Children and young people’s wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic

Key findings from the Department for Education’s State of the Nation 2020 report, which looks at the effect of the pandemic on children's wellbeing.

The author(s)

  • Emily Mason Public Affairs
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On behalf of the Department for Education (DfE), Ipsos surveyed secondary school-aged young people and parents/carers of primary and secondary school-aged children and young people during lockdown. The surveys asked about their experiences of lockdown, including their mental health whilst schools have been closed. Findings have been published as part of the DfE’s State of the Nation 2020 report, which looks at the effect of pandemic on children's wellbeing.

Findings from the surveys include:

  • Secondary school-aged young people were asked to rate how happy they felt on the previous day on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is ‘not at all’ and 10 is 'completely'. On average, young people rated their happiness as 6.9 out of 10.
  • Young people were also asked to report how anxious they had felt on the previous day on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is ‘not at all’ and 10 is ‘completely’. Secondary school-aged young people had a low average anxiety score of 2.9 out of 10, but nearly a quarter (23%) reported having high anxiousness (6 or more out of 10) on the previous day.
  • Parents/carers of primary school-aged children were asked to rate how anxious their child appeared the day before, on the same scale of 0 to 10 (with 0 being ‘not at all’ and 10 being ‘completely’). On average, parents/carers reported a low score of 3 out of 10. However nearly a quarter (24%) of parents/carers rated their child as having appeared highly anxious (6 or more out of 10).

Technical note

  • The research was conducted using Ipsos’s iSay online panel. The panel consists of a large pool of members who have signed up to take part in research and who are pre-selected to answer certain surveys.
  • Data was collected from:
    • Parents/guardians of children in Reception – year 6 (primary)
    • Parents/guardians of young people in years 7-11 (secondary)
    • Young people in years 7-11 (secondary)
  • For each group, respondents completed a 10-minute device-agnostic online survey.
  • The published findings are based on the first set of surveys which were in field between 28th May and 10th June 2020.
  • A screener was used to identify adults aged 18-65 who were a parent or guardian of a child in Reception to year 11. Where parents/guardians had more than one child in the target year groups, they were allocated to the least filled year group. To survey young people in years 7 to 11, members of the panel who were parents/guardians of a child in the relevant year group were asked to provide consent for their child to take part.
  • Quotas were set to ensure a geographical spread, a roughly even split by child year group and a spread by social grade group. For young people, quotas were also set to achieve an even gender split.
  • The final data was weighted based on child year group, child gender and region.


The author(s)

  • Emily Mason Public Affairs

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