Poorest parents hit hard by steep rise in the cost of equipment

Jane Marshall

FRANCE

PARENTS face a sharp rise in the cost of equipping their children for the new school year, with the greatest burden hitting pupils taking vocational courses who are often those from the poorest homes.

In its annual inquiry into financing the return to school, the family group, Confederation Syndicale des Familles, estimates a rise of 4.3 per cent over last year for kitting out a child, compared with an increase of 1.3 per cent a year ago. Parents' costs this September are around 600 francs (pound;56) for a pupil in the first year of primary school, through to up to 4,700 francs (pound;456) for a course at a vocational lycee.

Research by another group Familles de France puts the increase even higher, at 4.6 per cent. The association noted costs are inflated by children opting for the latest fashion brands and items, which this year include Harry Potter labels on satchels.

Both organisations found that increases in the price of paper due to the low value of the euro against the US dollar were to blame.

The CSF said that school expenditure represented between 37 per cent and 135.5 per cent of a family's September budget, depending on income, number of children and type of schooling, and it called for more flexibility in benefits paid to low-income families.

It criticised the growing list of charges levied by state schools, with demands to pay for photocopying, swimming and school trips.

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Jane Marshall

Latest stories