Parents fail to come to terms with key education terms

HALF of Britain’s parents can’t understand their child’s school report and don’t even know what SATs are, a study has revealed.

They find key education terms so baffling that they are confused by comprehension, can’t crack decoding and are flummoxed by phonetics.

64% of parents say they feel out of the loop when it comes to their child’s learning and changes in education, while nearly half (47%) of parents say they can’t make head nor tail of their child’s school report. A massive 91% of parents feel that today’s teaching methods are unnecessarily complicated.

The survey of 2,000 parents by tuition provider, Explore Learning, has revealed that an astonishing 89% of British parents say that the way the education system has changed in recent years has confused them with many not having a clue about certain education terms.

Just a quarter (28%) of parents say they know what the phonics screening check is, while nearly half (48%) say they don’t know what the SATs are, and over half (55%) claim they don’t know what comprehension is.

The research by Explore Learning shines a light on the common confusions of parents today, revealing a massive gap in knowledge in what is one of the most important things in their child’s lives. When it comes to regions, Belfast parents seems to be the most in the dark with nearly one in three (29%) not having a clue about what any of the most common education terms mean, followed by Cardiff (25%), Manchester (24%), Nottingham (23%) and finally, Southampton (21%).

However, while parents appear confused by today’s school system, almost two thirds (62%) believe that the standard of education today is better than when they were young. The main reason for this is credited to better teachers with better training, more resources, and the fact that today there’s a bigger focus on children’s mental health. But, the 38% of parents who feel that today’s education system is worse blame under-staffing and teachers’ high workloads, followed by a less rounded curriculum and the rise in class sizes.

Charlotte Gater, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning which provides English and maths tuition to 35,000 children each week says: “It’s reassuring to see that the majority of parents believe that the education system is better than when they were growing up but it’s worrying to find so many in the dark around the national curriculum today. The government needs to provide clearer guidance when it comes to helping parents understand just what is going on with their children at school. It’s hard enough helping them with their homework, let alone getting to grips with new academic terms and changes happening in the curriculum every few years.

“With the final half term of the year underway next week, now is the perfect opportunity for parents to ensure they’re fully up to speed with everything for the next academic year. At Explore Learning we aim to help parents through any changes and give them an outlet to turn to when they need support in understanding what their child is going through.”

Here is a list of the key terms that parents couldn’t understand – can you explain what they are?!
• Compensating
• Digraph
• Partitioning
• Comprehension
• Long multiplication
• Phonics Screening Test
• SATs
• CATs test
• Key Stages
• National Curriculum and School Curriculum
• Academisation
• Number bonds

Bobby Seagull, a teacher at Little Ilford School, a state secondary school in east London and star of University Challenge says: “Every term I meet with parents who seem incredibly confused about what’s going on in their children’s education. We take for granted that parents know and understand what’s going on in their children’s lives but often many are just too busy. I was fortunate that my father took time to be involved with my education and try to understand how the curriculum operated and I’d like to help other children to do so as well. While parents don’t need to know everything about their children’s learning, it’s important they understand what’s going on – and how well their child is doing, in order to support them at home and help us as teachers as we work to bring out their full potential. Teachers work so incredibly hard and it’s fantastic to see parents crediting this as the reason why education has improved today compared with 20 years ago.”

Explore Learning is an award-winning English and maths tuition company with 145 centres located all over the country. Over 35,000 children aged four to 14 attend their centres each week and over the course of the last 18 years have helped over 250,000 children. Explore Learning’s aim is to help every child reach their full potential and get the best results they can, developing a generation of fearless learners.

For more information about Explore Learning and how it supports parents please visit www.explorelearning.co.uk.