Friends and family have more influence on a parent’s view of a school or college than a head teacher or careers advisors.
A third of parents do not believe that the education their child has received has enabled them to achieve their full potential.
Over 90% of parents believe they and their children have made informed decisions about education.
Choice of study-course, teaching reputation, location and position in league tables are the factors most likely to influence a parent’s view of a university. Tuition fees and living costs were ranked #12 and #8 respectively out of a list of 16.
Parents rank themselves, school teachers, friends and other family members as the most influential (in that order) in decisions about which academy, school or college their child would attend.
Students rate their parents’ influence on the decision relating to which academy, school or college they would attend almost as highly as parents do.
For students, location is the most important factor in this decision-making process. Exam results, progression into further study, a safe and supportive atmosphere and good buildings and equipment are also ranked highly.
The research shows just how much sway parents have on the education choices of young people. Parents are at the heart of the decision-making process, and they in turn are heavily influenced by the views of other family and friends.
The results also raise important questions about the role of professional careers advice in the decision making process – family and individual teachers appear to have much more influence on choices than independent advisors.
Beyond the main findings there is a wealth of information in this research to help teachers, managers, policy makers and education communications professionals understand who and what shapes the decisions about where people want to study.
The full survey data, which we are making freely available to CIPR members, is likely to be particularly useful for communications and public relations professionals seeking to understand who drives the reputation of different education institutions, and what matters most to different groups.
Louise Jaggs, chair of the CIPR Education & Skills Group
The CIPR Education and Skills Group is one of a number of regional, national and sectoral CIPR groups, each run on a voluntary basis by a committee made up of CIPR members. Established in June 2003, the Group’s objective is to provide mutually constructive support to members operating in the education and skills sector. The Group aims to emphasise the professional role and credibility of PR professionals in the education and skills sector by providing a forum for serious debate and sharing of knowledge and experience. It is the only professional network to reflect the needs of the whole education sector, incorporating, schools, colleges, further and higher education institutions and professional development needs.