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Back to School- £200 total for start of school year

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Parents will spend more than £5,000 kitting their children out with the basics for school life, a study has revealed. A school uniform, sports kit and stationery supplies means parents are now spending £209.72 per child at the start of each school year.

With an average of two children in each British family, that means parents are parting with £419.44 each year, or £5,033 over the 12 years children are in school.

The study also revealed the effect of the recession, with three quarters of parents worried about being able to afford the basics for the new school year.

Amee Chande, MD, UK Retail and Direct at Staples, which commissioned the results, said:

”The list of things a child needs for the new school year can feel endless.

”Uniform, shoes, a new coat, sports kit, stationery and even a new school bag all add up, especially if you have more than one school-age child you need to kit out.

”As your children get older, there can also be added pressure to spend more money than usual on a certain brand or special stationery equipment, and it can be difficult to say no.

”But with the recession hitting families hard, many parents have no choice but to save money wherever they can, meaning the back to school shop has had to change.”

The study of 2,000 parents of school-age children found that cost of new school uniform accounts for almost a quarter of the cash spent each year – £45 for each child every September.

School shoes account for another £32 while a new winter coat sees another £30 added to the total.

PE kits cost almost £25, computer equipment and gadgets cost £21, while even new bags and lunchboxes add almost £20 to the total.

Finally, books see parents part with £19.02 for each child while new pencil cases and stationary supplies cost another £17.92.

The survey also revealed:

  • The average parent now saves for two months or more before the start of term to make sure the costs can be met (one in ten will even budget for more than six months);
  • One in five parents even send their child to school in uniform too small as they couldn’t afford to buy a new one;
  • More than a quarter of parent sfeel pressure from other mums to kit their children out with the right brand or type of clothes, bags and stationery.

The demands don’t end there- 15% of parents polled revealed their children have been teased for not having the same bags or stationery as the other kids.

The study also found that it isn’t just the cost of the new school year that is concerning parents, with 57% admitting they find returning to the school routine and early mornings a shock.

Other top gripes for parents include having to label school supplies and buying shoes, while almost a quarter revealed they dread the return to school as they miss their children.

Amee Chande, MD, UK Retail and Direct at Staples added:

“To help ease the burden of the new school year there are a few simple steps that can be taken.

”Parents shouldn’t feel they have to replace everything with something new, just because it’s a new school year – it’s likely that last year’s fountain pen will work just as well again this year.

”Parents could even think about setting their child a budget so they take extra care over choosing their purchases, and look after their new kit.”

Breakdown of CostsCost per child, per year
School Uniform£45.01
School shoes£32.01
New Coat£29.77
PE/Sports kit£24.92
Computer Equipment£21.28
Bags/Lunchboxes£19.79
Books£19.02
Stationary Supplies£17.92
Total£209.72

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