Bite-Sized Insights: Costs Outweigh Covid in Parents’ Back to School Concerns

back to school concerns

Bite-Sized Insights: Costs Outweigh Covid in Parents' Back to School Concerns

For this week’s bite-sized insights topic, we were interested to find out about parents and back to school concerns. Take a quick read of this week’s bite-sized insights to find out what parents are saying about what’s worrying them about the kids going back to school.

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We asked our Insights panel of parents to tell us what has been their biggest concern about back to school this year. Here’s how they answered: 

back to school concerns

The impact of price rises on the cost of Back to School is clearly having a big impact compared to last year when Affordability was only cited by 7% of parents.

We also asked “Any other thoughts or concerns about getting back to school?Comments from parents included:

“I am worrying about the annual school fees for my children that are due to be paid in September. Financial stress is my big worry. Even though I have uniforms and schoolbooks purchased, I still have a couple of other school supplies to purchase. I just don’t have the money right now.”

“My kids are young, so the expense is not huge, however having 2 in school, when I only work part time hours and I am not entitled to any ‘back to school allowance’ is frustrating. I work, but people who do not work are continually getting assistance. This year especially, as it is difficult for everyone, all children should be entitled to this allowance to help pay for uniforms, shoes, books etc. In my opinion, it should be provided to all children in June/July as a double childrens allowance payment instead of a ‘back to school allowance’ for people receiving social welfare.”

“School books and supplies are very costly this year. My eldest is starting secondary but luckily the only option at that school is to rent the books so that’s keeping costs down a small bit. I also have my youngest starting preschool so I am hoping that goes smoothly with no issues. The cost of back to school this year was definitely our biggest concern as we are a one income household. Also how to get the kids back into a routine after 2 months of lie ins is another!! My two middle children will find that tricky. Also I am worried about the amount of homework they will all be getting as the local primary is very heavy with it.”

“The cost this year has been shocking. 1st year in secondary has cost over €1k already.
Tablet €500
Uniform and coat €170
Sports clothes €120
Trainers €100
Lockers €35
School bag, calculator, stationary €120
And more to be paid when they go back to school.
Also dreading the homework. My two children have dyslexia so homework can be a nightmare.”

“I worry about my children being sent home again with every little sneeze or sniffle and trying to juggle work with keeping kids home.”

“Cost is my biggest concern, not just the initial back to school but weekly lunches etc. Covid is still a concern, but finances is the biggest factor as I’m struggling with the cost of living.”

“I don’t think it’s fair to put logos on school uniforms and when you have to buy specific branded PE gear for the children. With the economic crisis everything is having its impact on parents.”

“Two in secondary and on top of books, travel etc the school brought in a new compulsory crested tracksuit that trebles the cost per bottoms/top that they could have worn without a crest!”

“Pretty much worried about everything on your list.”

“My eldest suffers with bad anxiety and facing 6th class not knowing if he will have a teacher. Or like many times before, his teacher will change every few weeks which is making it so much worse, I’m worried sick about this. I’ve heard the school has not filled the places of the 3 teachers it’s missing this year yet and school starts back in a couple of weeks!”

back to school concerns

Actionable Insights for Schools and Retailers

  • A key concern for parents this year is cost. Schools need to be transparent about extra costs and put in place payment plans for parents who are struggling.
  • Retailers should consider extending Back to School offers throughout September to help parents with the inevitable extras that become apparent once kids are back to school.
  • Schools need to consider uniform policy, especially crested items and consider what they can change for next year i.e. could the crest be bought separately, does everything need to be crested or could some items be bought generically.
  • Can schools do anything more to help parents with facilitating secondhand items such as books or uniforms to help parents. For example, can they communicate with parents to drop off donations of books / uniforms from school leavers or as children move up classes. 
  • Content that helps parents with how to save money over the coming months is going to be very useful to them. Retailers should review their content plan for social and email and look at opportunities to create this.  
  • Want to find out exactly what it is parents want when it comes to back to school? We can help! Contact us to start your parents insights journey.

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