Next month children will go back to school carrying £2.5bn worth of valuables in their backpacks.
Research from home insurer Policy Expert reveals that the average Wigan pupil will be carrying an average of £302 worth of items with them, an increase of 30 per cent compared to last September (£234).
Breaking this down, parents admit to sending their under-sevens to school with an average of £239 worth of valuables, higher than those aged six to 10 who carry an average of £152. Children aged 14 to 16 carry the most amount of valuables to school, taking with them an average of £486, followed by those aged 10 to 14 costing an average of £333.
Mobile phones topped the list of the most popular items in the playground this summer, with three quarters of parents confessing to allowing their child to have a mobile device. Sports equipment (39 per cent), purses or wallets (34), and iPads or other tablets (21) closely followed.
Almost one in six children under six will be taking expensive technology such as a laptop, iPad/tablet and handheld game consoles to school.
And it’s not just gadgets and games parents need to worry about – the average cost of a school uniform comes in at £120, with one in 12 splurging more than £200.
Despite parents’ willingness to send their children to school with valuables worth more than a few years of pocket money in their possessions, the research revealed a concerning trend for a lack of awareness of the risk they are taking. Nearly a third do not have away from home cover as part of their insurance.
And nearly one in five parents say their child has lost or had a valuable stolen during school hours. A further five per cent admit that their children have had items damaged at school.
Adam Powell, head of operations at Policy Expert, said: “Hidden on the playground this September will be £2.5bn worth of valuables. While it’s not uncommon to see kids carrying a mobile phone, tablet, or even expensive sporting equipment, some parents might be surprised at the actual cost of the valuables their children are carrying around. If you are sending your child to school with high cost items, it’s best to make sure you’re covered to avoid tears as well as financial loss.”