Labour MEP for Munster, Phil Prendergast, today urged parents with children returning to school not to feel under pressure to pay ‘voluntary’ contributions to schools if they cannot afford to.
Speaking from Brussels, Ms. Prendergast said: “Voluntary contributions are just that, voluntary. Schools should act with extreme care when requesting these donations, and to take into account the difficult financial circumstances which many people find themselves in presently.
“Many families are struggling to pay for books, uniforms, transport and all the other associated costs of going back to school, they should not have additional expense heaped upon them at this time.
“Schools should think about allowing parents to spread the cost of these contributions out over the year, or that there would be different payment levels, depending on an individual’s ability to pay.
“Parents should not be made feel guilty if they cannot afford the contribution. If individuals feel pressurised, I would encourage them to report this to the Chairperson of the Board of Management of the school in question.”