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On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: preoccupied parents

As a fundamental truth it is rarely bettered: when it comes to education, parents really don't know their proverbial from their elbow. For example, oft quoted is the statistic showing that while the overwhelming majority of people believe the wider schools system is going to the dogs, roughly all parents think their child's school is doing a marvellous job.

So it will come as no surprise to teachers to find parents and their ignorance occupying the Naughty Step this week. A new survey, commissioned by online tuition website mytutor.co.uk, revealed another delicious parental irony on Monday. Apparently, many mummies and daddies are disappointed by the progress their little darling has made at primary school. Nearly half said they thought their child was worse at maths than they were at the same age, while more than a third (36 per cent) said the same about English. Schools letting the kids down, teachers not up to scratch, better in my day - so far, so predictable.

But consider this: some 39 per cent of parents admitted in the same survey that they spend less time helping their children to learn than their parents did, and nearly 6 out of 10 said that this amounts to less than an hour a week.

To borrow from an old teaching cliche, parents of Britain, you could do better.

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