Orkney best place to raise children in UK - survey

ORKNEY is the best place in Britain to raise children, with low school class sizes and little road traffic, a survey has found.

The 5,000 year-old remains of Skara Brae in Orkney. Picture: AP
The 5,000 year-old remains of Skara Brae in Orkney. Picture: AP
The 5,000 year-old remains of Skara Brae in Orkney. Picture: AP

Children in the Orkney Islands enjoy the best quality of life of any local area district, followed by the Shetland Islands and the Western Isles, according to the Bank of Scotland report.

It placed Orkney in the top spot based on the average primary school class size of 18 pupils, higher spending per pupil at secondary school and the fact they live in an area of low population density with little road traffic.

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Children there are also likely to be surrounded by adults who are in employment and who rate their own personal well-being as very high, the Children’s Quality of Life Survey revealed.

But just 56% of households have access to fast broadband in the area - below the national average of 86%.

Both Shetland and the Western Isles scored highly on the education factors, human geography and how adults rate their personal well-being.

The Western Isles 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.

The fourth spot in Scotland went to Aberdeenshire - which was rated 20th across Britain.

East Dunbartonshire was the 15th in the table north of the border, with children living there achieving the second best exam results in Scotland while pupils in 11th ranked East Renfrewshire were close behind.

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Nitesh Patel, economist at Bank of Scotland, said: “The north of Scotland has always done well when we’ve looked at quality of life indexes, so it’s no surprise that Orkney, the Shetland Islands and Western Isles are the top three in the 2015 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.”

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Other local authority areas making up the top 20 in Scotland in the index included Stirling, Aberdeen, Perth and Kinross, the Highlands, West Lothian, East Lothian and Fife.

The Scottish Borders, Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, Moray, Midlothian, South Lanarkshire and Angus completed the list.