Irish Minister of Education Joe McHugh has received numerous urgent requests to provide a cheaper alternative for parents who have to buy new school uniforms.
According to parents, one of the greatest struggles they face in terms of family finances is during the first weeks of school. The situation is even worse for families who are enrolled in universal credit programs.
What Minister McHugh was asked was to grant close to two hundred and thirty million euro (EUR229m), so that parents can be relieved from one of the infamous “voluntary contributions” currently requested by schools.
What do parents have to pay for uniforms?
At the moment, the average cost of one secondary school uniform can reach nearly two hundred euros (EUR200), without additional expenses for shoes, while a primary school mandatory outfit can come to around a hundred euro (EUR110). Considering the rate at which children grow up during their teenage years, this can mean that some families may face the necessity to buy uniforms more than once a year. Because of this, school uniforms become the most significant expense for parents when it comes to schooling their children.
The reason for the high cost of uniforms is that more often than not, schools in Ireland request from parents to purchase clothing which is branded with the school’s crest or moto. This means that parents do not have the opportunity to choose the supplier from whom they are purchasing, and have to stick with what the school offers.
The Ministry of Education has heard numerous request for generic uniforms and even casual wear, ever since 2017. Unfortunately, nothing has changed so far, and parents are starting to raise their voice, as school costs are harming the overall financial stability of families.