Kiwi parents feel stress over school uniform costs

For some families, a combination of uniform and stationery costs, laptops and school fees is too much.
For some families, a combination of uniform and stationery costs, laptops and school fees is too much. Photo credit: File.

With the first school term of the year on the way, many parents are feeling the stress of mounting school costs.  

Research conducted by school uniform retailer Postie shows a large number of parents make sacrifices to be able to afford school uniform items. 

Siblings Yelena, Ashalena, Ashby, and Simon are getting ready to say goodbye to the summer holidays and head back to their school books.    

But for their mum Terisa Corditz, that's a lot of new school uniforms. 

"To get both winter and summer, we're looking at over $1000 or near $1500 between the four children," said Corditz. 

But she is far from alone.

Postie's research shows the stress of adding new school uniforms into the household budget is a reality for 70 percent of more than 1000 parents surveyed across the country.

64 percent said they had made sacrifices to be able to afford school uniform items for their children

"We compromise a lot to make sure that the children's schooling, so you know we can invest in them having a good life," Corditz told Newshub. 

But for some families, a combination of uniform and stationery costs, laptops and school fees is too much. 

Variety CEO Lorraine Taylor says the children's charity already has a waitlist of 500 children needing sponsorship for their back to school costs. 

"Some parents just simply aren't coping and of course that stress goes onto the children because they're really well aware of their parents financial situation," said Taylor. 

In 2019 the Ministry of Social Development through Work and Income offered more than 58,000 school education cost grants nationwide to more than $13 million to families in need of help.   

Ministry Social Development Regional Commissioner in Wellington, Gagau Annandale-Stone told Newshub at this time of the year it is a struggle.

"It's a struggle for a lot of our families and so we do encourage them to come and see us."

A spokesperson for Chris Hipkins, the Minister of Education said they know the start of the school year can be an expensive time for families.

"This year parents also won't face the prospect of fees for NCEA and Scholarship exams.

"We're also rolling out a free school lunches programme that will initially benefit 6,000 students, increasing to 21,000 children by the end of the year.

Our parental donations scheme is a win for parents and families of 428,000 students.

"The combination of these changes will make a huge difference to students, their families, and local communities," a spokesperson for Hipkins told Newshub. 

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