Over half of parents fear rising costs of state education

Over half of parents are worried about the mounting cost of sending their children to state school, fretting over the cost of uniforms, school dinners and even toilet paper. 

A new survey has found mothers and fathers are increasingly concerned about how much they are having to fork out for the maintenance of their children’s schools – contributing to the decoration of classrooms and essential equipment. 

The poll by PTA UK quizzed 1,500 parents, 55 per cent of which said they were not happy with the increasing costs of state education. 

Last year the charity asked similar questions and only 47 per cent of parents were worried.  

Almost eight in 10 (78 per cent) of those surveyed this year agreed the cost of sending youngsters to state school is increasing, compared to 72 per cent last year.

A new survey has found over half of parents are worried about the mounting costs of a state education, with several claiming they have been asked to pay for equipment and help out around school 

Half of those polled this year said they are concerned about the price of school trips, making it the top cost parents are anxious about, followed by uniform (48 per cent), school meals (23 per cent), technology (22 per cent), and the cost of materials for classes like music, art and PE (20 per cent).

The survey also found more parents are donating to their children’s school funds this year than last (34 per cent v 29 per cent).  

About one in four (26 per cent) said they give between £10 and £30 a month, while 50% said they give less than £10 a month.

Michelle Doyle Wildman, PTA UK acting chief executive, said: ‘Parents have always contributed to schools, whether that’s through voluntary contributions or by volunteering their time or skills, and this looks likely to continue.

‘Their support helps give every child the best possible educational experience and so it’s important parents have a say in what goes on in their child’s school.

‘Parents are reporting that they are contributing more to provide the essentials which many expect to be provided by the state.

‘If this is a growing trend, then it’s crucial that schools work in partnership with parents to address their specific concerns, taking their views into account when prioritising difficult funding decisions and exploring realistic alternatives with them, not in isolation.’

The survey findings come amid major concern from head teachers over the pressure on school budgets.

Education Secretary Justine Greening has announced an extra £1.3 billion will be devoted solely to schools, but the National Union of Teachers has said that will not fit the bill.

The survey also asked parents whether their children’s schools have tried to cut costs in any way.

Parents also fear they are getting less for their taxes, with classroom sizes increasing and subjects being dropped 

Parents also fear they are getting less for their taxes, with classroom sizes increasing and subjects being dropped 

Some 15 per cent said class sizes have increased, while the same proportion said the number of teaching assistants has been cut.

Several mothers and fathers have also been asked to contribute towards the cost of stationary and text books. 

Around 13 per cent of those polled said their child’s school had implemented a scheme where parents pay a regular monthly or annual contribution to the school fund.

And the same percentage had been recruited to redecorate classrooms or mow the school lawn.  

Just over one in 10 said subjects had been dropped and the same percentage claimed the number of supply teachers had been slashed. 

A total of eight per cent said the length of the school day had been reduced and around five per cent claimed their school had reduced the school week to four days. 

A Department for Education rubbished parents’ concerns, saying: ‘No parent is required to make a contribution to their child’s education.

‘The rules are clear on this and no policies have been introduced by this government to allow schools to charge for education provided during school hours, and this includes the supply of any materials or equipment.’ 

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