If you want your children to enjoy the best possible childhood, then prepare yourself for a bit of a lifestyle change, because a new study suggests you can give them the best start in life in Orkney. It's off the north tip of Scotland, so could prove a bit of a commuting challenge for any city dweller, but is it worth the move?
The Halifax Children's Quality of Life Survey looked at a number of key measurements, including primary school class size, spending per secondary school child, population density and traffic. Orkney boasts an average primary class size of 18 (compared to the UK average of 26.4) and an average spend of £9,000 per secondary school pupil (compared to the UK average of £4,500). Unsurprisingly the population density is low and the traffic light too.
And while some people will argue that children shouldn't necessarily dictate location for the entire family, the researchers also highlight that adults in Orkney are among the happiest, most satisfied, least anxious, and content in Britain too.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the fact the study favoured less densely populated areas, Scotland dominates the list.
2. Shetland Islands
3. Western Isles
5. Eden in the North West
6. Craven in Yorkshire
8. The Staffordshire Moorlands
10. South Northamptonshire
Of course, practicality eventually has to come into studies like these. It's not every parent who can find the right job in some of these areas, and while it may be possible to work from home in some of them, with just 56% of people in Orkney having access to fast broadband, that might not be feasible.
For those who need to be a bit closer to a major city or a specific industry, the good news is that there are high scorers across the country. Even the South East - which you would think would score pretty badly for things like population density and traffic - boats a few high scoring areas. Parents might want to consider Winchester, Surrey Heath, Chichester, Tonbridge, Malling or Mid-Sussex.
For those who were hoping to find an exception to the rule close to work in London there's some bad news - no area in London made the top 150 - and the highest position of any London area was Bromley, which was 165th. It means you either need to carve out a lifestyle and an education for your kids that beats the average for the area - or you have to give some serious thought to commuting.
But what do you think? Are you bringing your children up in these areas, or are you giving your children the best start in life somewhere else entirely? Let us know in the comments.
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