The Good Childhood Inquiry aimed to renew society's understanding of childhood, and to inform, improve and inspire all our relationships with children

Boy and girl in bedroom

The Good Childhood® Inquiry was commissioned by The Children's Society and launched in September 2006 as the UK's first independent national inquiry into childhood. Its aims were to renew society's understanding of modern childhood and to inform, improve and inspire all our relationships with children.

Evidence was contributed by over 30,000 people – including over 20,000 children – taking part in polls, research and focus groups. The research was far-reaching and included children from all walks of life including children in prison, children in pupil referral units, children in early-years settings, refugee children, disabled children and many other marginalised groups.

The result is the report A Good Childhood: Searching for values in a competitive age, published on 5 February 2009. It was authored by Richard Layard and Judy Dunn. The report includes recommendations from the panel to parents, teachers, the Government, the media and society in general.

While The Good Childhood Inquiry was commissioned by The Children's Society, the inquiry panel, their report and their recommendations are independent.

The Good Childhood® is a registered trademark of The Children's Society.

Following the success of the Good Childhood Inquiry, we have continued to produce this piece of research every year. Here, you can find a summary of some of the most recent findings.

Summary of 2015 findings

  •  In a new international study of children’s well-being, children in England ranked 14thout of 15 countries for satisfaction with life as a whole.
  •  Children in England are among the most unhappy with their school life in the world. This increased with age as almost twice as many children in Year 6 (10 and 11 year olds) (34%) totally agreed that they liked going to school compared to Year 8 (12 and 13 year olds) (18%).
  • One in nine children (11%) are unhappy with their school life.
  • 38% of children (10 and 12 year olds) in England are bullied each month and half have felt excluded by their peer group.
  • Girls in England were bottom of the international rankings in terms of happiness with their body confidence, appearance and self-esteem, and were twice as likely as boys to say they were unhappy with their bodies (18% vs 8%)
  • Half of children (52%) who don’t live with their family, including those who are ‘looked after’ in residential or foster care, had low overall well-being. This compares to fewer than one in 10 (9%) children who live with their families.