Kids to carry £2.1 billion worth of valuables back to school

4 Sep, 2018

04 Sept 2018 This September, children will go back to school each carrying an average of £242 worth of valuables in their backpacks, new research from home insurer Policy Expert has revealed.

There are over 8.7 million children aged between six and 16 at school in the UK – meaning there are more than £2.1 billion worth of valuables in school bags alone.

Breaking this down, parents admit to sending their kids aged six and under to school with an average of £245 worth of valuables, 59% more than those aged 6-10, who carry an average of £101. Children aged 15-16 carry the most amount of valuables to school, taking with them an average of £392, followed by those aged 11-14 costing an average of £247. 17-18 year olds in sixth form or college, carry an average of £652 in their bags.

Age Value of items (£)
Under 6 £245
6-10 £101
11-14 £247
15-16 £392
17-18 £652

Though parents seem to be happy to send children off to the classroom with expensive gadgets, the research also found that a third have lost an item taken to school, 8% have had something stolen, and 22% have damaged a valuable.

Despite this, 35% do not have away-from-home cover included as part of their home insurance, which would protect valuables financially if lost, damaged or stolen when away from the home. A further three in 10 aren’t sure if they do or not, and two thirds don’t have separate insurance for their gadgets, risking a potentially costly ordeal.

The study of over 3,700 adults revealed that 11 is the age when the majority – one in five (22%) – would let their child start taking a mobile phone to school, closely followed by aged 12 (20%).

Over two thirds of children aged under six will be carrying technology, such as a laptop, iPad or tablet, and handheld games consoles to school. Overall, sporting equipment topped the list of the most popular items in the playground this school term, with almost two-thirds (63%) carrying kit in their bags. This was closely followed by watches (42%), cash (41%) and mobile phones (38%). And it’s not just gadgets and games that parents need to worry about. The average school uniform costs parents £122, with well over a tenth of adults spending more than £200.

Item Child under 6 Child 6-10 Child 11-14 Child 15-16
Laptop 3% 1% 3% 8%
iPad/tablet 3% 1% 4% 8%
Wearable tech (e.g Fitbit) 2% 4% 6% 6%
Mobile phone 2% 2% 19% 14%
Jewellery 3% 4% 6% 8%
Watch 8% 17% 10% 7%
Handheld games console 3% 2% 3% 4%
Cash 5% 10% 14% 12%
Kindle 2% 2% 3% 5%
Purse/wallet 6% 8% 11% 11%
Musical instrument 8% 15% 7% 5%
Sporting equipment 20% 23% 11% 9%


Adam Powell, Operations Director at Policy Expert, commented: “Hidden on the playground this September will be £2.1 billion worth of valuables. While it’s common to see kids carrying a mobile phone or laptop, some parents might be surprised at the actual value of the contents of their child’s backpack. If you are sending your child to school with high cost items, it’s best to make sure you have away-from-home cover included in your home insurance policy. Doing so will not only help avoid tears on the playground but will soften any financial loss as well.”