Best places to bring up children in the UK: Orkney Islands top list

Scottish areas claimed the top spots

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The Independent Online

The Orkney Islands, one of the remotest parts of the country, have been named the best place to bring up children, followed by the Shetland Islands and the Western Isles.

Scotland dominated the top 10, while the South East occupied 11 out of 50 places in the league.

Already a popular tourist destination, a combination of high school spending per pupil, small primary school classes, minimal traffic, and a low population density saw the idyllic archipelago of Orkney top the 2015 Halifax Children's Quality of Life survey.

Children on the islands have £10,821 on average spent on them - above the national average of £4,560 – and are taught in classes sizes of 18.

And when those children grow up, they are likely to find employment, and will be among the happiest, most satisfied, least anxious and most content adults in the UK, according to the study.

Interestingly, the islands earned the accolade even though 56 per cent of households have access to fast broadband – significantly below the UK average of 86 per cent.

The famously rugged Western Isles and the Shetland Islands shared similar traits. The former have an average of 69 vehicles per square kilometre - compared to the national average of 9,459 - while schools on the Shetland Islands spend more than double the national average per pupil.

Other areas to make the top ten included Craven and Ryedale, representing Yorkshire and the Humber, Winchester in the South East, Eden in the North West, Staffordshire Moorlands in the West Midlands, the East of England town of Huntingdonshire 9th, and South Northamptonshire in the East Midlands.

However, local area districts in the North East and London performed badly, failing to make the top 50.

To compile the list, researchers used a variety of variables to assess all 377 local authority districts in Britain.


Martin Ellis, economist at Halifax, said: “While the Orkney Islands take the top spot in the 2015 Halifax Children's Quality of Life survey, the story is as much about Scotland - with the Shetlands and Western Isles also making up the top three positions."