ORANGE mother Anita Bayada thinks estimates of $50,000 to send a child to school for 13 years are grossly exaggerated and there are ways to keep the cost down.
A survey of 6900 members of the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) suggests school fees, clothing, extracurricular activities, computers, travel and other necessities would add up to $49,854 over the course of a child’s public education.
This year, it is estimated parents would spend up to $4730 on a child in a public high school, about $12,852 in a Catholic systemic school and $26,078 in an independent school.
Ms Bayada sent her son Alexander Bayada-Harvey to kindergarten at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School last year and she could not think of anything that is more value for money than your child’s education.
“He learnt to read in a few weeks and he is reading things that I would not dream of reading at that age,” she said.
Ms Bayada was interviewed in January last year, days before her son was heading off to school for the first time.
It cost her about $470 for the uniform, shoes, bag and a hat and since then she has only had to replace the shoes because he grew out of them.
“If you spend good money on good quality items in the first place, you do not have to replace anything for a long time,” she said.
“I know it will get more expensive as he gets older with things like scientific calculators and iPads but those things are not repeat purchases.”
She added up the cost of excursions last year and still could only account for about $200, school fees are about $1500 and she said she expected high school to be between $3000 and $5000 by the time Alexander graduates.
“There’s a few big excursions to places like Sydney and Canberra in later years but even then they would only cost a few hundred dollars and it is not every year.”
The survey figures include extracurricular activities - such as camps, sports coaching, and music lessons - as the largest expense.
The survey found those choosing a Catholic school could pay as much as $133,930 to educate their child through kindergarten and 12 years of school and a regional NSW student in a government primary school would cost about $2954 dollars this year and a state high school student $3877.
The Smith Family estimates it costs $579 to clothe a girl in school uniform and $419 a boy, with shoes for each $110 and stationary $45.
But Ms Bayada pointed out, those purchases do not have to be made every year and when you look at how often the child is wearing the uniform, she would not have it any other way.
“You’d spend more on clothes if they did not have a uniform and children could be subject to bullying if they did not have the latest and the best.”