Thousands of North East Families Struggle With School Costs

29 October 2014, 05:00

Families across the North East of England are paying £252 million a year to meet the most basic costs of their children's schooling.

Research from  The Children’s Commission on Poverty found 78 per cent of families here are struggling to keep up with the costs of things like school uniforms and trips.

On average, each family in our region forks out £770 pounds per child each year.

The Children's Commission on Poverty is a panel of children aged between 10 and 19 from across England.

They've been supported by the Children's Society to come up with the figures.

The research found almost 180,000 North East families (78% of the total) are struggling to keep up with these costs – leading to many children missing out on key opportunities to make the most of their education, and facing bullying and embarrassment..

Across the UK families are spending £6.5bn per year on school costs and more than three million families say they are struggling with the cost.

More than half of the poorest families say they have had to borrow money to pay for essential school items.

Nearly two-thirds of children living in the country's poorest families say they are embarrassed as a result of not being able to afford key aspects of school.

More than 25% said this has led them to being bullied.

Despite government guidance that the cost of school uniforms should be kept down, the Commission found that families are spending £600 million a year on them.

Children are also struggling with the cost of the increased requirement to use computers.

A third of children living in the poorest families said they had fallen behind at school because their family couldn't afford the computer or internet facilities.

Total spend on schooling and number of families struggling


Local authority area          Total spend per area         No. of families struggling

Darlington                             £10,217,400                        7,585

Durham                                 £47,073,023                       34,702

Gateshead                            £18,983,372                        13,503

Hartlepool                              £10,061,597                       6,980

Middlesbrough                     £15,191,481                         10,130

Newcastle upon Tyne             £24,274,526                         17,173

North Tyneside                     £19,823,889                         14,027

Northumberland                   £31,531,669                         21,476

Redcar and Cleveland           £14,497,884                           9,743

South Tyneside                    £14,033,209                          10,632

Stockton-on-Tees                £19,800,655                          14,168

Sunderland                         £26,899,261                          19,303

NORTH EAST                     £252,387,284                          179,422