SUSSEX parents are spending £136 million a year on basic school costs.

A report from The Children’s Society claims 97,417 families are struggling to keep up with the financial demands of education in the county.

Parents in Brighton and Hove spend £20,951,573 a year with their counterparts in East Sussex spending £43,412,498.

In West Sussex parents forked out £71,781,142.

The study reveals £778 is spent on each child every year in Sussex – compared to £800 nationally.

The breakdown of spending in the county includes £120 on school clothing, £40 on sports kit, £160 on school meals, £90 on term time school trips, £80 on transport to school, £70 on holiday school trips and £50 on after school clubs.

Nearly £50 is spent on computer facilities for homework, £30 goes towards summer clubs and activities, £15 on classroom materials, £15 on stationery and £25 on books.

A panel of children was asked by the charity to look into the cost of schooling in the state sector.

The youngsters, aged 10 to 19, found more than half of the poorest families in the UK have borrowed money to help pay for school essentials. A third said they could not afford computer or internet facilities.

Matthew Reed, the society’s chief executive, said: “Children are supposed to be benefiting equally from a free education.

“Yet the reality is that families in the South East pay millions of pounds each year towards the cost of school.

“Children are denied an equal education simply because their parents can’t afford the basics. This is just not right.

“The Government must stop children suffering because they are living in poverty.”

The charity has called on the Government to make uniforms more affordable.