Most parents unaware of their child's post-GCSE plans

Study finds 62 per cent of parents do not know what their children plan to do after GCSEs, with nearly one-third admitting they have not asked

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A new survey has found that 62 per cent of British parents with children entering Year 11 do not know what their child plans to do after their GCSEs.

The study, conducted by the website Careermap, surveyed over 2,400 parents with at least one child entering Year 11 in September, and found that three-fifths were unaware of their child’s plans following GCSEs, while almost one in three parents – 32 per cent – did not know because they had not asked.


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When asked what they would like their child to do after GCSE, studying for A levels and going on to university was the most popular option, with 35 per cent stating they preferred this option for their child.

Nearly a third of parents – 29 per cent – wanted their child to do an apprenticeship or vocational training.

The top reason for parents wanting their child to pursue university study was “the experience” higher education offers, with 51 per cent of parents giving this as a reason.

Parents who wanted their child to go into vocational training said the main reason for this was so their child could “earn while they learn”, with 84 per cent giving this as a reason.

The majority of parents thought keeping children in some form of education until the age of 18 was a good idea, with 79 per cent agreeing with this, and just one in five – 21 per cent – stating they did not agree.

Almost all parents who disagreed with children continuing in education until age 18 felt their child should have the option to enter employment without a requirement to do part-time training or education, with 95 per cent stating they would prefer this.

Parents prioritised their child’s later happiness in defining their future success, with 45 per cent stating they would consider their child successful if they were happy. The second most popular answer was “they’ll be making a lot of money”, with 28 per cent of respondents selecting this option.

And nearly three-quarters of parents – 73 per cent – said they were concerned that schools were placing too much pressure on young people to make decisions about their future, which had a negative effect on their mental health.

Sharon Walpole, director of Careermap, said: “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 GCSEs 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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