Children in Scotland’s Orkney Islands enjoy the best quality of life anywhere in Scotland, according to the 2016 Bank of Scotland Children’s Quality of Life Survey.
The survey looks at a number of factors including primary school class size, high school spending per pupil, low population density and traffic.
What makes Orkney the best place to bring up children?
With an average school spend of £9,281 per pupil, the island is one of the highest in the survey – over twice the British average of £4,623
Both the average primary school class size (18.1) and pupil to teacher ratio in secondary schools (14.0) are amongst the lowest in Britain (26.9 and 20.9 respectively)
These factors appear to help high school children achieve excellent exam results, with 91.7 per cent (up 4.6 per cent on 2015) of pupils getting 5 awards at SCQF 4 or better (87.3 national average) – Only East Dunbartonshire (97.9 per cent) and East Renfrewshire (94.3 cent) achieved better results.
Orkney has one of the lowest population densities in Britain with just 22 people per square kilometre – compared to the national average of 276
Children can walk about in relative freedom with just 142 vehicles per square kilometre, compared to 9,587 in Britain as a whole
Shetland and Western Isles round off the top three for the second year running
Both Shetland and Western Isles scored similar exam results (91.6 per cent and 90.3 per cent) and average school spend per pupil (£8,844 and £9,095) compared to Orkney.
Shetland has the highest employment rate in Scotland with 89.1 per cent, compared to the national average of 75.2 per cent. Shetland also benefits from a low secondary school pupil to teacher ratio of 13.2, compared to British average of 20.9. The highest secondary school pupil to teacher ratio in Scotland is in East Renfrewshire (20.0).
The Western Isles has the lowest population density per square kilometre of 9, with the national average being 276. Western Isles also has by far the lowest traffic flow in Scotland with only 71 cars per square kilometre compared to the British average of 9,587. They also have the lowest primary school class size of 17.0.
Interestingly, Orkney (56.49 per cent), Shetland (55.82 per cent) and Western Isles (51.99 per cent) are all significantly below the British average of 86 per cent for access to fast broadband.
Nitesh Patel, economist at Bank of Scotland said, “The north of Scotland has always done well when we’ve done this research so it’s no surprise that Orkney, the Shetland Islands and Western Isles remain the top three in the 2016 Bank of Scotland Children’s Quality of Life Index, across both Scotland and Great Britain. Children in these areas benefit from low primary school class sizes, low pupil to teacher ratio in secondary schools, excellent exam results and some of the highest school spend per pupil.”
The Top 20 areas to raise children are:
1. Orkney Islands
2. Shetland Islands
3. Western Isles
5. Perth & Kinross
6. Argyll & Bute
8. Dumfries & Galloway
11. Scottish Borders
12. East Dunbartonshire
14. East Renfrewshire
16. Aberdeen City
17. South Lanarkshire
18. South Ayrshire
19. West Lothian