Text image saying 78% of parents agree it's beneficial for children to learn about other countries and cultures of the world - with a photo of a female teacher and two young school girls looking at an ipad. Wednesday 05 October 2022
  • British Council survey to mark World Teachers’ Day (5 October) reveals that 59% of UK parents think personal finance and budget management should be taught in schools
  • More than three quarters (78%) of parents surveyed agreed it was beneficial for children to learn about other countries and different cultures around the world 
  • 69% believed it was important for children to learn other languages at school, with Spanish the most popular language of choice

New research commissioned by the British Council and conducted by OnePoll surveyed 2,500 parents of UK schoolchildren between the ages of five and 16.  

Conducted ahead of World Teachers’ Day (Wednesday 5 October), the poll asked parents a series of questions about the school curriculum, teachers, and how modern schools differed to their own. 

When asked what subjects they thought pupils should be taught outside of the core curriculum, 59% said personal finance, including budget management, should feature. The second most popular option was mental health awareness which was selected by 54% of respondents, followed by domestic skills or household maintenance at 48%. Unprompted lesson suggestions from parents included sign language and first-aid. 

Meanwhile, more than three quarters (78%) of parents surveyed agreed it was beneficial for their children to learn about other countries and different cultures around the world, with more than two fifths (43%) strongly agreeing. 

More than two thirds of respondents (69%) thought it was important for children to learn another language at school, with 64% of these parents selecting Spanish as the most important foreign language to learn in the future. French was the second highest at 57%, followed by German at 31%. 

These findings align with results from the recently published British Council’s Language Trends 2022 report which found Spanish has become the most popular A-level language in England and will overtake French as the most popular language at GCSE by 2026.

According to the survey, the majority of parents believe that teachers have a significant influence on shaping the lives of children and young people. 64% of parents agreed that their children’s teachers will have an impact on their future and over three-quarters of parents (79%) agree that teachers play an important role in society.

However, more than half (53%) of parents surveyed think teachers today are under more pressure than they were when they were at school. Respondents felt that the biggest challenges facing teachers include lack of funding for schools (43%), children and young people’s mental health (43%), followed by poor behaviour in classrooms (36%).

Scott McDonald, British Council CEO, said: “It is fantastic to see parents placing such high value on teachers and the role they play in society, and it’s clear that opportunities for children to learn other languages and explore different cultures are also highly prized. 

“The importance of language skills and knowledge and understanding of other cultures cannot be overstated, opening doors for discovery and enabling young people around the world to work together in the future to tackle global challenges.”

Each year, the British Council supports 15 million teachers and 100 million learners worldwide through its online courses and communities. Our work in more than 100 countries in English language teaching, education and arts builds value in the UK by providing life-changing opportunities for those we work with.  

Notes to Editor

Methodology

OnePoll surveyed 2500 UK parents of 5-16 year olds (2101 England, 210 Scotland, 69 Northern Ireland, 120 Wales) from 22nd and 28th September 2022. The survey was conducted online via the OnePoll website, polling our panel members who are paid to participate in surveys. Respondents who were parents of 5-16 year olds were targeted using both personal profile data and screening questions in order to ensure the correct demographic was achieved.  

For more information and the full survey findings please contact Richard Evans, Media Manager

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2020–21 we connected with 67 million people directly and with 745 million people overall.