Parents in UK Less Involved in Children’s Homework, Survey Says

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. spare / spɛər / (v) – to give something

    I can spare two hours to teach you English.

  2. lag behind / læg bɪˈhaɪnd / (idiom) – to fail to keep up with others

    She is lagging behind her classmates because she was absent for two weeks.

  3. beg to differ / bɛg tu ˈdɪf ər / (idiom) – to disagree

    I beg to differ, but I really do not think that the proposal will work.

  4. laborious / ləˈbɔr i əs, -ˈboʊr- / (adj) – requiring a lot of effort

    Cleaning the entire house is a laborious task.

  5. give it (one’s) best shot / gɪv ɪt bɛst shot / (idiom) – to do one’s best in a task

    I promise to give it my best shot in the upcoming exams.


Read the text below.

Parents in the United Kingdom tend to spend less time in assisting their children with their homework, a recent survey shows.

Varkey Foundation—an international non-profit organization for education—conducted the said survey. It looked into the perceptions and priorities of 27,830 parents in 29 countries when it comes to education. Of all the participants, 1000 were from the United Kingdom.

Results revealed that only 11% of UK participants spare an hour daily to help their children with academic activities. On average, UK parents also spend 3.6 hours a week in helping their children with their homework. This figure lags behind that of parents from other countries. For instance, parents in Vietnam devote around 10.2 hours a week for their children’s homework, while those in India spend around 12.5 hours.

Although devoting less time to help children with their homework can be interpreted as being less involved in the children’s academics, mother Kelly-Anne Tomlinson-Docherty begs to differ. Responding to the survey results, she explained that parents like her spend less time helping their children with school-related tasks because they want them to be independent individuals who will seek help only when necessary.

Another survey conducted in 2015 by insurance company Aviva identified another reason why helping children with homework is not a common practice among parents in the United Kingdom.

Out of the 2,000 parents who were surveyed, two-thirds admitted that they find their children’s homework laborious. Also, more than half of the respondents said that they should have given it their best shot when they were in school so they can be better equipped to help their children with their homework.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the stated reasons on why UK parents help their children less with homework are justified? Explain.
• Aside from helping with homework, in what other ways can parents become involved in their children’s academic affairs?

Discussion B

• How can less parent involvement affect the lives of children?
• How much time do you think parents should spare to help their children with tasks? Explain.