Save, make, understand money

Household Bills

Parents shell out thousands on lunches, uniforms and school trips

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Parents can expect to shell out £41,000 on a child while they’re in education on uniforms, lunches and expensive school trips, a charity has found.

According to The Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation (RMNEF), parents spend an average of £1,677 a year on each of their children in full-time education. This rises to £7,575 for parents with children at university.

That means parents of a child starting school this year can expect to spend upwards of £41,000.

Research released today shows parents with school-aged children spend £229 a year on uniform, £277 on lunches and food, £192 on school trips and £208 on sports and musical equipment.

Children missing out

With costs rising, it found almost half of all children have missed out on an educational experience and one in seven parents has cut food spending to fund their child’s education.

Many schools now offer expensive excursions to exotic and far places and in one case it saw, the cost of a trip for one child was £3,000.

Parents are making sacrifices to cover these costs – 33% of those surveyed have foregone holidays and 25% have passed up evenings out. Worryingly 14% have cut food spending while 13% admit to reducing their heating and water use.

While most believe school trips are important, 39% say they should be subsidised and 22% think they should be entirely free.

Charles Heron-Watson, CEO of the RMNEF, believes this issue will most probably get worse before it gets better: “We’ve come through some pretty rough economic waters recently and there have been numerous cuts to welfare budgets that we now see first-hand are hitting families where it hurts the most – their children.

“School trips are important but expecting parents to foot the bill for trips to long-haul destinations clearly divides opportunity between ‘the haves’ and ‘the have-nots’.”

He adds that RMNEF offers a range of financial support to help further the education of youths and there is a range of other resources out there from charities, to bursaries, to allowances that can also help.