Back-to-school Costs 2011

July 2011

The National Consumer Agency conducted research into parents’ attitudes and behaviours towards back to school costs.

The research, conducted by Amárach Research on behalf of the NCA, took the form of an online survey of 413 parents. Interviews with parents of primary and secondary school children were conducted from 22 to 29 June 2011. The key findings are outlined below:

  • 4 in 5 (80%) parents indicated they had financial concerns in relation to “back to school” costs and 3 in 4 (74%) parents said they are more concerned about “back to school” costs this year than they were last year. The main reason for this increase in concern is “having less money/income has decreased”, as cited by nearly 1 in 2 (48%) parents.
  • 74% of parents budget for “back to school” costs, which means a significant minority, 26%, do not.
  • 6 in 10 (61%) parents compare prices across stores when purchasing back to schools items with a similar proportion purchasing items on sale or on special offer. 1 in 2 parents prepare a list with estimated costs when buying back to school items.
  • Almost a half of all parents (49%) have previously had to make an unforeseen payment in relation to “back to school” costs. For almost 3 in 5 this unforeseen cost/unexpected cost was in relation to school trips/outings, with once-off payments for school materials and school donations also cited by over 1 in 2 parents.
  • Circa 8 in 10 (78%) parents of primary school going children who wear a uniform must purchase from a designated shop, increasing to almost 9 in 10 (87%) for those attending secondary school. 90% of all parents believe that they should be allowed to purchase the crest and uniform separately.


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