Lack of attention in maths and language lessons causes most regret

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Maths and languages top the list of subjects people most wish they had paid greater attention to in school, according to new research conducted by distance learning specialist, Home Learning College.

24 per cent of adults would have chosen a different career path if they had paid more attention in school.

It may be the most dreaded lesson on the timetable for many, but maths tops the list of subjects people most wish they had paid greater attention to in school, alongside languages. Over a third of British adults harbour regret at their earlier attitude towards these topics, according to new research conducted by distance learning specialist, Home Learning College.

Other subjects featured on the list include science, with 23 per cent of the vote, history with 22 per cent and English with 19 per cent. The research was conducted as part of Home Learning College’s ‘Welcome Back to Learning’ campaign, which sheds light on people’s attitudes towards their previous and ongoing education.

When asked to explain why they wish they had focused more in certain subjects, almost a quarter (24 per cent) say they would have chosen a different career path, while 16 per cent believe they would have a more rewarding job and earn more money. However, the most common reason was simply to feel more fulfilled on a personal level, as mentioned by 40 per cent.

In contrast, an unapologetic 7 per cent claimed to have no regret about their lack of dedication in any lesson, claiming that they didn’t like anything about school.

Top 10 subjects people wish they had paid more attention to in school:
Maths and languages    34%
Science    23%
History    22%
English    19%
Geography    18%
Music    11%
ICT    10%
Art    9%
Design and technology    7%

“The way in which some subjects are taught at school can make it hard for young people to appreciate their value in later life,” says Dave Snow, Academic Director at Home Learning College. “As we get older, we are often exposed to situations that require the knowledge we should have acquired in those lessons, which can lead to feelings of disappointment and regret. Similarly, many people find that their career prospects are limited by their earlier approach to education.

“If that happens, it’s important to remember that these doors aren’t necessarily permanently closed. It’s often possible to embark on further study as an adult that will develop the skills and confidence required to pursue these new ambitions. Do your research and see what options are available at your local college or via distance learning.”

For information on Home Learning College’s range of professionally accredited distance learning courses please visit

About Home Learning College
Home Learning College is the largest vocational distance learning provider in the UK, and is accredited by the National Union of Students (NUS), allowing its 55,000 students to enjoy the discounts and services available with the NUS Extra Card.

All Home Learning College courses lead to professional CV-enhancing, employer recognised qualifications, including AAT, Sage, CompTIA, Microsoft, ICB and CIW. Subjects covered include book-keeping, accounting, IT and computing, web design and many more.

Home Learning College students benefit from a dedicated in-house tutoring service and the Virtual Learning Community - an online learning environment which facilitates the delivery of course material and peer networking.

For more information on all courses visit Home Learning College, follow us on Twitter @home_learning or check out student testimonials and other video content on our YouTube channel:

Tor Goldfield
Home Learning College Communications Manager
Tel: 020 8676 6258
Mobile: 07843 335606
Email: tor.goldfield(at)homelearningcollege(dot)com


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Tor Goldfield