Superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo may be one of the greatest sportsmen in the world – but if schools are looking for someone to inspire their pupils, they may do well to look closer to home.
Parents were more likely to inspire children, than celebrities, a survey of 1,500 pupils has found.
While Ronaldo was the single most named individual celebrity, he trailed well behind children’s own parents – named by 6.4 per cent of children, compared to 22 per cent who mentioned their dad and 34 per cent who were inspired by their mum.
Other celebrities named included: Martin Luther King (5.7 per cent), Muhammad Ali (5 per cent), Lionel Messi (4.9 per cent) and Nelson Mandela (4.2 per cent).
But Neamh, 10, from Northumberland pointed out: “My mum is inspirational because she encourages me to do my very best and no matter what, she always makes me smile."
The survey for The Future Leaders Trust, an educational training charity, was carried out to help schools think about how best to inspire children.
In its report Who Inspires Children? on the survey, the trust recommends that school leaders should understand how parents and teachers are talking to children about their futures, and work together to give consistent, positive, inspiring messages.
The Future Leaders Trust is now calling on school leaders to work more closely with parents to help inspire their students.
It also pointed out that the public figures children find inspirational have a range of ethnicities, but boys appear to focus on men whereas girls focus on both men and women.
“We wanted to discover who children find inspiring, in order to help schools provide an aspirational environment for their students,” said Jacqueline Russell, acting CEO of The Future Leaders Trust.
Ashley Hodges, CEO of Speakers for Schools, a charity that organises inspirational figures to visit schools, said: “These survey results reaffirm an important fact about young people – real inspiration comes from the people in their lives. If we do not surround them with brilliant, varied people who can help inspire them for their futures, we aren’t giving the next generation the best chance to achieve their potential.”
To read about schools' innovative ways of engaging parents see the 26 August edition of TES magazine. Subscribers can view the full story here. To subscribe, click here. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here. You can also download the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. TES magazine is available at all good newsagents.