Why your interview matters: The Children's Society

“Without you we would not have been able to discover that there have been changes in children’s wellbeing over time," says Larissa Pople, The Children’s Society

The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local projects, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn.

Question and Answers

Could you tell us more about your role at the Children’s Society and the research?

I joined The Children’s Society in 2006 as a researcher on The Good Childhood Inquiry, which was an evidence-based, independent inquiry into what makes for a good childhood in modern Britain.

 More recently I have been working on The Children’s Society’s wellbeing research programme, which is well known for its annual Good Childhood Reports and local area explorations of wellbeing. I am also involved in The Children’s Society’s poverty research programme, including setting up a qualitative longitudinal study of poverty in partnership with the University of Bath."

Why did you use Understanding Society particularly?

We are extremely lucky in this country to have a number of excellent longitudinal studies and to count Understanding Society among them.

 Understanding Society is important to The Children’s Society as it contains self-report data directly from children on a range of topics of significance to them (and therefore to us).

One of these topics is children’s subjective wellbeing – and specifically children’s happiness with their life as a whole, their school, schoolwork, family, friends and appearance. These six questions have been of great interest to The Children’s Society and our long-standing research programme into children’s wellbeing, which we set up over a decade ago in partnership with the University of York.

Until recently, Understanding Society was the only source of longitudinal data on children’s subjective wellbeing and we have used the data in our last three Good Childhood Reports (2015, 2014, 2013).

We also plan to include the Study’s data in a future Good Childhood Report to look at children’s wellbeing between the ages of 11 and 15. This will be of particular interest to policymakers as it will help to pinpoint the factors that are most important in explaining rises or falls in children’s wellbeing over time."

What's your message to our participants?

Without you we would not have been able to discover that there have been changes in children’s wellbeing over time, and that, for example, girls have become increasingly less happy with their appearance than boys. This is important because it helps focus our attention on the things that most need to change to improve children’s lives.

At The Children’s Society we care very much about the things that stop children from enjoying their lives, both in the present as the children of today and in the future as the adults of tomorrow.

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