And I couldn’t agree more. I am pleased that Ofsted are looking outside the academic attainment ‘box’ with the launch of their new report Measuring happiness today. This is something we have been interested in for a long time at NPC.
Ofsted’s Children’s Rights Director, Dr Roger Morgan who developed a questionnaire to rate the happiness of children hopes that it ‘will provide the methodology for future research into the happiness of children in care in England.’ The questionnaire which encompasses 20 statements (each with a numeric value) developed through discussions with children and their views on the meaning of happiness, enables you to score an individual on a happiness scale.
The figures allocated to the statements young people tick have come from a judging process of 147 children and young people (living in care or away from home) scoring 100 different statements of things children might say about themselves. Those statements that were agreed mostly on were selected as part of the final questionnaire.
Children’s thoughts and opinions are invaluable and fundamental in the creation process of such tools. However I am not convinced this particular questionnaire provide a rigorous enough approach or the basis for methodology for future research.
Which is exactly why we created NPC’s Well-being Measure, a validated and rigorous tool pulling together the very best and tested academic research. It enables organisations to quantify the impact their interventions have on the subjective well-being of 11-16 year olds. It covers aspects such as self esteem, emotional well-being and resilience and tracks change over time. Unlike some in-house questionnaires it adds credibility to your evaluation and allows you to compare your group against a national baseline and see just how happy the young people you work with are. Our national baseline, which consists of young people that have so far completed the survey will be continually added to in the future so that we too can input into future research of the happiness of children across the UK.
Madeleine Griffin, Headteacher at Eltham Hill Technology College for Girls agrees of the importance of hearing from children themselves ‘there is nothing like direct feedback from students’ and speaks of NPC’s Well-being Measure as ‘a great tool, I would highly recommend it to other heads’.
The snapshot approach by Ofsted has a value. My colleague Catherine Boulton, Business Development Manager for NPC’s Well-being Measure says ‘tracking impact over time is even more valuable and is what commissioners and service provides care most about’. Our tool enables providers to track this change over time. And I am happy that it will further our understanding about what works in improving children’s well-being across the UK.