Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to School rip off must end now – Kelly

Speaking at the launch of County Wexford Sinn Féin’s Back to School proposals and survey results in Enniscorthy last Tuesday night, Cllr Anthony Kelly said that the government had a moral duty to end the back to school rip off. The Wexford Councillor said that the results of a survey commissioned by Sinn Féin showed that Wexford parents were struggling to deal with the escalating costs of sending children to school and that simple common sense policies could relieve much of the stress they are under at this time of year.

Cllr Kelly said;

“In order to gauge an accurate view of the expenses incurred in sending children to school in County Wexford today, County Wexford Sinn Féin commissioned a survey which was completed by close to eight hundred parents at random locations across the county during the month of July. The results were quite startling and illustrated clearly the pressure Wexford parents are under at this time of year.”

“89% of parents surveyed said that they found the back to school period to be excessively expensive. School books, school uniform, footwear and school transport were the most significant expense incurred by parents, half of whom are paying over €350 covering back to school expenses.”

“Wexford parents were highly critical of being forced to buy school uniforms from selected producers and retailers who can charge exorbitantly high prices for items of clothing all because they come with a school crest. An average school jumper costs around €60 when its true value is less than a third of this price.”

“96% of Wexford parents surveyed believed that school crests that could be affixed to a supermarket-bought school jumper should be made available to cut the high costs of school uniforms. Sinn Féin has consistently called on the Education Minister Ruairi Quinn to introduce measures to eliminate this school uniform racket.”

“The survey also highlights the inability of parents to pass on school books between siblings due to the constant reprint of text books and updates to the school curriculum. 52% of parents surveyed said that the introduction of a book rental scheme in all schools would cut education costs. Sinn Féin has long suggested that such a scheme should be centralised and would see books provided free of cost to schools for children’s use.”

“The full survey results, report and our recommendations can be found on our blog, Sinn Féin believes that with a little imagination the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government could introduce measures that would vastly improve the situation for parents who are struggling to meet the back to school bills.”

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