Measuring mental wellbeing

Students’ wellbeing can be measured robustly using researched or well-established questionnaires which have a valid and reliable evidence base.

These questionnaires are widely used in research and mental health settings to measure many areas of mental wellbeing, including (but not limited to): peer relationships, protective factors, emotional and social skills, wellbeing, life satisfaction and feelings towards school or college. 

A range of questionnaires are available which are suitable for different purposes, and groups of young people. You can find many of these on the CORC website and in the Spectrum Database. The Wellbeing Measurement Framework also provides sets of validated questionnaires in booklets tailored to primary school, secondary school and college settings.

Wellbeing measurement tools can be used at different levels:

Universal Targeted group Individual

- Using an anonymous questionnaire that covers a range of domains across a whole school population or year group can help in understanding areas of need, and strengths.

- If individual responses are identifiable (rather than anonymous), it can indicate where they may be a mental health concerns and allow for a follow-up conversation with particular pupils.

- Choosing to use questionnaires with a specific sub-set or cohort of pupils - for example, where there may be increased risk of mental health difficulties (e.g. those with SEN) or at a key point (e.g. transition). As for the universal group, this can be done on an anonymous or identifiable basis.

- If you are concerned about an individual pupil, using a questionnaire can offer a supplementary source of information, and help to identify the level of their need.

- These questionnaires are widely used by mental health services to understand need and measure change.

Measuring and monitoring children and young people’s mental wellbeing: A toolkit for schools and colleges, was developed by Anna Freud with the support of Public Health England and provides expert guidance to support the use of questionnaires.  A further, briefer introduction to implementation considerations, Using measurement tools to understand pupils’ mental health needs: a guide for schools and colleges has also been developed by Anna Freud and CORC.

There are a range of questions to be worked through including:

  • What is the purpose - what aspect(s) of mental health do you want to measure?
  • What are the practical implementation and good practice (e.g., issues of consent and communication; timing; collecting, collating and analysing the data; data management)?
  • What are the risks?
  • How will your school or college respond to the findings?

Suggested results

No search results found