Church schools top the league as study reveals cost of kitting out a child for the school year

Total cost of preparing children for the new school year adds up to £2.9bn

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The Independent Online

Parents will spend £236 on average to send a child to school this coming term, according to a new report.

A study of 2,000 adults commissioned by the bank Santander, reveals the total cost of preparing a child for the new school year adds up to £2.9bn. The amount covers school uniform, shoes, jackets, gym clothes, books and e-books, stationery and school bags and is worked out between state and privately funded schools.

However, once the child is all kitted out, parents still have to fork out an average £52 a week for extra activities. This figure is up slightly from last year, when it stood at £50.

The beginning of term cost is higher in church foundation or trust schools – £375 compared to £371 in private schools.

The cheapest schools are community schools that have remained in the care of the local authority, where kitting out for school costs £226 and weekly costs average £49 a week. By contrast, parents who send their children to academies face a £262 bill for start-up costs and £56 per week thereafter.

Selective state grammar schools are more expensive, with an average £329 spent on getting a child ready for schools and £76 paid out on a weekly basis.

Not every parent has to pay for every item, although the number of local authorities offering grants for items like clothing has dwindled with the Government’s spending squeeze. Some schools have hardship funds and exempt parents in disadvantaged homes from having to pay for things like school outings.

Margaret Morrissey, of the parents’ pressure group Parents Outloud, said one of the problems was that many schools no longer had functioning Parent-Teacher Associations [PTAs] because  in many cases, both parents worked and could not devote enough time to raising funds for the school.

“The money they raised could be used to fund extra-curricular activities and help those hard up with the cost of school uniform,” she said. “But parents aren’t able to give that help any more.”

She added that many schools now decided not to insist that parents purchased school uniforms.