Teachers support schools measuring children’s wellbeing, according to a new research report from The Children’s Society charity.
A majority of UK teachers – 60% of those surveyed from over 8,800 – back the idea of yearly checks on children’s wellbeing in schools. This will help in making positive changes to enhance children’s lives and identifying and addressing issues early on.
The Children’s Society’s Good Childhood Report 2023 showed that the wellbeing of children and young people aged 10 to 15 in the UK has declined over the past 11 years. Research has linked low wellbeing to experiences of multiple disadvantages, financial strain, and poor physical or mental health.
Without national data on how children are faring, decision makers are less able to make policies and distribute resources which could help. This lack of information means potentially missing out on critical opportunities to improve young lives. Introducing these wellbeing surveys in schools could be a game-changer, helping us all to better understand and support children’s needs.
The Children’s Society recommends a national programme of children’s wellbeing measurement in schools should be delivered by the Government.
To make it happen, the charity’s research report recommends:
- a cross-government approach is led by the Cabinet Office to establish a programme of comprehensive measurement of children’s subjective wellbeing in schools in England
- this should include setting up a cross-government delivery unit to establish the school wellbeing measurement programme. A cross-government approach will ensure the responsibility for improving wellbeing does not fall solely on schools. It will also support the broader use of children’s wellbeing data in policymaking to improve children’s lives
- the delivery unit should include (but not be limited to) representatives from the Office for National Statistics, NHS England, Department for Education, Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, university partners, and the voluntary and community sector
- the Office for National Statistics – as an independent body already overseeing adult wellbeing data – should own the collection, analysis, and dissemination of children’s wellbeing data.
Amy Dicks, Policy and Impact Manager at The Children’s Society and report co-author, said:
“Teachers are telling us loud and clear what The Children’s Society has been calling for since 2019. Schools are best placed to support the measurement of children’s wellbeing annually, with the collaborative help of relevant local and national government bodies, and academic partners.
“We need to build up a national picture of how children are feeling. Doing so would result in considerable savings across education, care, health, and other relevant services. Improving early identification of need, effective prioritising of intervention, and the implementation of cross-system approaches will better serve children and young people.
“Children and young people deserve better. We urge the Government to listen to what teachers are saying about measuring children’s wellbeing and implement our recommendations to deliver a national measurement programme.”