1 in 4 adults wished they’d learned coding at school

Computers, News


A new study has shown the skills and subjects Brits wish they had been taught in school with self-confidence and mental health management topping the list.

The study, carried out by Matalan in conjunction with The Open University, also found that 25% of people wish they’d learned about coding and graphic design at school. 45-54 year olds are most in need of lessons in technical creativity with 27% saying they wish this had been on the curriculum when they were in school.

Many people are turning to YouTube to teach themselves coding and graphic design, with 72,400 searches a month for ‘graphic design’ and 59,200 searches a month for ‘coding’.

With children now back at school and a limited curriculum set to be the norm for many, Matalan wanted to know what core subjects and skills people already feel they missed out on in school. 

The findings of the study show there are key areas of life as an adult that people feel school simply didn’t prepare them for. While core subjects like English and maths are incredibly important, this study shows that many people feel there is a need for education on things that have a real-world application.

The study shows adults feel their formal education left them woefully unprepared for the real world, with technical skills and internet safety among the topics people said they’d like to see being taught in schools.

The study also found that while 15% of adults overall wish they’d been taught internet safety, women (17%) said they were more in need compared to men (11%). 35-44 year olds and people 55 and over are the most in need of education on internet safety, with 15% of each age group claiming they wish they were taught about it at school. 16-24 year olds feel most confident with internet safety as only 8% of this age group said they wish they’d been taught more. 

Says Jeff Howarth, Director of Marketing at Matalan:

“Our study shows there is a significant shift taking place towards a desire to see the curriculum going beyond academic education. While core subjects such as maths and English are vital for young people, it’s clear that life skills that have a real-world application are also essential to preparing our young people for adult life.”

To find out more about the study, see the full page on our site: https://www.matalan.co.uk/kids-clothing/school-uniform/back-to-school/school-of-life

Key findings:

  • 25% of people overall think they should have been taught technical creativity skills, like coding and graphic design, in school
  • 45-54 year olds are most interested in technical creativity, with 26% of people in this age group saying they wish they had picked up the skills at school
  • 15% wish they had been taught more about internet safety
  • People in the South West are most in need of internet safety education, with 18% saying they wish they had been taught in schools
  • Londoners want coding and graphic design on the curriculum the most, with 30% saying they think it should be on the curriculum
  • People in Northern Ireland have the least interest in technical creativity, with only 7% saying they wish they had learned these skills in school 

These are the 10 skills and subjects Brits wish they’d been taught in school

Rank Subject Percent of Brits
1 Self-confidence & mental health management 81%
2 Money management & investing 67%
3 Critical thinking skills 28%
4 Public speaking 27%
5 Coding & graphic design 25%
6 Conflict management 24%
7 Relationship values 21%
8 Creating positive relationships with food 17%
9 Internet safety 15%
10 Gender and LGBTQ+ education 7%




Chris Price
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