The top 10 life skills Brits wish they learnt at school

The top 10 life skills Brits wish they learnt at school
Stress in the workplace reached an all-time high in 2022

The jump from education to adulthood can feel like a big transition, and new research reflects how British students are not getting taught by schools, colleges or universities what they need to know when they leave for the ‘real world.'

Almost nine in ten (85 per cent) Brits who attended school think the British education curriculum should include more practical skills that have a tangible use in the adult world.

In fact, 90 per cent of those polled believe that students would benefit from being taught key life skills outside of the classroom.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

According to research commissioned by global learning platform Quizlet, over half (57 per cent) of Brits agree that most of the things they learnt at school haven’t helped them in the real world.

Instead, people are learning life skills through other means as almost three-quarters (72 per cent) relied on older relatives to teach them important life skills.

When it comes to classroom learning, more than a third (35 per cent) say they’ve never used anything they learnt at school since they’ve graduated.

The research reveals the practical knowledge Brits didn’t get taught at school, and looks at the topics students wish they could have studied that would have a practical use in their post-student lives.

The top ten life skills Brits wish they had been taught at school are:

  1. How to go about getting a mortgage
  2. How to buy a house
  3. How to set up a private pension and the value of doing this
  4. How to set up payments for bills and what bills you have to pay (water rates, TV licence, council tax, etc)
  5. How to start a business
  6. What kind of savings account is best
  7. How to pay taxes
  8. How to organise home / car / life insurance
  9. How to write a business plan
  10. How to change a tyre

These missing skills can be particularly acute for young people just finishing up their education and starting to look for employment or accommodation away from the comfort of their family home, and are faced with bills, taxes and other new challenges for the first time.

Whilst the results of the study suggest that the national curriculum is failing to provide students with key information that will be useful for life outside of education, it’s clear that Brits also think some of what is being taught is irrelevant once you’ve left school or university.

The top ten most useless things Brits learnt at school and haven’t used, or spoken about since:

  1. How to use a Bunsen burner
  2. Algebra
  3. Pythagoras' Theorem
  4. How to throw a javelin
  5. How to play the recorder
  6. The Periodic Table
  7. Quotes from William Shakespeare
  8. The first digits of Pi
  9. The parts of a cell
  10. How to dissect an animal

"These findings really drive home the benefits of non-academic learning," said Rahim Hirji, UK Country Manager, at Quizlet.

"Although many may argue that it isn’t the responsibility of academic institutions to teach young people life skills, the findings prove, young Brits would welcome the opportunity to learn important real-world knowledge, at school.

“While Quizlet is known for helping students revise for exams, we’re also proud to offer a range of resources for anyone looking to better equip themselves for life after education.

He added: "From preparing for your driving test, to writing a business plan, there is a wide variety of games, quizzes and flashcards available to plug the gaps left by formal education.”

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)