Friday, August 17, 2012

New survey highlights actual costs of sending children to school in Enniscorthy

Cllr Johnny Mythen has welcomed the launch of County Wexford Sinn Féin’s school cost survey in Enniscorthy last Tuesday night. Cllr Mythen said that the survey which highlights the increasing financial burden being placed on parents across County Wexford when sending their children to school shows the need for the government to intervene with ‘common sense’ policies to reduce high back to school costs.

“The costs of sending children to primary and secondary school and to third level have increased drastically for parents across County Wexford over recent years,” Cllr Mythen said. “According to the OECD Education at a Glance report, education spending in Ireland was the fourth lowest among 31 OECD states during the height of the Celtic Tiger boom. When the state had money, our government failed to invest in our children’s education and now it is both parents and children who are paying the price for that mistake.”

“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 show that 89% of parents in this county find the back to school period to be excessively expensive.”

“Parents in the Enniscorthy district are faced with an increasing financial burden when sending their children to school which could by greatly reduced through the introduction of common sense policies. 52% of parents surveyed said that the introduction of a book rental scheme in all schools would cut education costs. Sinn Féin has called for a centralised book rental scheme which would see books provided free of cost to schools for children’s use.”

“Enniscorthy 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 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. This is something that we have campaigned for over the past few years.”

“61% of parents surveyed are in receipt of the back to school allowance. Sinn Féin believes that eligibility for the Back to School Allowance should be extended to include all families in receipt of Family Income Supplement in addition to those in receipt of social welfare. We are also against government attempts to tamper with the children’s allowance. 93% of those parents surveyed felt that any cuts to, or the introduction of means testing to the children’s allowance would impact seriously upon their families.”

“This survey shows the present cuts to the education system has put the extra costs directly on parents and guardians whom are literally scraping by on a day to day basis. Further cuts will result in catapulting future generations into illiteracy and poverty.”

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