Last week, the Varkey Foundation published a report following their Global Parents’ Survey. The report was picked up by the BBC and their take on the results can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-43316741
One point to note is that the findings are for the United Kingdom and so, presumably, include parents from all four of the home nations, and those with offspring in both state and private schools. The survey work was conducted by MORI using on-line methods and it refers to countries with limited rural on-line access, including Peru where in my experience access can be quite good even in some rural towns. In view of the broadband problems in parts of the United Kingdom, I wonder whether that caveat should also have been added to the Uk’s findings?
Most heartening for teachers was the 70% of respondents, the second highest behind the 76% of parents in Germany, choosing more pay for teachers as one of their three top choices from a list of options. Buildings featured lowest in the list in terms where parents in the UK placed the item in their top three choices. Generally, the more developed countries in the list had higher percentages of parents selecting more or better pay for teachers as one of their top three picks. Japan and Italy were exceptions, with only around 44% of parents’ selection this item as one of their top three choices. In both countries extracurricular activities scored highest.
As the BBC noted, UK parents didn’t fare well in comparison with their international counterparts in relation to the amount of time they spent helping their children with their education. Interestingly, Finland, lauded for its good school system, had the lowest percentage of parents spending seven hours a week or more with their children and the highest percentage recording no time helping their children at almost one in three parents (31%) that responded to the survey: food for thought there.
Parents across the UK generally rated the quality of teaching at their children’s schools as fairly good or very good (87%) with only four per cent rating teaching as fairly poor or very poor. Such a percentage, if confirmed in other surveys, should inspire the government to lay off teacher bashing and start talking up the profession again to aid teacher recruitment. This is especially the case since 68% also rated government-funded schools as fairly good or very good. Finnish parents that don’t help at home gave their government schools a 90% fairly good or good rating. If the schools are that good, presumably you don’t think you need to help out at home. UK schools scored relatively well in parents’ views on how they were preparing pupils for the future world beyond 2030. Interestingly, parents in India produced the top score on this question, of 88%. If this reflects what is happening in on-line savvy households in India, then the future economic growth of that country may well be interesting to watch.
Finally, the Labour and Conservative Parties having battled over funds for universities might like to know according to the Varkey Survey only 32% of parents in the UK though young people needed to attend university to achieve the most in life. As I have said before, the cash spent on capping tuition fees and raising repayment levels might have been better spent on our schools and early years’ settings.