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The largest survey of its kind, we listen to parents' greatest concerns.

About The National Parent Survey

The largest survey of its kind, the National Parent Survey provides educators and policy makers, at every level of government, with unique insight into the views of parents.

Parentkind commissioned YouGov to survey 5,126 parents across the UK in June 2023 because research shows that parents who are listened to and supported help their children succeed in their education.

The National Parent Survey 2023 reveals that parents don’t feel listened to or supported, they are worried about their children’s anxiety and addiction to electronic devices.

Too many children don’t enjoy learning at school or their parents tell us their child doesn’t feel safe when they go to school. The cost-of-living crisis is also hitting parents hard with many parents, even those on middle incomes, telling us they are struggling to afford costs associated with sending their child to school.

This survey is full of data that should make us all sit up and think again about the barriers preventing children from succeeding in education and how we support parents.

Our hope is that the National Parent Survey will play an important part in ensuring that the voice of parents is heard.


Parents actively engaging in their child’s education is critical to their life outcomes.

However, family characteristics, location and individual children’s needs, coupled with today’s climate of school cuts and the cost-of-living crisis, to name a few, can all affect the extent to which parents can actively support and engage in education.

If parents are unable to support their children’s learning in and out of school then those children will not thrive through and beyond education as others might.

Parentkind’s purpose is to:

support parents and enhance their voice to maximise every child’s chance of reaching their academic potential and thriving during their educational journey.

Involving parents more deeply in education first requires an understanding of what they think about their child’s school experience now.

This report uncovers major parental concerns, whether that’s about negative influences on their child’s mental health and wellbeing or their own financial worries about paying for school uniforms, resources and additional learning experiences.

By addressing the challenges faced by parents head-on and ensuring fair access to resources, we can collectively work towards an education landscape that maximises the potential of parental participation and in so doing, nurtures happy, well-rounded, future-ready students.

Let's take a look.

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Over 2.8 million children live in households where their parents are struggling to afford the cost of sending them to school.





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The cost of education - Parents' concerns in their own words

Parents' concerns in their own words

1 in 3 parents are concerned about the costs of their child being at school.

With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to affect many families, we were keen to understand the extent to which parents across the UK are concerned by the costs they face associated with their child’s school.

Uniforms top the list of school costs that are especially concerning to parents. This is closely followed by school trips and school meals.

Other expenditures such as technology costs, transport to and from school, materials for specific classes (e.g. art, music or PE) and before and after-school clubs are also particularly concerning to at least one in six parents.

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struggle to afford the costs associated with sending their child to school.

Many families not eligible for support with free school meals also tell us they are struggling.

This is concerning because our report highlights multiple areas where lower household income is strongly associated with increased challenges in supporting children's education, both within and outside of school, as well as a higher likelihood of children experiencing mental health issues.

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The cost of education - Parents top school costs concerns

Parents' top school cost concerns

More than 2.8 million children have experienced bullying; 1.6 million did not get sufficient support.





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Children's mental health - Parents' concerns in their own words

Parents' concerns in their own words

The ongoing impact of the pandemic continues to take a toll on children and young people.

Many parents continue to be concerned about a range of issues.

The amount of time their child spends on electronic devices (including phones, PCs, tablets, games consoles and TVs) tops the list alongside anxiety. Exam stress is third.

These, plus the impact of social media and depression, are more common amongst parents with a child in secondary/post-primary or post-16, whilst primary school parents are more concerned about bullying. Parents with a child eligible for free school meals are more concerned about depression than those with a child not eligible.

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children have self-harmed at least once.

Parents identify the mental health and wellbeing issues their children have experienced

Children's mental health experiences
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4 in 10 children have experienced anxiety, and around 1 in 3 report exam or homework-related stress, according to parents.

More pronounced differences emerge when breaking the data down by free school meal eligibility, parenting a child with SEN and parent disability, which reveal a much higher incidence of almost all mental health conditions and pressures among the children affected, from universal experiences such as homework or anxiety through to clinical conditions such as depression and eating disorders.

There is a significant proportion of parents not satisfied or stating that no support has been offered to their child on all the issues in question, most acutely when a child is feeling the pressure to live upto the expectations of people/influencers on social media and/or spending too much time on electronic devices.

875,000 primary school children don’t have enough age-appropriate books at home.




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Learning outside school - Parents' concerns in their own words

Parents' concerns in their own words

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875,000 primary school children don’t have enough age-appropriate books at home.

This is likely having a knock-on effect on literacy and developing reading levels and impacting parents’ ability to support their child in reading at home.

This is particularly true for lower-income families, where 57% of families receiving free school meals indicated that cost was a major barrier to supporting their child’s education outside of school.

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primary school children read with their parents less than once every 6 months.

Barriers limiting children's access to activities

Parents already provide a wide range of formal and informal support for their children’s learning outside school, but around one in seven feel that they don't know how best to support their child outside school and would benefit from clearer guidance from schools as to what would be most helpful to their child's development.

Learning outside school - barriers to activities

About Parentkind

As a national federated charity, Parentkind gives those with a parenting role a voice in education.

We invest substantial resources in representing parent views on their child’s learning to local, regional, and national governments and agencies. Evidence tells us that parental participation in education benefits all children in all schools and society as a whole.

Parentkind’s network of 12,800 Parent Teacher Associations mobilises over 100,000 volunteer fundraisers to raise in excess of £120 million annually to fund vital equipment and services for our schools.

Sign up for updates on our work

Help us share the voice of parents

We will be sharing the voice of parents on all of our social channels as well as the key findings from the report.

We have created a social media toolkit which includes ready-made posts for you to download and share on your social channels.

Thank you for your support in helping to make sure the voice of parents is heard.


The National Parent Survey was conducted online by YouGov.

The fieldwork took place from 5th – 26th June amongst 5,126 parents in England (3,067), Scotland (1,032), Wales (768) and Northern Ireland (259) who have at least one child aged 4-18 in school.

The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK parents aged 18+. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Analysis and reporting was carried out by ParentKind.

In 2023, the entire sample was increased to a minimum of 5,000 from a previous count of 3,750, extending the sample size in Wales and including Scotland for the first time. Given the changes to the sample size and composition, comparisons with previous years’ data are not possible.

Margin of error

As the survey is not polling the entire population of parents in the UK, but rather a sample of the population, results are subject to a margin of error which is estimated to be between 0.5 and 2.5 percentage points for the whole sample.

The exact margin of error varies with the proportion considered. This means that, if for instance, according to the survey 28% of respondents strongly agree that they would like to have a say on their children’s education at school level, in reality the proportion is likely to be between 25.5% and 30.5% (i.e. the margin of error would be +/-2.5%).

Statistically significant differences in results for particular demographic sub-groups are mentioned in the report.

Where we’ve made reference to pupil numbers in the report, these have been estimated using information on the total number of primary, secondary or all pupils in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland published by the respective national governments for academic year 2022/23.

Where, for example, 20% of all parents reported that their child had experienced a particular issue, we have assumed that this would be true for 20% of all pupils.