Barnardos School Costs Survey 2018: 2,200 Parents Say Enough is Enough

Children have a right to genuinely free education, and Ireland can easily afford it

Barnardos’ Annual School Costs Survey has found parents continue to subsidise an underfunded education system which claims to offer free education, with an increasing number of parents forced into debt in order to provide the basics for their children’s education. Barnardos is calling on all politicians to finally tackle the burden of school costs and make the provision of free education a political priority.

Fergus Finlay, Barnardos CEO, said: “This year over 2,200 parents took the Barnardos’ School Costs Survey. We’ve heard from parents across the country that they are tired of having to pay for so called ‘free education’. They are fed-up being forced to amass debt or fall behind on essential bills year after year in order to cover the most basic costs of their children’s education.

This year’s survey found:

“Schooling is very expensive in Ireland and with school fees, book costs and uniforms I worry for the future - free education is not the case. I am already worrying about how I will pay everything this year for my four children.” - Parent, Barnardos School Costs Survey 2018

June Tinsley, Barnardos Head of Advocacy added, “All parents, regardless of income, find the back to school period places a strain on their finances and causes significant stress. This experience is magnified for families who are already struggling financially or have additional family challenges. By refusing to commit the relatively small amount of money required to fully fund the education system, the Government are placing families under significant stress and are running the risk of leaving the most vulnerable children without the basics they need to learn. Investing in education not only benefits children, but offers huge rewards for the future of our society. It is time for the Government to fulfil their constitutional responsibility to provide truly free education.  We’re calling on all politicians to make free education a political priority and end this fallacy once and for all.”