Rising school costs lead to parents doing it tough

AS PARENTS prepare to confront the “back to school” sales, concerns have been raised about the increasing cost of sending children to public school.

It has been estimated by The Smith Family that it costs more than $2000 each year to send children to primary school.

Expenses for school children include uniforms, school books and laptops.

The Smith Family’s Victorian General Manager Anton Leschen said the increasing costs were particularly tough for those who were struggling.

“The truth is that the cost of attending school is getting beyond many disadvantaged families,” he said.

Mr Leschen said the average parent spends more than $700 on uniforms, shoes and stationery, with expenses increasing after that.

“Certain subjects – because of the materials involved – attract extra charges,” he said.

“Add on things like excursions and textbooks and the costs mount up.”

Mr Leschen called for research to be conducted to help governments, departments and community organisations deliver more targeted support to struggling families.

Anglicare Ballarat emergency relief centre coordinator Pauline Prebble said the last two weeks had seen a rush of residents needing assistance before school begins. 

“For whatever reason this year, people are doing it tough and we have had more people saying so, even if we can help them out with the basics,” she said. 

“Especially with the school shoes are what is killing people.” 

Ms Prebble said changes in school uniforms also caused problems, with some schools being strict with the uniform policy to stamp out bullying. 

“Our job is to facilitate the best way we can, so if providing a lunch box or drink bottles or stationary or whatever means they can buy a text book, then they will have the money free,” she said. 

tom.cowie@fairfaxmedia.com.au

matthew.dixon@fairfaxmedia.com.au

SNAPSHOT: PUBLIC SCHOOL COSTS

Girls 

Examples:

Summer uniform x 3 $51.99 ea

Shoes x 2 $30.00 ea

Hat x 2 $16.99 ea

Winter Dress x 3 $54.99 ea 

Laptop $297.00

TOTAL: $2,393.76 

Boys 

Examples:

Trousers x 3 $29.99 ea 

Shorts x 3 $19.99 ea

Trackies $24.99 

Sunscreen 75ml $10.50 

School Bag $49.99

TOTAL: $2,231.59

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