Not so soggy: surprising nostalgia revealed for school dinners

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Research conducted by distance learning specialist Home Learning College to coincide with the start of new academic year highlights the things British adults miss most from school. The most positive memories relate to time spent with friends and finishing at 3pm. An unexpected nostalgia for school dinners was also revealed.

Making a surprise appearance in the poll was the much-maligned school dinner, with 8 per cent of the vote.

As the new academic year begins, British adults have shared the things they miss most from their years of education – and it’s not the act of learning! The most positive memories associated with school are time spent with friends and finishing at 3pm, according to research conducted by distance learning specialist Home Learning College. An unexpected nostalgia for school dinners was also revealed.

The findings have been released to coincide with the start of term, and are part of a wider study by Home Learning College into attitudes towards past learning and future development. The survey found the most common happy school memory was spending all day with mates, as chosen by 44 per cent of respondents. Knocking-off in the middle of the afternoon came a close second, with 42 per cent of the vote.

The study reveals that this desire for shorter hours remains with many people throughout life, as demonstrated by the quarter of over 55s who still hanker after the early finish of their school years. On a more serious note, a third also report missing the way full time education broadened their minds.

Making a surprise appearance in the poll was the much-maligned school dinner, with 8 per cent of the vote. Teachers were also fondly recalled by 10 per cent, showing the positive influence these role models can exert over pupils’ adult lives.

Science experiments, school trips and team sports featured on the list, while a rebellious 6 per cent reminisced about smoking behind the bike sheds and bunking off. In contrast, 17 per cent reported undiluted pleasure at leaving school, saying they don’t miss anything from that time of life.

Fondest school memories:
1    Spending all day with friends    44%
2    Finishing at 3pm    42%
3    Broadening my mind/ studying a range of subjects    23%
4    School trips/ playing team sports    19%
5    Fraternising with fellow pupils    14%
6    Teachers    10%
7    Science experiments    9%
8    School dinners    8%
9    Smoking behind the bike sheds/bunking off    6%

“We’re often told that school days are the best of our lives, and our research demonstrates that certain happy memories from this time stay with us throughout adulthood. The attraction of the 3pm finish is particularly apparent, with many clearly wishing for similar working hours.

“One thing which is clear from our own data is that the start of a new academic year triggers a ‘back to school’ response in adults as well as children. This is evidenced by the 25 per cent increase in enquiries we receive about our courses each September, despite the fact that people can enrol on our distance learning programmes at any time of the year.

“The great news is that studying as an adult can be a highly rewarding and positive experience which uncovers hidden talents. Many of our students tell us that gaining new qualifications in later life has not only boosted their career but also their confidence and self-respect.”

For more 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