Do more people prefer their child to take a vocational qualification than attend university?

‘Tis the season for parents’ evening! Normally the haunt of tiny chairs and cold sports halls, these days parents’ evenings are more often online… we thought it was time to dig into what’s happening. Also in the blog this week we fact check a government claim that more people would prefer their child to take a vocational qualification than attend university and we check up on your plans to improve the environment!  

1. Parents' evening

We already know that you like online parents evening, and around 6 in 10 of you have had a parents evening since the start of the year. But where you live seems to make quite a lot of difference, with over three-quarters of London parents having been invited so far, but only a third of parents in the North East.

Are you getting enough time to talk to teachers? For parents with kids in primary schools, for three-quarters of you answer is ‘yes’, but in secondary schools, 3 in 10 of you said there was not enough opportunity to meet all the teachers that you wanted to and that there was not enough time allocated to speak with each teacher.

What did you talk about? 59% of parents of primary-aged children and 46% of parents of secondary-aged children reported that a teacher has not discussed your child’s progress with you yet. Of those of you that had had this discussion, 15% are still not sure about progress. Only 12% of you said that there is any concern about your child’s progress. Everyone else (73%) had a positive report!

What do you do when you get a positive report back about your kids? Well nearly all of you (93%) say ‘well done’, but 40% of primary children also get a well-done-gift (33% of secondary kids get this) and around a third of you arrange a special family meal – yum!  

But does this reward motivate your child to do well again next time? Probably not… most of you told us you think your kids are intrinsically motivated (do things because they enjoy them) rather than extrinsically (because they are rewarded). This also seems to change as kids get older, so we assume bribing younger kids is a lot easier than older ones!

2. Life after school

We were a bit surprised at Parent Ping Towers when the government released a poll last month stating that ‘more people would prefer their child to take a vocational qualification than attend university.’ So, we thought we’d double check with Pingers!

Now our question was a little different to the one in the government poll, and so our findings were too… Over half of you said that you’d like your child to go to university, and a big chunk also said that you don’t mind (particularly if your children are younger and the decision is still a long way off). Overall, far fewer said you’d like your child to do an apprenticeship or vocational qualification.

We dug a bit deeper to see what was affecting these opinions and loads of you told us it was your child’s interests and talents. BUT the cost of different routes, career prospects and your own personal experience was also important, especially to dads. Lucky then that over half of you told us you are saving money to support your children after they finish school.

3. And also...

Last week you told us that you were worried that your kids would grow up with the environment in a poor state and a society that was not fair or equal. So, it’s good news this week that nearly all of you say your family is interested in these issues, that we can make a change, and that we are all responsible… or maybe these are just the sort of questions that you can’t say ‘no’ to 🤔  

Coming up next week

Next week, a Pinger has suggested we check opinions about jabs and masks (but also look out for a cheeky question about football!) If you have questions or topics you’d like us to ask please do get in touch, just email [email protected].

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