"Free" state education far from it I Oxford Open Learning

“Free” state education far from it

Although they are in principal “free”, a new study has found that the cost of sending a child to state school could cost as much as £22,000 during their time in education.

When the costs of breakfast clubs, after-school care, lunches, uniform and other necessities are combined, insurers Aviva calculated that an average of £1,614 a year is now spent on children aged between four and 18. This amounts to an overall rise of 11 per cent in the past five years.

Additionally, more than half of the parents polled said they regularly spend above and beyond this basic amount on extra-curricular activities. The study found that optional extras such as trips, music lessons and sporting activities can add an extra £1,268 a year to their outlay.

Unsurprisingly, out-of-school care was the biggest outlay for parents, clocking in at £558 a child per year. Transport was next with an average outlay of £366 a year – a rise of just £3 in the past five years. This is down to the fact that the amount of parents driving their children to school has fallen from 33 per cent to 27 per cent.

Other pull-outs from the study included the average cost of feeding a child at school coming in at £379, while in general parents spend £108 and £78 a year on uniform and school shoes respectively.

Aviva’s Louise Colley commented: “The majority of children in the UK are taught through the state system, but it’s clear that this is far from ‘free’ for parents.

“With even the basics adding up to more than £1,600 per child per year, this is a significant challenge, particularly for parents on lower incomes.”

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