5 March 2019
Almost a third of British teenagers are worried that the next few years of their education may be a ‘waste of time’ and are unsure as to where their education and careers are heading – with children in Wales most likely to think that league tables are the biggest focus for the education system (24%).
Examining the research
The new national study of over 1000 13-16 year olds reveals that two thirds (66%) of respondents believe league tables and academic grades to be the main focus of our current education system, as opposed to future careers (13%) or wellbeing (9%).
This focus on academic achievement is having an alarming impact on young people’s futures – with a third (33%) stating that they have no idea about what career path to take and 17% saying they have no idea about any options outside of traditional academic routes, such as A-Levels.
In addition, over half (54%) of the students asked say that their schools neglect to consider individual career ambitions, choosing instead to focus on the grades achieved.
Wales specific data
When focusing on teenagers who live in Wales, the research also revealed:
25% admitted they thought the next few years at school will be pointless or a waste of time- higher than national average
23% feel subject areas are becoming irrelevant as the curriculum is outdated.
64% believe the education system is focused on academic grades or league tables over the future career opportunities or wellbeing of students
While 35% of students thought the education system was fit for purpose, the remaining 65% were unsure or thought it was not
55% of children feel their school was more focused on their grade achievement than their future career ambition when choosing their GCSE subjects
50% agreed their GCSE subjects are/will be chosen based on the subjects they are most likely to get best grades in but don’t enjoy
29% at 13-16 admit they have no idea what their future career path will look like
34% believe vocational qualifications would mean they are more prepared for the world of work. 21% agreed they would gain more useful industry contacts and 16% said they would be seen in a positive light by employers
The research, commissioned by the Career Colleges Trust, also asked the 13-16 year olds about GCSEs. 60% stated that their subject choices were ones they were likely to get the best grades in but don’t actually enjoy. Only 36% said they were confident that their choices were right for them and 13%admitted to dropping a subject for one in which they would get a better mark.
Ruth Gilbert/Bev Jones, Joint CEO of the Career Colleges Trust, says:
“The education system is frequently talked about and debated, but rarely do we ask the young people themselves about their own experiences. This research highlights the concerns that teenagers have about their education and career pathways – and more support is needed to help them plan their futures.
“Employers are facing skills gaps, yet young people aren’t aware of the many opportunities open to them. With schools focused on academic achievement, students are struggling to make key decisions about their futures and not getting the exposure to industry and work experience that they need in order to do this.
“Our network of Career Colleges work in partnership with industry to ensure that young people are getting access to employers – and being given a clear line of sight to the many potential careers on offer. This needs to happen in schools and colleges – and I would urge the Government to take notice of what 13-16 years are feeling in relation to their education.”
The full research report (English only) can be found here.
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BACKGROUND AND REGIONAL INFORMATION
The research forCareer Collegeswas carried out online by Opinion Matters between09/01/2019and21/01/2019amongst a panel resulting in1000respondents. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).