School days were the stuff of nightmares for the majority of Brits – Chance to Shine survey

The majority of British people would describe their old school days as a ‘nightmare’.

Mathematics, PE and cross-country have people waking up in a sweat, while English gave them sweet dreams, according to a poll of 1,500 adults commissioned by Chance to Shine to mark ‘Brit Insurance National Cricket Day’ on 23 June.

Asked to describe their experience of school from the age of eight to 16, over half of those surveyed (52%) said it was a ‘nightmare’, with people in the North East having the most nightmarish school days (59%). North Ireland enjoyed the most dreamlike school days (61%), followed by Yorkshire (60%).

A quarter of adults (26%) said maths gave them the most nightmares at school with nearly a third of women (31%) fearing the subject; compared to just under a fifth of men (18%). Maths teachers came top of the list of ‘nightmare teachers’, while almost a third of people (31%) said they never had a dream teacher during the whole of their school days.

English was voted the most popular lesson; with almost a fifth (18%) saying it was their ‘dream’ subject, above History (8%), Art (7%) and Drama (2%).

Cross-country was equally unpopular for both male and female respondents with a fifth saying it was their most nightmarish sport. Overall, PE was the subject that made adults bunk off school the most and they were three times more likely to try and skip out of PE than maths.

Chance to Shine is hoping that its day of cricket-themed activity can help give children better memories of PE than those of their parents.

Wasim Khan, Chief Executive of the Cricket Foundation said: “It’s a shame that people have such bad memories of school and in particular of PE. We hope that Chance to Shine and events like Brit Insurance National Cricket Day can help turn these school sport nightmares into childhood dreams.”

Chance to Shine’s survey also highlights the qualities of dream teachers, including their enthusiasm (61%), knowledge of their subject (57%) and friendliness (52%). Nightmare teachers were deemed unfriendly (45%), grumpy (45%) and impatient (43%).

The nation’s dream staff room would include Johnny Ball (Maths), Stephen Fry (English), Professor Brian Cox (Science) and Sir Steve Redgrave (PE); while their nightmare staff room would involve Kerry Katona (English), Katie Price (Science) and Wayne Rooney (PE).

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