Following the launch of our short Good Childhood Index in October 2010, The Children’s Society has heard from more than 50 organisations and individuals around the UK who are interested in using the index to explore the well-being of the children and young people with whom they work.

In spring 2011, Essex county council included questions from the Good Childhood Index in a survey that they carried out with 12,000 school children in years 4 to 12. We are currently working together to see how levels of well-being in Essex compare with national averages. The Good Childhood Index has also now been used in a secondary school in Cheltenham and St Ethelwold’s Primary School in Flintshire.

The short Good Childhood Index asks children about overall well-being and 10 key areas of their lives via 16 questions that have been developed following cycles of consultation and research with children.

The index is designed for use with children aged eight and upwards and is concise enough to be administered on its own or in already existing surveys. It works best with larger samples of children (eg over 100) and we can compare responses with national averages, and monitor changes in well-being over time. 

A longer index with more detailed questions in each of the 10 key areas of children’s lives has also been developed, and this is more suited for use with smaller samples of children.

Please email the research unit on if you are interested in using either the short or the upcoming longer Good Childhood Index.

The Good Childhood ProgrammeChildren at bus stop

The Good Childhood team develops a child-centred programme of work around assessing children and young people’s subjective well-being in schools, communities and local authorities. Read our latest survey of children and young people run in partnership with Portsmouth City Council.

The well-being survey

The well-being survey is used to assess children’s well-being and covers a wide range of circumstances, from family relationships and school experience through to ideas about improving the area where they live. The survey is anonymous, children are not asked to give their name or any other detail other than their age and gender. The survey has been developed with the University of York and with their support and validation the survey has been used to gather the experiences of more than 42,000 children across England.

The national picture

Each set of local findings can be compared with our national research. The survey also has the capacity to be used as a benchmarking tool that enables a school or service to assess the well-being of young people on an annual basis and to consider how interventions and actions can affect their well-being. Of course it is not just concerns and needs that are identified but also things to celebrate and to identify where children in a local area are doing well. 


Interactive consultation session

The next step sees us consult with children and young people to gain their perspective of the survey results and to amplify the findings. We can also consult with younger and disabled children directly instead of using the Good Childhood survey. This consultation provides children and young people with time and space to tell us what really matters to them. Methods of consultation are designed to be fun and interactive. 

Local Good Childhood events

The consultations with the survey results are compiled into a report and then become a key element of our Good Childhood events. We facilitate these events in local communities and for professional groups to take forward into actions that improve local settings and facilities for children and young people.

Tops and pants consultation activity in Chester

Tops and pants consultation activity in Chester.


In 2009 The Children's Society published The Good Childhood Inquiry, a ground breaking report into childhood in the 21st Century and since then has been helping communities to respond to the needs and concerns of children and young people.  Since 2011 The Children’s Society has produced an annual report into the subjective well-being of children across the nation. In order to help communities understand those needs and concerns, the national well-being survey has been adapted so it can be applied to local situations.