Late last year Stable Research interviewed 333 families, with an even split of those with children in the household aged 5-11, about some key issues that parents with school aged children face each day. Here is what we found:
Best time to start children at school – Department of Education recommendations rule! While 62% of people said, they would send children to school within the age range specified by the Department of Education in their states, 17% relied on advice received from their child’s pre-school, 12% said they would hold them back and 8% said they would send them early.
Mobile phones – starting high school is the preferred option. Only 2% believed that giving a child a mobile phone when they start school was the right choice. Once they start high school was the preferred option with 54% of parents while 19% believed that mid-way through high school was the right time. 8% believed that the right age related to a time when children could pay phone costs themselves.
Making their own way to school – 16% felt that children shouldn’t make their own way to school until they were over 14 years old. There was quite a broad range of thought about the right time to let children make their own way to school. There was not much support for those under 9 years old making their own way to school. 20% of parents believed that between the ages of 9 and 10 was just right, 29% supported 11 to 12 years old, 27% supported 13 to 14 years old and 16% felt that it wasn’t appropriate until the child was over 14 years old.
Mode of travelling alone to school – Walking and bus rides rule! Nearly 70% of parents indicated that their children walked to school with 63% travelling by bus. Surprisingly, bike travel accounted for nearly 60% of solo journeys to school and scooter or skateboard accounted for 28%. Train travel proved the least common method at 17%.
Picking up and dropping off protocol – nearly 80% of parents go into the school or use kiss & ride areas. Only 10% said they would drop their children or pick them up nearby the school with 47% advising they go into the school or playground and 33% use school kiss & ride areas when dropping off or collecting their children.
Who’s on the pick-up list? Grandparents prove more popular than partners.
80% of respondents indicated they have grandparents and/or other family members listed to collect their children from school while 75% list their partners. Surprisingly 6% of people said they would add anyone who volunteers and 5% said they always pick them up themselves.
Ordering lunch at school – tuck-shop treats on special occasions only. 40% of parents believe that ordering lunch at school should only be on special occasions. While the time was a factor in allowing children to order their lunch for 21% of parents only 3% indicated they would let their children order lunch twice a week. 29% indicated a preference for once a week tuck-shop lunch orders for their child/children.
Socialising with parents of children’s friends – the majority said yes – but only if you like them. While children get on with making friends another major issue during the school years involves socialising with other parents. 27% believed it was essential to socialise with the parents of their child’s friend, 36% believed it was good to socialise but only if you like them. 32% thought they only needed to socialise when it was required, but 5% preferred not to socialise at all.
Volunteering at school – just another expectation. 15% of parents felt that volunteering was just another expectation of their children’s attendance at school. It was a relatively even split when it came to attitudes to volunteering with 45% believing that they must be involved and 40% believing that it isn’t necessary.
Expectations about access to the child’s teacher – nearly half believe contact direct when they need them. Over a quarter of parents said they expect to email them about anything, 17% said they would only contact them with major concerns like bullying, but nearly half said they expected to contact teachers whenever they needed them. Only 9% said that the school had a policy about teacher contact that they were expected to follow.