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Parents Want Better Practical Skills Teaching

07/09/2010

Parents want better teaching of practical skills such as woodwork as children go back to school this September, according to a children's educational toy industry survey.

By James Tweedie

A new survey by TNS, commissioned by toymaker JAKKS Pacific, found that 93 per cent of British adults aged 16 to 64 think that practical skills are just as important as purely academic subjects.

However,three-quarter of parents surveyed said that schools weren't devoting enough time to supporting children looking for careers in this area.

And some 74 per cent of parents thought that apprenticeships and internships are just as good a preparation for working life as a university degree.

Apprenticeships and vocational school qualifications were promoted by the previous Labour Party government of prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as part of a drive to make state education more business-friendly and work-orientated.

But at the same time New Labour introduced university tuition and top-up fees, which made it more difficult for school-leavers to pursue further education and academic careers.

Support for practical skills training in schools was greater among older parents, the poll found.

Some35 per cent of parents wanted to encourage their children to spend their playtime on creative hobbies and children's craft kits.

Speaking at the launch of JAKKS Pacific's new Real Construction children's craft kit range at the Westfield shopping centre branch of toy shop The Entertainer in London on September 1, celebrity DIY expert Tommy Walsh agreed with the survey findings.

He said: "Products like this can never be a replacement for practical teaching in schools but they can help support children's development outside of the classroom.

"This kind of practical activity also has significant educational benefits;helping children to develop problem solving and logic skills, as well as creative skills."

Mr Walsh continued: "In this computer-dominated age, it's important for children to value and explore their practical side and toys like Real Construction allow kids to acquire hands-on skills that will help them throughout their lives."

Real Construction uses a combination of realistic tools and Kid-Wood, a unique, durable foam material specially designed to look, saw, nail and build just like real wood, but which is easy-to-use, safe, and mess-free.

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