From education to employment

Most British Parents Have No Idea What Their Child Wants To Do Post-GCSE’s #GCSEResults2019

The team behind surveyed a little over 2,400 British parents who have at least one teenage child heading into year 11 at secondary school this coming September, finding that three fifths (62%) of British parents have no idea what their child wants to do following school, but staying on to do A-Levels then head to university and apprenticeships / vocational training are the top desires parents have for their children.

When relevant parents were asked why they didn’t know what their child wants to do after year 11, the top responses were found to be:

  • I haven’t asked them – 32%
  • They change their mind often – 24%
  • They are not sure themselves – 19%
  • I’ve forgotten – 10%
  • They never talk to me about school– 6%

When asked what they’d like their child to do after their exams, a little over one in three British parents want their children to stay on to do A-Levels and then go onto university (35%), with other parents stating that they’d like their children to ‘do an apprenticeship/vocational training’ (29%), ‘go to college to do a BTEC or NVQ.’ (21%) or ‘start their own business/help run the family business’ (5%).

The top reason for wanting them to do their A-Levels and continue onto university was found to be ‘the experience’ (51%), while the top reason for wanting their child to do an apprenticeship or vocational training was ‘so they can earn while they learn’ (84%).

Asked if they felt keeping children in some form of education until the age of 18 was a good idea, 79% agreed that it was, with just one in five (21%) stating that they didn’t agree with this. Almost all of those who didn’t agree (95%) believe that their children should have the option to go straight into the world of work without any requirement to do part-time training or education.

Finally, when asked how they’d deem their children to be successful later in life, almost half stated ‘they’ll be happy’ (45%), while the second most popular answer was found to be ‘they’ll be making a lot of money’ (28%). Almost three quarters (73%) confess that they worry schools are putting too much pressure on young children to make decisions about their future, affecting their mental health.

Sharon Walpole, Director of, commented on the findings:

“While attending both sixth form and university is still one of the most popular routes for students to take, it’s not the only option and our ethos is to ensure all students are aware of all routes available to them following their GCSE’s and A-levels. That’s not to say they shouldn’t be carrying on with A-levels or going to university, but this option just doesn’t suit every student; some would prefer to go to college and have a wider array of subjects available to them, while others already know what they want to do and can look to find an apprenticeship in that field that would both pay and educate them.”

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