A quarter of British parents do not help their children with homework, a new survey has revealed.
A poll of 27,830 parents in 29 countries found only 11% of UK parents spent an hour per day helping their kids, far behind the 62% of parents who did the same in India.
Parents from India, Vietnam, Colombia and Malaysia were the most likely to spend seven hours a week helping their children with homework.
The survey, commissioned by the Varkey Foundation, compared the attitudes and priorities of parents in a number of different countries.
On average, British parents spend 3.6 hours a week helping their youngsters, the poll found.
That compares with nearly eight hours in Russia, ten hours in Vietnam and more than 12 hours in India.
German parents spend more than five hours a week helping with homework and Spanish parents devote 4.8 hours.
The only countries ranked lower than the UK were Finland with 3.1 hours and Japan with 2.6.
Commenting on the findings, Chris McGovern, chairman of Campaign for Real Education told The Telegraph that some parents are put off helping their children with their homework for fear of embarrassment.
“It is a tragic situation where children are not getting the right support,” he said.
“Children who suffer the most are ones whose parents can’t help them. We need an adult literacy and numeracy programme.
“Some parents are not able to help their children even if they want to, they are ashamed and embarrassed that they can’t read.”
But confidence in the ability of British schools and teachers may also help to explain the limited time spent on extra curricular work by parents in the UK.
More than two thirds of those polled said that the quality of state schools was fairly or very good, compared with a global average of 45 per cent
British parents had confidence in the teaching of their children too, with 87 per cent rating the teaching as fairly or very good, the fifth highest proportion of any country.
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”.
The subject of homework has long been a tricky issue for many parents. Last year, parenting expert, Justin Coulson, wrote a blog explaining why he doesn’t believe homework is necessarily beneficial and why he won’t be letting his six daughters spend time doing it.
For those parents who haven’t banned homework, it seems that homework is having an increasing impact on family life. A recent survey by Butlins found that more than half (55%) of parents spend more than 40 hours a year trying to keep up with the latest school curriculum.
While 36% feel completely unable to assist their kids with homework leading to feelings of embarrassment and anxiety when they cannot help. Hardly surprising therefore that the subject of homework can bring about family disagreements with a separate survey revealing one in 20 couples admit to regularly arguing about homework.
From contributing too much, to not doing any at all, it appears homework has many parents divided.
Maybe it might be time to follow the lead of certain schools by scrapping it altogether?
Back in 2016 news broke that a school in the Highlands had stopped setting homework for its 175 pupils. Instead, the children will be encouraged to read books that interest them and play.
It followed the Essex secondary school that did away with the traditional approach to homework, allowing pupils to choose tasks rather than having a set amount of work to be completed.
Meanwhile in Spain parents went on a homework strike in protest over the large amounts of homework their children are set.
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