NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Orkney and Shetland 'best two places to raise children in Britain'

Marwick sunset in Orkney Image copyright Fionn McArthur
Image caption Orkney came out top in the annual survey

Orkney and Shetland are the best two places to raise children in Britain, according to an annual survey.

The Western Isles came third nationally in the 2015 Bank of Scotland Children's Quality of Life Survey.

Orkney's top spot was based on low primary school class sizes, high school spending per pupil, low population density and little traffic.

In Scottish terms, Highland ranked fourth, with Aberdeenshire fifth.

Children in the highest rated places were are also said to be likely to be surrounded by adults who were in employment and who rated their own personal well-being highly.

The survey said Orkney had one of the lowest population densities in Britain, with just 22 people per square km compared to the national average of 274.

Both the average primary school class size and pupil-to-teacher ratio in secondary schools were amongst the lowest in Britain.

An average school spend of £9,000 per pupil was one of the highest in the survey - almost twice the national average of £4,560.

However, in terms of children who enjoy playing online games, it was noted 56% of households had access to fast broadband, significantly below the national average of 86%.

The Western Isles had the lowest average primary school class size in Britain - a figure of 17.4. Bank of Scotland economist Nitesh Patel 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 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."

Image copyright Gill Merriman
Image caption Orkney has one of the lowest population densities

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