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Parents in the UK admire their children’s teachers, but they are too busy to help with the homework

Parents in the UK are much less likely to spend more than an hour per day helping with their children’s homework compared with parents in other countries, a survey suggests.

A survey of 27,830 parents in 29 countries found only 11% of UK parents spent an hour per day helping their children, far behind 62% in India.

But 87% of UK parents valued the quality of their children’s teachers.

This was among the highest levels of any of the surveyed countries.

Kenyan parents had the most positive view of their teachers, with 92% rating them as good.

Valuing ‘happiness’

The survey, commissioned by the Varkey Foundation, which organises the annual Global Teacher Prize, has compared the attitudes and priorities of parents in a range of different countries.

There were many common attitudes – with parents concerned about whether their children would get good jobs and careers.

But in terms of worries about their children’s future, parents in the UK were well above average in being concerned about terrorism and conflict, a pattern also seen in France and Germany.

When deciding on the type of school they wanted for their children, UK parents prioritised a sense of “ethos” and high academic results.

But compared with other countries, parents in the UK were also likely to put a high emphasis on “happiness” for children in school.

Parents in countries such as China and Vietnam were much less likely to make happiness a priority, with greater concern for the quality of teaching.

In terms of funding, parents in the UK said they would put any extra education budget into hiring and paying teachers, rather than technology or facilities.

Better or worse?

In terms of optimism over whether schools are better than a decade ago, countries such as China, India, South Korea and Vietnam were much more likely to think schools had improved.

But parents in France, Germany, Italy and the UK were more likely to be pessimistic and see schools as slipping backwards.

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”.

But he said it was “sobering” that parents in the UK are “spending so little time helping their child with their education – lagging behind almost every other country we surveyed”.