of said, “The cost of putting kids through secondary school is clearly shocking, yet this isn’t down to extravagant spending on their parents’ front. UK mums and dads are actually very switched on when it comes to saving money on school expenses, with almost 40% making packed lunches each night to avoid school dinner costs, and a third relying hand-me-downs or buying second-hand uniform.

“A quarter of these savvy parents also demonstrate their thriftiness by adopting a ‘make do and mend’ attitude to broken or damaged equipment – a trend which keeps growing as Britain continues to feel the pinch of
the recession.

“School is just one of the many things parents have to dig deep for and retailers are increasingly aware of tightening purse strings, as can be seen by the recent High Street and supermarket price wars over school uniform. But, as our survey shows, uniform is just one small part of what a parent ends up forking out for over the course of their child’s high school career, so it’s great that we’re seeing an increase in discounts from
other retailers offering great deals to help parents make their money go further.

“Throughout the summer holidays, we’ve seen an upsurge in searches relating to back-to-school shopping as parents seek out the very best deals to take the strain off their wallets. And with tuition fees rocketing from
next September, we expect to see this trend continue for university students next year as they try to make their money go even further.”

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