School of high-cost knocks

Herald Sun - - NEWS - GENEVIEVE ALI­SON

AL­MOST two-thirds of Aus­tralians be­lieve school costs are un­af­ford­able for many fam­i­lies, a sur­vey has found.

As thou­sands of chil­dren pre­pare to head back to school, fam­i­lies across the coun­try are strug­gling un­der the bur­den of ex­pen­sive uni­forms, text­books and tech­nol­ogy.

The sur­vey, com­mis­sioned by The Smith Fam­ily, found 84 per cent of re­spon­dents did not want chil­dren to miss out on ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties due to fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties.

And three-quar­ters of those sur­veyed be­lieve low-in­come fam­i­lies should be given ex­tra sup­port to help pay for their kid’s ed­u­ca­tion.

Wer­ribee mother Carol Achi­son-Mills says the lead-up to the new school year has be­come in­creas­ingly stress­ful as costs add up.

“It takes away the ex­cite­ment for them if they’re wor­ried about whether or not they have the right uni­form or books,” she said.

School uni­forms could cost up to $500 a child while her two older chil­dren were re­quired to have lap­tops for high school, Ms Achi­son-Mills said.

“Kids shouldn’t be pun­ished or bul­lied for some­thing they can’t con­trol,” she said.

“They don’t un­der­stand why some kids can af­ford things when oth­ers can’t.”

She said without the sup­port of char­i­ties like The Smith Fam­ily, her chil­dren would likely have missed out.

The Smith Fam­ily’s Vic­to­rian gen­eral man­ager, An­ton Leschen, said the “back to school” pe­riod was one of the busiest times for the char­ity.

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