Nine in ten teachers in the north west wish schools were preparing students for more than just exams

Date published: 14 May 2019

A survey out last week shows parents, pupils and teachers across the North all agree there now needs to be a significant shift in the education system. Charity Big Change and the Innovation Unit have released a new report on re-imagining education.

Survey data from YouGov and TeacherTapp shows that teachers, students and parents want less focus on cramming for exams:

  • 87% of teachers throughout the north west think school is preparing children for exams, but almost four fifths (78%) teachers wish exams were not the main focus.
  • Less than half (43%) of all children aged 11-18 across the North of England/ Scotland think school should prepare young people for passing exams – compared with 72% who think they should be learning how to manage money and 69% who think they should be learning how to be better communicators.

Across the region teachers, parents and students all wanted to see more focus on preparing young people for the future and helping them to become good citizens:

  • 9 out of 10 (89%) of teachers throughout the north west wished school would focus more on improving children’s social and communication skills
  • The same number of teachers in the region also wanted to see more focus on teaching young people how to make a positive difference to society or the planet
  • Almost two-thirds of children aged 11-18 living in the north of England/ Scotland (65%) wish that education did more to help students learn about making a positive difference to society and the planet.
  • Over two thirds (68%) of teachers in the region wanted education to prioritise helping students get the job they want.

Students in the north/Scotland wanted to see a shift in how they learn, beyond the traditional classroom setting:

  • Students aged 11-18 in the region feel they learn well when interacting with their peers (79%) and with other adults outside of school (40%) - yet this is not the norm in the current education system.

The survey shows widespread acknowledgement that the education system needs a significant change, but currently, that change is not coming.

The survey also revealed three-quarters of teachers (71%) across the country, thought the Government held the most power to positively reform education. With teachers stating students (8%) and employers (5%) held the least power.

The survey results come at a time when politicians are being accused of being distracted by Brexit, with very little meaningful change to education policy in recent years.

The new report from Big Change and Innovation Unit demonstrates how important it is for parents, teachers and pupils to be brought along, as well as the communities around them.

The ‘Reimagining Education Together' report highlights twenty examples from across the world of pioneers who are making change happen in their schools, communities and on a broader scale. They show how businesses, parents, governments and whole communities can come together to reimagine education and take learning beyond the classroom.

Essie North, CEO of Big Change, said: “How we approach education - what we prioritise, how we learn and who we value - sets the tone for many patterns throughout society. Yet it is often seen as someone else’s problem, something too entrenched to change, or simply just the way things are done.

“Through exploring global bright spots of change we have seen that the journey to reimagining education starts with people from across the education ecosystem who are not prepared to accept the status quo.

“They question not only the process but also the purpose of education. They have the vision to look at what we collectively need for the long term. The courage to start the journey when there isn’t a road map. And the humility to recognise that it can’t (and shouldn’t) be done alone.

“We hope this report reawakens the potential in each of us to play an active role in how we lead change and support the next generation.”

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online