UK Parents Spend Less Time Helping Kids With Homework, But Value Quality Of Teachers

We asked parents what they thought.

Parents in the UK are less likely to spend an hour a day helping kids’ with their homework than mums and dads in other countries, but they value their children’s teachers highly, according to a global study.

Only 11% of parents in the UK spent an hour per day helping their children, far behind 62% in India, researchers, commissioned by the Varkey Foundation, which organises an annual Global Teacher Prize, found when they compared the attitudes and priorities of 27,830 parents in 29 countries.

On average, UK parents spent 3.6 hours a week on homework with their kids, compared to nearly eight hours a week in Russia, 10 hours a week in Vietnam and 12 hours in India.

But interestingly, 87% of UK parents valued the quality of their children’s teachers. This was a higher percentage than in most other countries, aside from Kenya (92%).

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Vikas Pota, chief executive of the Varkey Foundation, said that despite pressure on school budgets it is “heartening to see that parents are among the most confident in the world about the quality of teaching in their child’s school”.

UK parents also ranked a “happy environment” for their kids as more important than a school’s academic record and exam results.

Parents spending less time helping their kids with their homework could be seen as a sign they are less engaged with their children’s academic success, but responding to the survey findings, mum Kelly-Anne Tomlinson-Docherty told HuffPost UK parents on Facebook she doesn’t believe this is the case.

Tomlinson-Docherty said if her children ask for help with homework, she will help, but she has drummed it into them to “work hard, play hard”. Her kids are age three, four and 11. “I know what my kids are capable of but I’m bringing them up to be strong independent adults that can ask for help when it’s needed,” she said. “So far it seems to work. Every child is different though and parenting style. Would I bash a parent for helicoptering? No. It works for them. Would I bash a parent for a completely hands off approach? Equally no.”

Docherty argued that some schools give too much homework and others don’t give enough, so it’s hard to know how much help a parent needs to give. She also added that parents who work long hours don’t have the option to help.

Previously, some UK parents have argued that they don’t “see the point” in homework. Mum Kerryanne Botibol wrote in a blog on HuffPost UK that she felt school homework policies don’t reflect the reality of modern parenting or acknowledge the difficulty in finding the time for it, especially when such young children require a great deal of support.

Similarly, Jen Faulkner also blogged on HuffPost UK arguing that homework is a “waste of time”. She wrote: “It helps no one, least of all the children and I can say this with absolute confidence having been a primary school teacher and assessment leader who has monitored the impact of homework on children’s learning and their knowledge retention. Homework is often fought against by the children and then it creates tension, which leads to huge battles that only serve to make exhausted and tired children feel even worse about themselves and their learning.”

Why do you think UK parents spend less time with their children on homework? Get involved in the conversation on Facebook.

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