How do you look back on your schooldays? Were they a pleasure - or a torture? I know mine were not much fun! Thankfully it seems that most children do enjoy being at school, as our survey back in March found out. In that 70% of our 3,448 respondents said that they enjoyed school.
Now, with all the time children have spent away from school recently, what with lockdowns and the like, we wondered whether their attitude had changed. Have they become more used to being at home and so gone off school or, maybe they are sick of being at home so much and appreciate school all the more for it. Let’s find out whether children are still so enamoured of being at school…
For this survey we asked 1,674 children between the ages of 5 and 17 this question “How much do you enjoy going to school?”
To differentiate between different opinions we offered these four possible answers:
The results of our survey were in solid agreement with our past findings. 67% of children said that they either usually or very much enjoy going to school. 13% seldom enjoy it and 20% really dislike it. Although 20% is quite a small figure (1 in 5) that is still a worry. Unfortunately we cannot tell whether they are merely bored or if there are more serious issues involved, such as bullying. Maybe that will be the subject of a future survey.
Another thing we wanted to discover was whether children’s attitude towards school alters as they age. Do different age groups enjoy school more or less than one another? In our previous survey we found out that more primary school children (77%) enjoyed school than secondary (58%). In this survey we drilled the results down to even more specific age groups…
As you can see, almost two-thirds of 5-7-year-olds (60%) very much enjoy being at school, and a further 12% usually enjoy. That means that 28% dislike school, of whom the vast majority really dislike it.
This group has the highest proportion of children who like school the most. Sadly, it comes second for the number of pupils who really dislike school. It seems that children at such a young age are more extreme in their views: things (such as school) end to be either wonderful or terrible with little ground in between.
In the 8-11 age group we see things start to level out and actually improve. Although the number of children who really enjoy school falls from 60% to 52%, the ones who usually enjoy school rises from 12% to 28%. This means that a massive 80% of KS2 aged children enjoy being at school. That’s the highest amount in all age groups.
This stage of school is also the one with the lowest number of children who dislike school. 9% seldom enjoy it and 11% really dislike it, making a total of 20%. According to our figures, the happiest children are in years 3, 4, 5 and 6: before the stresses and strains of secondary school but after the transition from home to school in years 1 and 2.
Now we come to secondary school children and the shift in children’s attitudes continues. The number of children who very much enjoy schools falls again, from 52% down to 28%. A massive drop. The number who usually enjoy it rises, but by a mere 5 percentage points from 28% to 33%. On the plus side, a majority of KS3 children (61%) still enjoy school but that is a far cry from the 80% in KS2.
This means that 39% of KS3 children dislike school: he highest proportion so far. Although the amount who really dislike school is slightly below the figure for KS2 (21% versus 23%), 18% say that they seldom enjoy school. That’s the highest figure in any age group.
Perhaps it is the stress of exams, or the looming burdens of adulthood, but children aged 15 to 17 enjoy school the least. For the first time a majority of children (52%) say that they dislike school. 17% seldom enjoy it and a massive 35% (the highest figure in all age groups) say that they really dislike school.
15 to 17-year-olds are also the least enthusiastic. This age range has the lowest percentage of respondents (23%) who say that they very much enjoy being at school. They also have the second-lowest (only 5-7-year-olds score lower) number who usually enjoy school (25%).
The obvious finding of our survey (and the one we conducted before) is that children’s liking for school diminishes as they age. At an early age they seem to enjoy it the most and, towards the end of their school-lives, they enjoy it the least. Should we be surprised by this? I don’t think so. As children progress through school the work becomes harder, the expectations greater, and the stresses (in their social lives and their academic careers) increase.
And it is not all bad news. Almost a half of GCSE aged children still enjoy being at school. The figures could be a lot worse. Of course, it would be ideal if ALL children enjoyed school. The happier you are, the better able to learn. But that does not mean doom and gloom for those who do not enjoy school. I can only speak for myself but, as I said at the start of this piece, my own schooldays were no fun at all. Despite this I did well in my exams. It’s not just the happy children who can succeed. And maybe, many of those who say that they don’t like school do so because it does not stretch them enough. There’s nothing more boring than work you find too easy.MORE CHILDREN’S SURVEY RESULTS
Here are the results from the 1,674 children who answered our question "How much do you enjoy going to school?". The survey was conducted in the ten days from the 2nd to the 11th of October 2021.
|How much do children enjoy being at school?||Percentage of Respondents|
|I really dislike school||20%|
|I seldom enjoy school||13%|
|I usually enjoy school||28%|
|I very much enjoy school||39%|