Shock cost of school supplies revealed

The amount Australians will be spending on school supplies this year has been revealed, and the figure may shock you.

An opinion survey has revealed around one in five Queensland school kids do not feel safe in the classroom. Almost 88,000 students were surveyed about whether they felt safe at school, with about 81 per cent saying yes, a decrease of 2.2 per cent compared to the previous year. The 2023 School Opinion Survey also found that more than a third of students believe schools do not do enough to manage student behaviour. The results show an increase in both parents and staff who believe student behaviour is not being managed properly. Queensland Education Minister Di Farmer was not surprised with the survey’s findings, clarifying that the government was taking bullying and bad behaviour in schools very seriously.

The new data reveals about 5 million Australians (24 per cent) will spend an average of $512 each on back to school related merchandise before the school gates reopen.

Queensland students will be walking through their school gates for the first time in 2024 on Monday, with the NSW and Victorian students quickly following them on January 30.

Parents are expected to spend $2.5 billion on back to school supplies in 2024. NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

The latest research by Australian Retailers Association (ARA), in partnership with Roy Morgan, found of the those parents surveyed, 44 per cent said they would be spending more than last year.

Meanwhile, about 14 per cent surveyed said they plan to spend more than $1,000, while 10 per cent plan on spending less than $100 this year.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said retailers hoped the somewhat necessary spending on school supplies would build momentum for a profitable 2024.

“The Back to School period is where we see retail trade ramp back up, as many Australians return from their holidays and prepare their kids for the school year,” he said.

Retail Association of Australia CEO Paul Zahra says retailers will welcome the back to school spending. Photo by: NCA NewsWire/ Gaye Gerard

“Typically, uniforms, stationery, books and shoes make up most of the spending, with tech, school bags, lunch boxes and water bottles also highly sought after.

“With high interest rates and tighter budgets, parents will be expecting better value than ever before.”

Most popular items parents are buying:

  • Stationary – 54 per cent
  • School uniforms – 51 per cent
  • Footwear – 50 per cent
  • Books – 37 per cent
  • Lunch boxes or water bottles – 26 per cent

Federal Education minister Jason Clare said the new National School Reform Agreement the government uses to fund state schools will ensure the resources are readily available the help those children in need.

“One of the biggest education costs families face is school fees, and it’s a lot cheaper if you’re going to a state school than if you’re going to a private school,” Mr Clare told NCA NewsWire.

Education Minister Jason Clare says state school students will have plenty of support in 2024. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

“I want public education to be parents’ first choice.

“The best way to do that is making sure that they’re fully and fairly funded and that we tie that funding to the things that will make a difference.

“(The National School Reform Agreement) will help with costs, but also make sure that their children get the education that they deserve.

“I wish all students the best for the 2024 school year, and I want to thank all teachers, support staff and school leaders for the incredible work they do in our schools.”

But Shadow Minister for Education Sarah Henderson said the current cost-of-living crisis was making it harder to send children to school ready to learn.

School supplies, including textbooks, stationery, and uniforms, are estimated to cost $684 per primary student and $1132 per secondary student, according to the latest Finder analysis.

“Every parent across Australia wants to ensure their children receive the education they deserve – yet it is becoming an enormous financial burden,” Ms Henderson said.

Senator Sarah Henderson says the federal government is failing parents facing cost of living pressures. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

“Many families can’t even contemplate going to the movies or going out to dinner because they can no longer make ends meet.

“Now, we are hearing that parents have even said they may be forced to pull their kids out of extra-curricular activities because of the cost.”

Mr Zahra said he understood the challenges some families face when trying to afford school supplies.

“With the cost-of-living crunch, it’s very tough out there for a lot of families – especially when it comes to purchasing back to school items for their children,” he said.

“These aren’t just items on a shopping list – they’re essentials that can make a real difference in a child’s life.

“Many schools provide exemptions and financial support for those experiencing financial hardship – while some State Governments have their own programs to assist.”

Queensland students will be heading back to school on Monday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles

On Monday, about 880,000 Queensland students will enrol across both state and non-state sectors in 2024.

More than 575,000 students are expected to enrol in Queensland’s 1,264 state schools in 2024, with 325,000 primary students, including 43,000 prep and 250,000 secondary students set to start on Monday. .

Meanwhile, about 305,000 students expected to enrol in Queensland’s 545 non-state schools in 2024, while about 160,000 students will be attending Catholic schools, about 145,000 students in independent schools.

Latest data from August 2023 showed there were 10,048 students participating in home schooling.

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