‘Pester power’ costs parents £460 a year

Parents spend around £460 a year on average on things they do not need after giving in to the pestering of their children, a survey claims.

The study, of children aged two to 15, found that sweets, snacks and junk food were among the most popular items, with four in 10 pestering their parents for treats.

They also demanded a host of other less likely purchases. DIY tools (13 per cent) and cleaning products featured in advertisements (8 per cent) were among the items parents bought after persuasion from their children.

When it came to parental defences, half of those questioned said they told a child they could not afford a particular item, while one on five distracted their offspring with a snack.

One in eight (13 per cent) went so far as to promise their child their desired item – but never bought it.

Ten per cent of those questioned said they caved in and bought their child whatever they wanted as they could not be bothered to deal with the fuss.

Parents forced into debt to pay for school uniforms

Parents are being forced to fork out hundreds of pound to kit out their children for attending state schools, according to a survey out today.

The average cost for kitting out a primary school pupil is now £156 – including uniforms, coats and bags – and £285 for a secondary school.

According to the charity Family Action, which carried out the survey, the cost has increased as the number of flagship academies and free schools increases.

The charity points out that this means parents on the poverty line are being forced to spend up to two-fifths of their income in August on back-to-school costs.

“Many schools use the transition to academy status as an opportunity for rebranding – which often includes changing the uniform,” says their report, The Big Stitch Up. “Although some headteachers will argue that rebranding a school can have a positive effect, it can also result in parents having to pay a significant penalty in back-to-school costs.”

The survey of 13 state schools – 10 secondary and three primary – unearthed one example of an academy where 70 per cent of parents had to take out loans to pay for the new £225 uniform.  The previous uniform for the old school had cost £99.

The charity is urging schools to scrap specially branded school uniforms let parents shop around for plan, standard clothing from a retailer of their choice.

The report adds that local authority school uniform grants are now a “postcode lottery” – with several offering nothing at all in the way of help for parents.

Advice from the Department for Education says schools should “make certain that the uniform chosen is affordable and does not act as a barrier to parents when choosing a school”.

University degree ‘worth less than some apprenticeships’

A university degree is worth less than some apprenticeships, according to a survey which found that most employers would prefer to take on a “higher apprentice” than a graduate.graduation

Qualified apprentices scored four per cent higher on an “employability” scale than university graduates, and 15 per cent higher than the average of all other types of qualification.

People who had completed so-called “higher apprenticeships”, a new scheme which combines on-the-job training with education for school leavers, were considered 25 per cent more employable by a group of 500 employers.

Subjects in which the programme is available include Contact Centre Operations and “Work based learning for Practitioners” along with more traditional courses such as Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The survey was commissioned by the Department for Business as it launched an online guide to higher apprenticeships in 41 subjects which will be available to school leavers this year.

Employers rated on a scale of one to 10 how employable they considered people with a variety of different qualifications to be, with one being the least employable and 10 being the most.

People with higher, or degree-level, apprenticeships scored 7.98 overall while university graduates were ranked second highest with 7.58. The lowest scoring group was people with only GCSEs, who scored 5.14.

Higher apprenticeships allow participants to earn a wage while studying towards a degree-level qualification, and are offered by a range of businesses including management consultancies, public relations firms and science and engineering companies.

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