Parents spending £240 per child on back to school preparations

27th August 2014


The total cost of kitting out the nation’s school kids with clothes, books, stationery and other necessities in preparation for the new school term is a staggering £2.5 billion, equivalent to £240 per child according to Santander.

The cost of keeping under 18s across the UK in school once term begins totals £526 million per week. This works out at roughly £50 per school child per week and includes everyday costs such as packed lunches, bus fares, school trips and after-school activities.

Costs have increased since last year, when the average parent spent £224 in preparation for the new school year – a rise of seven per cent on 2013. Weekly costs are also up 14 per cent since last year, when keeping a child in school cost around £44 per week.

Excluding private education, parents with children at grammar schools spend the most, at an average of £265 in the run up to school term plus an additional £64 per week.

This is followed by parents of children attending foundation or trust schools who spend £261 getting ready for term time and £56 on a weekly basis. Corresponding costs for community schools are £250 plus £51 per week and for academies, £232 plus £41 per week.

More than half (54 per cent) of parents with children of a school age drive them to or from school at least once a week, with the average number of journeys being three per week. The average parent that drives spends an estimated £220 on fuel each year and clocks up an additional 1,285 miles.

Collectively, this amounts to a national £1.5 billion fuel bill and a distance travelled of around 8.8 billion miles per year. On a per child basis, school uniform (£39), school shoes (£29) and jackets and coats (£28) are the biggest outlays for parents in advance of school term time.

Once the school term begins, the biggest regular outgoing (per child per week) is school trips (£10) followed by packed lunches, extra-curricular activities, and school meals all at £8.

Ruben Justel, Head of Santander Cards, says: “The end of the summer holidays means the annual ‘back-to-school’ shopping trip for many parents.  Unfortunately kitting out children for the new school term is an expensive but unavoidable task.”

 TABLE ONE: Amount spent per school child on items in preparation for the school term

Items purchased by parents in preparation for the new school term September 2014 September2013
School uniform (clothes) £39 £41
School shoes £29 £29
Jackets and coats £28 £25
Trainers and plimsolls £23 £22
Gym clothes £19 £20
Technology (e.g. e-book) £20 £17
Backpacks and school bags £19 £16
Sports equipment £18 £17
Books £14 £14
Lunch boxes £15 £10
Stationery £16 £13
Average amount spent per child £240 £224

Source: Santander 2014

TABLE TWO: Amount spent per week per school child on items during term time

Items purchased each week by parents of school children 2014 2013
School trips £10 £9
Packed lunches £8 £8
Extra-curricular activities £8 £7
School meals £8 £7
Bus or other transport fare £6 £5
Special tuition £5 £3
Other £5 £5
Average amount spent per child per week £50 £44


Source: Santander 2014

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