Image: Wikimedia Image: Wikimedia

Our school days are often called the best time of our lives, but new research suggests otherwise, as nearly one in three British adults say it wasn’t enough to prepare them for adult life.

Almost a third of Britons (32%) wish they had learnt more about money and DIY in school, and less about fractions and square roots, according to research from Oxford Open Learning Trust.

Distance learning provider Oxford Open Learning Trust created the Would You Pass? Quiz to put adults to the test to find out which questions from modern exams - like Citizenship and Health and Social Care - they would be able to answer correctly.

Each year, the Trust serves learners that might need an extra qualification such as a GCSE or A Level in order to get their desired job and start a new career.

The survey of over 1,000 adults found half of women wish they had been taught basic DIY skills while at school and over a quarter (26%) of men wish they had been taught how to cook a healthy meal.

The research also found almost a fifth (18%) of 18 to 24 year olds said they strongly disagreed that school set them up well for real life, when asked if they feel their school education prepared them for adult life.

Just 13% of adults surveyed overall said they strongly agreed that school prepared them for adult life and work.

The top 10 skills adults wish they’d been taught in school are:

  1. Basic DIY Skills (46%)
  2. How to write a CV (35%)
  3. Self defence (33%)
  4. Car maintenance (32%)
  5. How to manage money (31%)
  6. About credit cards and debt (30%)
  7. Different types of taxes and how they are paid (28%)
  8. How to stop a leak (25%)
  9. How to cook a healthy meal (25%)
  10. Mental health awareness (22%)
It’s not just life skills many Brits wish they had learnt more about. When asked which modern subjects they wish were an option when they took their GCSEs, a fifth (20%) of 18 to 24 year olds would have taken Food Preparation and Nutrition.

Top five modern GCSE subjects Brits wish they could've taken:

  1. Computer science (40%)
  2. Law (24%)
  3. Psychology (24%)
  4. Business Studies (22%)
  5. Economics (21%)
However, when asked what the best lessons learnt at school were, many listed life lessons such as ‘be yourself’, how to ‘get on with other people’ and to ‘respect everyone’ were listed as top reasons.

Dr Nick Smith, Courses Director and founder of Oxford Open Learning Trust, said: “There is definitely a correlation between skills we wish we had learned and subjects we wish we could have taken, in that they are practical life skills that we now encounter daily.

“Core subjects are still important to education and job prospects but learning shouldn’t stop there - some of the more modern GCSEs are great for teaching a more vocational set of skills.

“School is full of many life lessons, but maybe now it’s time we start to incorporate realistic skills into the curriculum.”