“Basic school uniforms and book lending helped me save on back-to-school costs,” says my mother

It wasn’t long ago that Suzanne Keane and her husband Paul were in the dark about the cost of getting a child ready for school.

since their eldest starts elementary school, they quickly realize that it is not cheap, but that there are ways to make it more affordable.

“Eoghan is five and starts school in September,” said Suzanne.

“We are fortunate at our school here in Killarney that the basic uniform is generic and can be bought anywhere. It consists of a navy blue sweater, navy blue trousers and a blue shirt for the boys. The only thing you have to buy is a school tie which costs €5.”

Suzanne, who has a younger daughter, Meabh, and a new baby who is “due shortly”, said having a generic uniform not only helped with the cost but made life a lot easier.

“Having a generic option is a lot cheaper and a lot easier because you can just go to a department store and pick up what you need,” she said.

In total, she spent €30 on a shirt, sweater, trousers and tie for Eoghan, after a 20-piece Marks & Spencer discount offer.

Eoghan’s school also runs a book scheme which means his reading books can be borrowed for €5 a year instead of €25.

Suzanne had to spend another €100 on workbooks, stationery and other items.

“So far things haven’t been too costly for us, but it’s been more than I expected given the price of the work books I hadn’t factored in,” she said.

“It would be more advantageous if photocopied sheets were used instead – or even if only the pages of the workbook to be written on could be photocopied.

“That would be another saving for the parents.

“There’s nothing you can do about the cost of school shoes, which is around €55, but the generic uniforms with the sale discount were a big help – and thanks to that, our costs weren’t too bad.

“But I know it can be difficult for some people and as far as I know our school has used uniforms and other supplies for those who need them.”

The Barnardos Back to School Survey 2022 found that the average cost of a primary school uniform is €117, while books cost €110.

Colm Byrne is Principal at Holy Family School in Rathcoole, County Dublin, where costs are kept low where possible.

“We have a single supplier for hood tops, but we also have the ability to shop on the high street and the parents’ association sells the individual crests,” he said.

While the school does not loan books, it does make books available for families who cannot afford them.

“We recognize the cost to parents,” Mr Byrne said. “The value of an item, trip or activity is fully considered before any request is made to parents.

“As a school, we also know that we will have to face higher electricity bills and running costs this year.

“Schools are under the same financial and economic pressures as society in general.”

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/basic-uniform-and-book-rental-scheme-helped-me-save-on-starting-school-costs-says-mum-41935474.html “Basic school uniforms and book lending helped me save on back-to-school costs,” says my mother

Fry Electronics Team

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