£550 back-to-school bill for parents of the gadget generation

The cost to parents of equipping a child to go back to school has reached £550 as school bags are filled with a bewildering array of electronic gadgets.

John Lewis said the days of children taking a lunchbox and protractor into the classroom were long gone as kids today take everything from an MP3 player to e-readers and smartphones with them into the playground.

The high street giant said the cost of today’s school uniform, school bag and its contents amounted to an average of £550.80. This compares, in today’s money, with £252.40 in the 1980s and £231.20 in the 1960s.

Matt Leeser, head of buying for communications technology, said the huge shift towards gadgets meant John Lewis expected to sell two computing devices every minute in the two weeks up to the August Bank Holiday. The chain also expects to sell two touch screen tablets to every one laptop or desktop as more kids take tablets into the classroom.

He said research suggested 45 per cent of kids take a smartphone to school, costing an average of £362, while 35 per cent carry headphones. Nearly fifth of kids take an MP3 player into school, 5 per cent take a tablet and 2 per cent an ereader.

It marks a stark contrast with school bag of the Sixties, when the most expensive items were two text books, costing around £45.10. Today, while the cost of lunchboxes, calculators, and pencil cases have come down, the rise in demand for technology means parents face having to find a small fortune for the Back to School rush.


About dbda
dbda is a corporate social responsibility consultancy embracing education and safety in the community. We are privileged to work with a large number of blue chip corporate clients, Government organisations, charitable bodies, Institutes and local authorities. We also have a network of schools, professional bodies, associations, universities and partners, with whom we regularly work in collaboration.

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