NASUWT comments of school costs survey

Commenting on the survey by the Money Advice Service on the costs typically faced by parents in sending their children back to school for the new academic year, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“The findings of this survey come as no surprise to the NASUWT.

“The Union has been surveying parents for the last two years and there is no doubt that they are facing increasing costs in supporting their children’s education.

“The NASUWT has been warning that for many children access to critical educational opportunities, which are key entitlements, are increasingly becoming based on parents’ ability to pay.

“There is a real danger that some parents could find that the cost of school uniform, curriculum activities and equipment in some schools puts admission to the school of their choice way beyond their financial means.

“Families hit hard by the recession and the austerity measures are now facing an additional, unacceptable tax on their children’s learning.

“Selection of pupils and parents on the basis of ability to pay must not be allowed to become a reality.”

Notes to editors

A copy of the NASUWT’s latest Cost of Education survey, which received over 2,500 responses from parents, is attached.
Key findings included:


  • Over half of parents spent more than £100 on school uniform for their eldest child alone. Two thirds of parents were required to purchase uniform from a particular supplier;
  • Over a quarter of parents were required to spend in excess of £50 per year per child on PE clothing and footwear;
  • A third of parents were required to purchase textbooks and reference books. Parents also reported an expectation that they would provide access to IT equipment to support children’s learning;
  • A third of schools request regular financial contributions to a school fund and in more than half of these schools the payments are considered to be compulsory;
  • Over a third of parents were required to pay for field trips which are compulsory elements of examination courses;
  • One in seven parents said that cost had prevented their one or more of their children taking part in educational trips and visits.

Lena Davies
Press and Media Officer
0121 457 6250 / 07867 392746