Phelan calls on schools to consider plain uniforms

The cost of sending children back to school are once again in the spotlight as September looms.

The cost of sending children back to school are once again in the spotlight as September looms.

A recent Barnardos ‘Back to School Costs Survey’ illustrates the rising costs in this sector, and Labour TD for Carlow Kilkenny Ann Phelan this week expressed her concern over the situation. Deputy Phelan, who herself is a parent of three children, has suggested that local schools should consider embracing a ‘plain uniform’ model.

“The findings reported by Barnardos, which show costs running to almost €800 for first year secondary school students now far exceeds what many struggling families can pay,” she said.

“The costs of books and uniforms form the largest chunk of expenditure, costing about €350 for a senior infant to €785 for someone in first year of secondary school. Clearly, the price of uniforms must be looked at and I would urge school management councils to investigate allowing pupils wear plain uniforms without expensive school crests. Given that the cost of a crested school jumper can cost in the region of €45 in comparison to a plain one costing about €12, I believe parents must be able to shop around to get the best value.”

The Labour TD also commended the concept of book rental schemes, and called on more schools in Kilkenny to get involved in such schemes.