Which subjects do parents value the most?

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Which subjects would parents like their children to be taught at school outside of the core curriculum? A new poll has sought to answer this question.

Financial literacy and budget management and mental health awareness topped the list in a poll of 2,500 parents of UK pupils aged five to 16.

Commissioned by the British Council, the poll showed that 59% of the parents wanted their children to be taught personal finance and budgeting in school.

This was followed by mental health awareness (54%), while 48% said schools should teach basic domestic skills and household maintenance.

Internet and social media safety and awareness should be taught according to 47% of the parents, while nutrition and healthy eating was a priority for 43%.

Further down the list of priorities included self-defence (32%), identifying misinformation and fake news (27%), basic vehicle maintenance (24%), and social media content creation (16%), while other lesson suggestions included sign language and first-aid.

Notwithstanding the fact that a number of these topics are now statutory as part of the updated relationships, sex, and health education (RSHE) curriculum, and the debate over where the responsibility for educating children about some of these issues lies – with home or school – the poll gives an insight into the priorities of parents for their children’s education.

The poll also asked about language education, with 69% stating that it was important for children to learn another language at school; only 8% said it was not important at all. When asked which language, 64% of those parents who valued language education chose Spanish. French was the second highest at 57%, followed by German (31%), Mandarin (24%) and Italian (21%).

These findings align with results from the British Council's recent Language Trends 2022 report which found Spanish has become the most popular A level language in England and is set to overtake French as the most popular language at GCSE by 2026.

The report also found that four in five primary schools have now been teaching languages for more than five years – however, there is huge variation in how much time per week pupils study languages. At primary level, French is by far the most popular language (73%), followed by Spanish (25%) and then German (2%) and Mandarin (1%).

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