Are children happy?

  • Self-reported life satisfaction tends to decline between Year 3 (ages 7-8) and Year 13 (ages 17-18).
  • Boys and girls show very similar levels of life satisfaction at primary school, but at secondary school girls' satisfaction declines faster than that of boys.
  • Pupils in the north of England tend to be more satisfied than those in the south. Among other things, this suggests that there isn't a positive correlation between life satisfaction and academic performance.
  • The factors that influence children's life satisfaction differ markedly between between boys and girls, and between primary and secondary school pupils.

Figure 1: Average wellbeing score by year group and gender
Note: Sample sizes for each data point are in the range 400-11,900.
Sources: EduKit; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Distributions of life satisfaction scores by gender
Note: Sample sizes for each gender are in the range 25,600-27,900.
Sources: EduKit; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 3: Life satisfaction, Attainment 8 and Progress 8 scores by region
Note: Sample sizes for each region are in the range 1,900-13,500.
Sources: EduKit; Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 4: Correlation of statements with overall life satisfaction
Note: Sample sizes for each pupil group are in the range 8,100-27,900.
Sources: EduKit; SchoolDash analysis.
  1. In the interests of full disclosure, there is no commercial relationship between SchoolDash and EduKit; we're just friends. :)
  2. There were nevertheless some biases in the sample. Far more responses came from secondary school pupils (85% of the total) than primary school pupils (15%); more were gathered in the autumn term (44%) and spring term (41%) than in the summer term (15%); and there were more from boys (52%) than from girls (48%). In addition, some ethnic minorities – notably pupils of black African and Pakistani descent – were somewhat over-represented. London was relatively over-represented at the expense of Yorkshire and the Humber, which was under-represented.
  3. For any given year group, the pupils surveyed each term were not necessarily the same, though some pupils did complete more than one survey during the course of the year.
  4. Attainment 8 and Progress 8 scores are for the 2017-2018 academic year. Note that they represent all state-school pupils in each region, not just the subset of pupils who completed EduKit's surveys.

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