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School Costs Survey 2012



Subject Keywords: Costs of sending children to school
Topic: Health Inequalities
Health Inequalities
Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland

“We cut back on food and let other bills go unpaid to ensure children have what they need for school… We’re living on the edge all the time. So much for free education.”

987 parents responding to Barnardos’ School Costs Survey 2012 have expressed frustration and anger at the continued high costs of sending children to school, as evidenced by this quote from one parent who completed the survey.

Despite findings that in some cases costs have remained stable or reduced slightly since 2011, parents continue to struggle to meet schools’ demands with increasingly stretched household incomes. Now in its 7th year, Barnardos’ survey found that on average parents are paying €355 for a child in senior infants, €390 for children in 4th class in primary school and €770 for children going into first year in secondary school. School books and uniforms continue to pose the highest cost to parents, although voluntary contributions and school transport costs also weigh heavily on parents’ budgets.

Key findings from the Survey include:

  1. For primary school children: 23% of parents are paying between €76-100 and 18% are paying €101-125 for uniforms.
  2. For secondary school children: 17% of parents are paying €150-€174, 17% are spending €175-€200 and 15% are exceeding €250 for uniforms.
  3. For primary school children: 27% of parents are paying between €76- €100 for books.
  4. For secondary school children: 37% of parents are spending over €250 for books.



Rights: © Barnardos
Suggested citation:

Barnardos. (2012) School Costs Survey 2012 [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 26th June 2019].


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