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Parents spend £2.9 billion preparing kids for the new school year

24th August 2015 Print

Parents will collectively spend an eye-watering £2.9 billion preparing their kids for the new school year, according to research by Santander Credit Cards.

With most schools across the country re-opening next week, the total cost of kitting out the nation’s school children with clothes, books, stationery and other necessities in preparation for the new term is equivalent to £236 per child.

To add to the financial strain, the cost of keeping under 18s across the UK in school once term begins totals £628 million per week. This works out at approximately £52 per school child and includes everyday costs such as packed lunches, bus fares, school trips and after-school activities.

Parents with children at foundation or trust schools spend the most, an average of £375 in the run up to the school term plus an additional £93 per week. This is marginally more than the £371 upfront cost and £93 weekly cost shelled out by parents of children attending private school, without factoring in the private school fees. Parents of children at grammar schools spend £329 getting ready for term time and £76 on a weekly basis. Corresponding costs for community schools are £226 plus £49 per week and for academies, £262 plus £56 per week.

On a per child basis, school uniform (£40), school shoes (£31) and jackets and coats (£24) are the biggest outlays for parents in advance of school term time. And once the school term begins, the biggest regular outgoing (per child per week) is school trips (£10) followed by extra-curricular activities (£9), and packed lunches (£8).

Matt Hall, Director of Banking & Unsecured Credit at Santander commented: “Kitting out kids for the new school year can be an expensive business, as most parents know. There are ways parents can cut back on costs and make the ‘back to school’ shopping trip a little easier, for example by buying school uniforms, in the sales or using a cashback credit card. The Santander 1|2|3 Credit Card pays cashback in supermarkets and department stores rewarding parents with money back on their pre-school term purchases.”

Santander's 1|2|3 Cashback Credit Card pays 1% cashback at supermarkets, 2% cashback at department stores and 3% cashback at petrol stations, on National Rail and Transport for London travel, including Santander Cycles. It comes with a £24 annual fee and is available from Santander branches, online and by telephone. For further information, visit