Remember when you left school and thought you knew all you needed to know to go out and conquer the world? A recent survey has suggested we might all have been wrong! Our study has revealed that almost all of Generation Z would have preferred more financial education at school, with mortgages, credit cards, tax and budgeting all being things they feel were left out of their curriculum. 91% of people between 16 and 24 would like to have left school with a more in-depth understanding of money, instead of being left to learn as they went along. Setting up a direct debit, saving up for a deposit and arranging your council tax are all things we have to figure out for ourselves, and our data shows that people wish they’d been given more of a steer in the right direction.
72% of people over the age of 35 said they wished they knew more about technology and coding. With the area ever-changing it can be easy to feel left behind, as we’ll all no doubt have seen when trying to Facetime our families over lockdown. Technology demands were especially high in Leeds, where 35% of people said they wish they’d left school a coding wiz. Belfast, however, had no such worries. Only 7% of people in the Northern Irish capital wanted more tech-teaching - could our next wave of developers come from across the Irish Sea?
Internet safety didn’t score particularly highly in our survey. Only 14% of people said they would have liked to learn more about it at school, with the bulk of the generations we asked growing up in an internet-smart society. It was females who wanted it more than their male counterparts - 17% of women wanted to understand online security more, compared to 10% of men. Our top tips: Don’t click that link, that prince doesn’t really want to transfer billions into your bank account, your bank will never email you asking for your details, and seriously - do not click that link.
Overall demand for more education on sustainability was only 14%, however it was with the over 55s where it really struck a chord. 27% said they wished they’d learned more about the environment and recycling before they left school, with it becoming more apparent than ever that we need to do things differently to protect our planet. Check out our environmental policy to see how we’re playing our part.
Sex and gender studies have come on a lot since many of us were at school, and while 16% of 16-24 year-olds would like to have learnt more about it, the figure falls as people get older. Only 5% of people aged 45-54 wanted more knowledge on it, suggesting it could be up to the kids to teach their parents about it in the future. It’s gone beyond the birds and the bees you know?
When it comes to mental health, it’s clear there’s a growing demand for a greater understanding of how to manage it. According to our survey, 38% of people wanted to know more about their mental health before leaving school, while 41% wanted in-depth education on self-confidence. This was particularly popular amongst females, with 47% of them wishing to see it added to the curriculum.
Covid-19 has seen many of us having to do more than just our day jobs, with lots of parents suddenly becoming teachers as well. We asked the Open University if that had impacted the kind of things people were looking to study with them, and the results suggested it definitely had. Out of their top 20 courses during lockdown, 8 involved some aspect of children’s learning and education. Courses included ‘ Exploring Children’s Learning’, ‘ Everyday Maths’ and ‘ Take Your Teaching Online’, with parents suddenly finding themselves having to pick up skills they never thought they’d need again. Remember when you thought you’d never need algebra in real life? Thanks 2020, you proved us wrong. Other popular courses were the OU’s ‘ Academy of Money’ qualification, where students get to delve into money management, and ‘ Introduction to Bookkeeping and Accounting’. Lockdown has clearly got people eager for education. Searches for the Open University went up by 182,000 in April - the first full month of Covid restrictions - seeing people keen to fill any newly spare time with something productive.
YouTube has been a great source for education over lockdown, with quite literally millions of videos to help you do anything you can think of. Mental health management proved particularly popular during lockdown, with 167,000 searches being made for it. 345,000 people also looked for management of a different kind - pension management to be exact. With financial uncertainty rife, it makes sense that people wanted to get their ducks in a row. Other popular resources revolved around DIY and crafting. 730,000 searches were made for terms involving DIY, with people using their time around the home to get to work on that often ignored list of essential jobs. Fixing things in fabric also proved a hit - 703,000 searches were made for sewing videos as high street fashion shops were forced to close their doors.
We asked a group of 1,002 people a series of questions about the subjects they would have liked to study in school. We gave them a list of subject options and asked them to rank them in order of preference, while also giving them the opportunity to submit any courses of their own. Data on distance learning course uptake was provided by the Open University.