Almost half of parents question whether education is preparing their child for the workplace


Parentkind’s annual survey of parents reveals worrying findings when it comes to parental satisfaction with major aspects of the school system. That includes the curriculum, the purpose of schooling and the equality of pupil outcomes.

When it comes to what parents want from a good education:

  • Readiness for the workplace. Although high on the list of parents’ priorities, nearly half (43%) say they are concerned that school is not preparing their child for the modern job market. It’s as high as 61% for parents who have a child with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).
  • Self-confidence. This tops parents’ list of important skills and capabilities for children to leave school with at both primary (59%) and secondary (53%) levels. Self-confidence comes way above parents’ rating of 'a good knowledge of key subjects' (39% and 36% respectively).
  • Good mental health and wellbeing. Parents scored this higher as ‘very important’ than any other important area of the curriculum, with 87% saying it is ‘important’ overall including 60% rating it as ‘very important’.

When it comes to the purpose of learning:

  • 88% of parents agree that a good education goes beyond exam results.
  • Parents place the highest value on the following aspects of the curriculum: ‘Developing skills that are useful outside of school’ (89%), ‘Supporting pupils' personal development by teaching life skills’ (88%), ‘Preparing pupils to become responsible citizens’ (88%), ‘Introducing pupils to a broad range of subjects’ (88%).
  • 51% of parents agree their child’s school gives good careers advice.

When it comes to equality of education:

  • Nearly two thirds (63%) of parents agree that their child’s school should do more to nurture non-academic pupils to develop practical and technical skills.
  • 58% of parents believe that the current state education system enables children from more privileged backgrounds to succeed more than others.
  • Only 56% agree that their child's school does enough to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Parentkind CEO John Jolly says:
"Our Parent Voice Report 2021 evidences parents’ overwhelming support for their child’s school and teachers. However, it also reveals their growing recognition that the curriculum does not meet their child’s needs in preparing them for a future beyond school. Not only that, but the majority of parents believe that not all children are equally well-served by the current system. In response to the pandemic, children spent many months remote learning from home supported by their parents. As a result, parents have become much more aware of what their child is learning. Parents have seen exams cancelled for two consecutive years and this is leading them to question the nature of assessment and the fitness for purpose of the curriculum. The world is rapidly changing and parents are aware that the future workplace their child enters will be significantly different from today’s. They want the reassurance that their child’s education is preparing them to become rounded and resilient young people, with an adaptable skillset and an aptitude to thrive as citizens in the workplace of tomorrow. Conversations about a curriculum and assessment process that serves all students are already underway. Parentkind will ensure that parent voice is heard and that parents are recognised as a key stakeholder in this conversation."

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