State schools cost British parents up to £10 bn each year

The Hidden Cost of 'Back to School' Revealed

The price-tag for sending one child to state school has rocketed to £1,023 a year on average. Parents are finding themselves with a bill of up to £341 on ‘back to school’ related basics for each child per term, new research by eBay and Mumsnet has revealed.

With 9.6 million children currently in state schools, it means British parents are paying a combined bill of up to £7.8bn per year on essentials such as uniforms, stationery and books. In addition to the basics, the ‘hidden’ expenses of a child’s education can really push up costs – including school trips, music lessons & instruments, swimming lessons, after school clubs and extra tuition. Providing money for sponsorship and fundraising activities also racks up these unbudgeted extras.

Many families admitted that they are having to cut back on their day to day spending (26%) and family holidays or days out (19%), while some families (4%) have been forced to take out loans or dip into savings to cover these expenses.

Helen Rowley at Mumsnet said “We know from the survey that going back to school has an impact on most families' budgets and Mumsnet welcome anything that can help ease this burden. We know that Mumsnetters frequently turn to online retailers like eBay to hunt out bargains on uniform, books, sports equipment or musical instruments .”

eBay’s consumer specialist, Antonia Pearson, commented “We compared the costs of back to school kits on the high street versus the bargains you can find on, and the difference is huge. We calculate that parents can save as much as £590 by kitting out their children on eBay – more than half the average annual cost of school necessities.”

In keeping with tradition, half of all parents cite a good pair of shoes as the single most important item to get children in readiness for school followed by school uniform, while stationery and computer equipment are seen as less essential by 62% of mums.

Pre-school nerves don’t seem to be an issue with 73% of parents and 78% of children saying they’re not worried about the start of the new term. However back to school is not stress-free for everyone with almost a quarter (23%) of parents admitting to feeling nervous or worried about their child’s return to school. And in an age where image counts, 39% of mums admit to making an effort to look smart or dress up at the school gate. is the place to go for all your back to school needs. Savvy mums all around the country are making massive savings by shopping for brand new, great value back to school necessities, and discounted high street fashion brands on the site:

· In the final month of summer holidays, 173 calculators and over 1,000 backpacks were bought each day

· Sunday 28th August was the busiest ‘back to school’ shopping day for mums, with a 65% increase in sales of school uniforms

· In the past 30 days, pens and pencils were the most bought school supply item, followed closely by backpacks and pencil cases.

· Manchester United backpacks were the most popular school bags, at only £7.99, with 799 bought in just 7 days!

eBay’s Back to School Kit – totalsaving of over £590!



Notes to Editors:

Research sources

  • Mumsnet online survey research (905 respondents)
  • Department of Education (UK Data and England Data)