Headlines: November 28th, 2007

Parents are so keen to control their children’s futures that they are less likely to leave them to make a decision about when to leave formal education to go to work or take a vocational course than they are to let them make up their own minds on when to become sexually active. The findings come today in a report from the educational foundation, Edge following research into attitudes to ‘academic’ education.

Today’s study shows that only 41 per cent of parents would trust a child to decide when to leave traditional academic education while 46 per cent said they would happily rely on their child’s own judgment in deciding when they should have sex. The research found, however, that in spite of their apparent determination to control their child’s learning choices, only 22 per cent of parents believed they had enough information about the education options open to their children and a third of parents said they were unable to speak freely with their children about their education and ambitions.

The gap in understanding between parents’ and children’s values was further highlighted over career choices. Twenty-one per cent wanted their children to become lawyers, almost as many opted for them to become doctors and 18 per cent would like their children to be scientists. Parents acknowledged, however, that their children would prefer jobs in web design, fashion or entrepreneurship.

Garry Hawkes, the chairman of Edge, said, “Parents are now so keen to ensure their child goes down a traditional academic route that they are ignoring the practical and vocational options which their child may prefer. Our research points to a worrying communication breakdown where parents and teenagers are not openly discussing all the educational and life choices available.”