Press Centre

Cost of schooling rises at the fastest rate

Hard-up families struggling to cope with rocketing energy prices and rises in the cost of living have been dealt another blow with research that shows the cost of sending a child to school has risen to £1,077 – the fastest rate for more than 10 years.

Rising food prices have hit the cost of school meals and packed lunches and high petrol prices have made the school run more expensive.

Hardest hit are lower income families, who have more children than better-off families, and spend a larger proportion of their income on school costs like uniforms, meals and transport.

For the past 10 years, falling prices for uniforms and PE kits have helped keep down the cost of sending a child to school. The average annual school cost rise was just 0.8 per cent but now that has soared to 2.3 per cent in the last 12 months and looks likely to continue rising.

UK families now spend a staggering £10.5billion a year on school costs, equal to 0.7 per cent of the total wealth generated by the economy – almost a quarter of the amount Britain spends on defence.

Worryingly, the cost to parents is rising even though the number of pupils is falling.

Andy Bond CEO ASDA Stores comments," It is important for retailers like us to understand the real financial pressures that are facing UK families, particularly when families do not have the choice to opt out, like sending their children to school. We must continue to work hard to keep prices down and help families cope with household inflation."

“Our £4 school uniform and further price cuts to stationery, grocery and petrol are helping households to cope with their budgets, but schools have to stop restricting families from shopping around for the best value on things such uniforms and sports kits.”

For a copy of the report please contact the ASDA press office on

Posted in Press Centre on 05 August 2008