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Teachers: Citizenship:

Last Updated: Friday December 07 2007 14:02 GMT

Quality of life for kids

Citizenship Government

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Overview

Newsround carried out a special kids' survey to mark our 35th birthday. One of the biggest findings was that most of you are happy with your lives and think Britain is a great place to live.

We spoke to kids all over the UK and more than nine out of 10 of you said that you liked the way you are.

What are the factors that determine quality of life for children? What would the group's priorities be if they were in government?

Learning aims
  • Meaning of quality of life
  • The need to prioritise means that government spending decisions are political, with winners and losers
Icebreaker

We spoke to 1,000 kids, aged six to 12, from all over the country and asked them what they thought of their lives.

Child Poverty
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What do the group think the key indicators of quality of life should be? In pairs come up with their top five things that add most to a child's quality of life, and their bottom five things that do most to make life less good.

Come back together as a group and feedback some results - is there any consensus?

These are the categories being used by the panel of experts conducting the Good Childhood Inquiry, which is a major piece of research for the Children's Society.

Do the class agree with them?

Six dimensions to child well-being

  • 1. Education

  • 2. Material wealth (poverty rates)

  • 3. Health and safety (figures for accidents and death)

  • 4. Relationships (friends and family)

  • 5. Behaviour and risks (drink, drugs, bullying)

  • 6. Sense of well being (how they feel about themselves)

Main activity

Which area should the government tackle first to make things better for kids?

Working individually students pick out the issue they think is most important in defining children's quality of life. Imagine they had to pitch this, as a spending priority, to a government minister responsible for children. To do this they need to find a way of expressing how they feel about it and why.

This could be a written report, or a poster. It could take the form of a script for a news report or if time allows even a short film.

Which ever platform they choose the important thing to develop is some structure to their arguments. A good way to start with this is to pull out five points that support their choice, but also three obvious weaknesses in their arguments.

Identifying and countering the holes in their arguments works well if the students are in pairs. Here's an example:

    "I believe that dealing with bullying in schools should be the government's top priority for kids".

    Reasons why:

  • 1. Bullying is kids' biggest worry.
  • 2. Victims bunk off to avoid the bullies.
  • 3. Bullying is ruining lives.
  • 4. Bullied kids need more people to turn to.
  • 5. No one can learn properly if there is a lot of bullying going on in their school.

    Arguments against:

  • 1. We will never stop bullying because some kids will always be less popular.
  • 2. Bullying is caused by other problems, we need to address the causes not the results.
  • 3. Bullying happens all over the world, what can one government do to help?

    My response to arguments against:

  • 1. Anti-bullying campaigns do reduce the amount of bullying in schools... etc
Plenary

Get some of the group to present their work. Can they persuade people to adopt a new top issue?

Teachers' Background

Follow these links for more on the survey.



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