A parent has expressed unhappiness at the decision from a primary school in the Munster area to introduce a new uniform for September that will cost €70.
The parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told BreakingNews.ie that generic options are not allowed, putting an extra strain on parents amid the cost of living crisis.
Crested tracksuits and jumpers will only be available in one specific shop in August for an approximate price of €70 (based on similar uniform available at the moment, €28 jumper, €28 tracksuit top and €14 for bottom).
Generic school items could be bought in Dunnes for a quarter of the price (€16) : tracksuit top (€5), bottom (€6) and a jumper (€5), size 9-10 years.
This is €54 cheaper than the cost of the uniform that will need to be purchased for September.
A message sent to parents read: "Items which need to be purchased are the tie, crested jumper, tracksuit top and bottom."
The message said the board of management and school body "have been working behind the scenes on revamping and modernising our school uniform".
How in the name of God does doing the same thing in a different colour modernise the uniform?
However, the parent told BreakingNews.ie that the new colour is the only difference, with the material exactly the same as the current uniform.
"How in the name of God does doing the same thing in a different colour modernise the uniform?
"The generic ones are not only cheaper but much better, they can go in the dryer while the woolly jumper can't. So I'm paying extra to get the crested jumper, and it makes my life harder, there's no benefit except for having a crest on the school jumper or tracksuit and if it was an extra €10 I wouldn't mind, but there's a difference of maybe €50 which is huge."
They added: "They want the crested ones, the generic are not allowed. It's a different blue, a kind of petrol one, so you can't even find it in shops to get a stick on crest, so we have no option to go for one selling them. Generic should be an option."
Back to school costs
The parent said the unusual shade of the uniform makes getting a generic version with a stick on crest almost impossible, meaning the extra money is unavoidable for parents who already have back to school costs including books, stationery and the voluntary contribution to deal with.
"We were told it was being 'modernised' with a new colour, but it's no different. The woolly jumper for kids with eczema or skin conditions or for kids with sensory issues, is not great.
"I just think... €50 extra for a crest, I just don't think you can justify that. On top of things like voluntary contribution as well.
"I've nothing against the school, but it's just the system, changes with no consultation and the parents can pay for it. It's not specific here either, I've heard of similar things in other schools."
The school did not respond to a request for comment from BreakingNews.ie.
A Department of Education spokesperson told BreakingNews.ie: "The Department cannot comment on any individual case. The Government is committed to reducing the burden on parents in relation to back to school costs.
"There are a range of measures in place to reduce back to school costs and also to help families with these costs. The Department published Circular 0032/2017 which sets out principles of cost-effective practice to be adopted by schools to reduce the cost of returning to school. Under these measures, schools are required to select school uniform items which are generic and can be purchased from an array of retailers. Only 'iron on' or 'sew on' crests should be used. Schools should also provide a book rental scheme and phase out the use of workbooks which cannot be reused. The Circular also sets out that schools should consult with parents on their views and suggestions on cost reduction initiatives.
"The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) helps families meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children going to school. The BTSCFA scheme is open from 20 June 2022 until 30 September 2022."