Good news for parents this week – the Department of Social Protection has confirmed that the Back to School Allowance will be increased by 25%.
As it stands the allowance is €100 for children between the ages of 4 and 11, and €200 for those aged 12-17. However, from July this will increase to €125 and €250 respectively. According to the Department, approximately 108,000 families will benefit from the increase. The allowance is intended to help cover the cost of uniforms and footwear for school children – qualifying parents of guardians must be in receipt of certain social welfare payments, or be enrolled in ‘training, employment of adult education schemes’.
Children’s charity Barnardos is among those welcoming the announcement as a ‘first step’ towards a truly free education system. “Through our annual School Costs Survey we know parents, particularly those in low-income families, are really struggling with the costs of sending their children back to school,” said Fergus Finlay, CEO. “Many have to resort to cutting back on household bills, taking out loans or borrowing from family and friends to cover the cost. So while this is a welcome announcement it should be seen as a first step towards creating a genuinely free education system as envisaged in Minister Varadkar’s recent election manifesto.”
“This is a much need boost to families in need as the rates were not in line with real prices. We urge all eligible families to apply as soon as possible so they can receive the payment promptly ahead of preparing for the new school year,” added June Tinsley, Barnardos Head of Advocacy.
The closing date for this year’s allowance is September 30th.