The rising cost of ‘back to school’

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South Yorkshire parents could be preparing to spend as much as £550 on ‘back to school’ costs, according to new figures.

Research, carried out by John Lewis Sheffield, shows the figure has doubled in the past 30 years – despite the cost of stationery, text books and lunchboxes all falling in the same period.

Matt Leeser, from John Lewis, said: “Technology is the reason behind the hike.

“The main difference between today’s school bags and those of yesteryear is gadgets, and these are what is bumping up the cost.

“Almost half of all secondary school pupils now take a smart phone to school and 35 per cent carry headphones. 18 per cent take an MP3 player into school with them, five per cent opt to carry a tablet or laptop and two per cent an eReader.”

The study showed the cost of ‘typical’ school bag items, such as pencil cases and text books, and school uniforms has dropped significantly since the 1960s and 80s.

The study also showed how the top ten must-have items in a school bag have changed.

A dictionary and reading book have both disappeared – replaced by a smart phone and headphones.

Sheffield mum Lynn Carnall said: “My children’s school doesn’t allow mobile phones so I won’t be bothering with that and as for anything else they need, I’m sure the school will provide it.”

Michael Allen said: “Smart phones? iPads? Headphones? I honestly wouldn’t say that any of those were essential back to school items!”

Roxanna Falla added: “I have two kids and spend no more than £100 altogether.”

Dad-of-two Dan Vodden, of Barnsley, said the results of the research sound about right to him but added: “I do worry about expensive technology making kids a target at school.”