Background to the programme

Teenage girl

In 2005, The Children's Society included two key questions on well-being in a national survey that we carried out with 14 to 16-year-olds in England.

These questions enabled 8,000 young people to tell us in their own words what they think makes for, and what prevents, a good life for young people. Their comments mostly related to a number of key topics that fit under the three headings of 'self', 'relationships' and 'environments'. 

Using these ideas as an organising framework, we developed, in 2008, our first ever survey of children and young people’s subjective well-being in partnership with the University of York. This survey was carried out with a representative sample of 7,000 10 to 15-year-olds in England. 

Analysis of the 2008 survey led to the development of The Good Childhood Index, a short index of subjective well-being that can be used to measure trends and differences in the well-being of children and young people at the population level. 

In late 2010 and early 2011, we conducted the second wave of our well-being survey in primary and secondary schools across England. This survey allowed us to validate new measures for our longer index of children's well-being and to test ideas that we have about the factors that are associated with high or low well-being. It also supported the development of a new child-centred index of material deprivation.

In 2010, we also set up a quarterly survey through an existing household panel. Each wave of the survey consists of a representative sample of 2,000 children aged eight to 15 living in the UK.

The findings from all of these surveys were consolidated in our landmark The Good Childhood Report 2012, which was launched in January 2012.

If you would like to know more about our events or any other aspect of this exciting research programme, please contact well-being@childrenssociety.org.uk with your questions, or register for regular updates.