PTA UK survey finds parents concerned about cost of sending children to school

21/09/17

Detail of our Parent Survey 2017 report on school funding
New research we've carried out shows that more than three quarters (78%) of parents believe the cost of sending their child to state school is increasing, with well over half (55%) agreeing this is a concern.

Today we launched findings from our annual parent survey about the cost of schooling. Key results showed parents are worried about the rising costs of sending their children to school, revealing:

  • Overall, half of all respondents were concerned about the cost of school trips (50%)  
  • On average nearly half (48%) worry about the cost of uniforms 
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) worry about the cost of school meals
  • The cost for technology, (tablets, internet access, laptops), as well as materials/equipment for music, art and sports are also a cause for concern for a fifth of parents

Further findings from the research reveal that more parents (42%) have been asked to donate to the school fund compared to last year (37%).  There were significant regional variations, for example, six in 10 parents in London (61%) compared to only a quarter (25%) of parents in the East Midlands reported being asked to contribute to their school fund. 

In addition:

  • 34% of parents reported donating to the school fund in 2017 compared to 29% in 2016
  • Half of parents who were asked to contribute to the school fund said they donated less than £10 a month, similar to 2016, but there was a marked increase in contributions of between £10 and £30 a month, with 26% donating this amount in 2017 compared to 21% in 2016.  A fifth state they do not donate to their child’s school fund at all (20%)
  • On average, £8.90 is donated by all parents monthly
  • Londoners also reported donating more than any other region (£12.90 per month) while parents in the South West donated an average of £6.35 per month.
  • Out of all parents surveyed, nearly four in 10 (38%) state they do not want to donate to their school fund, with parents over 45 (45%) and those with children in secondary school (40%) or further education (45%) the least willing to contribute in this way.
  • Nearly half (47%) of parents who were asked to donate to the school fund reported they did not know how the money is spent, of those who did know, nearly one in five (19%) believe the funds are spent on teacher salaries.

Michelle Doyle Wildman, Acting CEO of PTA UK commenting on the research said:

“Parents have always contributed to schools, whether that’s through voluntary contributions, via their PTA or by volunteering their time or skills, and this looks likely to continue.  Their support helps give every child the best possible educational experience and so it’s important parents have a say in what goes on in their child’s school. 

“Parents are reporting that they are contributing more to provide the essentials which many expect to be provided by the state.  If this is a growing trend, then it’s crucial that schools work in partnership with parents to address their specific concerns, taking their views into account when prioritising difficult funding decisions, and exploring realistic alternatives with them, not in isolation.

“We know from our research that the overwhelming majority of parents (82%) want to support their child’s school, for example through a parent group or volunteering and over a third (39%) said they would consider getting involved despite never having done so in the past.”

Read more and download the full report.

View the full infographic (pdf).

Download the full press release.

For press queries about the report, please contact the PTA UK press office on 01732 375 477 or by emailing press@pta.org.uk