The cost of sending children back to school is crippling young families

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Back to school - the additional costs

The cost of sending children back to school is crippling young families


Sending your child back to school in September can be a very costly business: a new school uniform (because your child has grown like a weed over the summer months), new shoes, new stationery, a new backpack - the list goes on. With fewer and fewer people in the UK able to afford the basic essentials, our charity partners are often left to fill the gap and provide not only these new school supplies but washing detergent to help parents keep uniforms clean and soap/toothpaste/hair accessories to keep their children clean. In fact, our impact report in July found that 70% of our charities use In Kind Direct goods to provide essential support to people struggling to afford basic supplies. But recent years have only added further to the financial burden.

A recent report from The Guardian reveals that financial “back to school” pressure on parents now goes beyond the provision of the simple necessities and now covers electrical goods, including iPads. Tablets have become an integral part of the education system in the UK, with children learning literacy, numerical and IT skills using apps on their interface. But some schools haven’t the funding to provide students with the equipment. The Guardian article quoted The National Association of Head Teachers saying inadequate government funding is forcing schools to call for parents to pay for their children’s equipment. School contribution schemes are available but an insured iPad with a case and a three-year warranty can cost between £414 and £468 in 36 monthly instalments, depending on the model. Although hardship funds are available and children who receive free school meals get at least a 46% discount, while siblings get at least a 33% discount, if you’re already struggling to afford uniforms and hygiene products then this additional cost makes schooling your children very financially difficult. An investigation by Education Guardian found at least 15 state schools were asking some parents to purchase an iPad for their child. Charities estimate hundreds of schools are doing the same.

Our role is to help where we can. Children from disadvantaged families already suffer from complicated educational paths and can be stigmatised at school but new and quality school supplies could really help the child integrate and succeed at school. Having access to these products helps our charity network allow children from underprivileged backgrounds to approach the beginning of the new school year with confidence and in the best possible conditions.

In Kind Direct’s school, nursery and community centre partners rely on us heavily this time of year to help provide children and families in difficult financial situations with the products they need.

If your company has any new and unused stationery, electrical or hygiene items to donate, then please do get in contact. In Kind Direct will then do our best to ensure the products are distributed to the centres and the people who need them most.