As a new school term starts, this often spells an expensive shopping list for parents. School uniforms that no longer fit, new schoolbooks and lunchboxes; research shows that the average parent spends £170 on each of their children at the start of a new school year. But although much of that spending can’t be avoided – after all, you can hardly send your child back to school with shoes that don’t fit – there is another area of the back-to-school routine where we might be missing a financial trick.
Why? Well because the average child has £302 worth of gadgets in their school rucksack. Even among the under 6’s, one in six of them take a laptop, tablet or games console to school every day; in total, Britain’s schoolchildren could be carrying £2.5 billion worth of valuables on their backs.
That’s all very well; these figures include musical instruments and sporting equipment, which of course should be encouraged – and many children nowadays have to take iPads, kindles and so-on to school. But it’s easy to forget how the cost of all these items adds up, and the worrying thing is that many of these bits and bobs aren’t covered on insurance. A poll by Policy Expert, for example, showed that 31% of parents don’t have ‘away from home’ cover on their home insurance, while over half of those questioned couldn’t remember whether they had separate insurance which would cover those items.
Should we be trusting the nation’s children with such a vast goldmine? After all, I’m bad enough at damaging phone screens, and I’m not running around in the playground. Children are, by default, more likely to damage or lose their belongings than adults. Perhaps it’s worth parents doing a quick calculation as to how much their children’s schoolbags are worth, and making sure that whatever they do have in there is insured, just in case…