A claim by the association Familles de France that the cost of school books and equipment for children starting collège has fallen 7.7% on last year has been met with disbelief by similar groups.
The association’s study found that families had to pay an average of €190.82 per child entering sixième - the first year of collège compared with €206.68 in 2007.
Greater prudence on behalf of parents (steering away from brand names) and the liste Darcos- a government deal with supermarkets and stores to freeze prices on certain school items - are believed to have helped, according to the association’s report.
Association president Henri Joyeux said it was the first time such a drop had been seen in 24 years.
The general secretary of the Confédération Syndicale des Familles (CSF) Brigitte Masure said the results of their study – due to be published next week – showed prices had risen at least 3%.
The confederation’s study includes the costs of items not on specific school lists, such as clothing.
Roughly three million families in France received the allocation de rentrée scolaire (ARS) yesterday – a benefit which helps cover the cost of materials for school children.
For the first time the benefit was paid according to a child’s age: €272 for those attending école (age six to ten), €287 for those at collège (ages 11-14) and €297 for those at lycée (ages 15-18).