The cost of an education – at State School

Parents spend £1,247 every year on ‘extra’ school costs

New research out today reveals that more than one in ten Brits (eleven per cent) are shelling out over £200 a year on after school clubs for their kids because of the sheer rise in parental workloads.  Almost a quarter of families (24 per cent) said they regularly have to rely on before and after school programmes to work the hours they need to cover the costs of bringing up a family.

The study by Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance found that parents spend an average of £1,247 per year on their children’s education before school fees(1). The biggest single expense was school meals (£242), closely followed by back to school costs (£143) and class trips (£137).

Adding to the pressure felt by parents, the extra school costs only increase with age, with families spending £1,137 per year on children in primary school, and an average £1,319 a year for secondary school students.  Half of parents (50 per cent) admitted that the expense of schooling their children had proved far higher than they imagined.

According to the findings, parents shell out £66 on music lessons and an average of £68 on after school sports lessons for their kids every year.  Over two-fifth of parents (43 per cent) admitted that paying for extra school costs such as the above is a real struggle.

Parents fork out an average of £149 on the latest technologies and gadgets for their little treasures, with seven per cent even spending more than £500.  43 per cent of Brits admitted they feel under pressure to buy their children the latest gadgets while over a third (34 per cent) have bought their child a new smartphone in the last six months and a fifth (20 per cent) have even purchased their child a tablet computer.

The study also highlighted the rising cost of school trips with more than one in ten parents (12 per cent) forking out over £250 per year on excursions.  According to the findings children go on an average of four school trips a year and nearly a third (31 per cent) of children under the age of 16 have been abroad with their school.  More than half of parents (55 per cent) said their children have been on more school trips than they did.

It’s not just term time costs that add up.  The study found that parents spend an average of £445 keeping their children entertained over the long summer holiday.  38 per cent admitted that they struggle to afford to take time off work to spend the holidays with their children, while a further 31 per cent said that the cost of childcare and activity clubs over the summer was a real financial worry.

The Top Five Extra School Costs:

1) School Meals = £242 per year
2) Technologies and gadgets = £149 per year
3) Back to school = £143 per year
4) Travel = £140 per year
5) Class Trips = £137 per year

Jacky Brown, at Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance, said: “In these tough economic times it is no wonder that the costs associated with sending children to school are putting added pressure on family finances.

“Understandably every parent wants the very best for their children but as that often comes with a hefty price tag, it’s really important people check they have adequate insurance cover for these high cost items inside and outside of the home in case of theft, loss or damage during the school day.” 

Regional Stats:

  • Those in the South East splash the cash most when it comes to their children spending an average of £1,324 on schooling per year before fees.
  • In comparison, parents in Wales spend the least on their children forking out just £825 per year on everything from school clubs and extra curricular activities.