Our proposal

Our ambition is to trigger a step change in education, such that the assessment system – which currently focuses almost exclusively on academic attainment – is rebalanced to give greater parity to mental health and wellbeing

Our vision

In the same way that attainment data is routinely used to inform educational provision, our vision is that high quality data and feedback on mental health, wellbeing and their determinants can be used to plan, implement and assess the impact of schools’ efforts to support the mental health of their pupils.

We will develop and implement a wellbeing assessment and improvement system for secondary schools in Greater Manchester, capturing data on tens of thousands of young people. #BeeWell will build on the foundations of our work on the HeadStart project, in which we have gathered data on over 100,000 children and young people from nearly 300 schools across England.

Benefits of improved youth mental health and wellbeing

  • stemming the rise in mental health difficulties in schools
  • improving, as a consequence, a range of adult health, labour market and other outcomes
  • improving the productivity of tomorrow’s workforce

Assessing what matters for young people’s wellbeing

#BeeWell will provide a comprehensive annual assessment of key aspects of young people’s lives, such as their mental health and wellbeing, stress and coping, social interaction and support, life readiness (including life skills, worries, future careers plans), health behaviours (like physical activity), and socio-economic factors (such as poverty), via a secure, online platform. It will offer a unique, dynamic online feedback system that allows schools and localities to interrogate data trends at different levels of granularity, for example by year group, sex, free school meal eligibility, and over time.

Support to aid understanding and use of data to inform provision will be provided by the Child Outcomes Research Consortium, the UK’s leading membership organisation that collects and uses evidence to enable more effective support, services and systems to improve young people’s wellbeing.

The economic case for the Programme is clear. The moral imperative to improve the lives of young people and their families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is obvious. The opportunity for Greater Manchester is immense. Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need to take action to support the wellbeing of young people.

Programme details


  • bespoke survey design with content determined by stakeholder group;
  • comprehensive assessment of young people’s mental health and wellbeing, stress and coping, social interaction and support, life readiness (including life skills, worries, future careers plans), health behaviours (like physical activity) and socio-economic factors (such as poverty);
  • secure, online data capture, powered by World App Key Survey;
  • minimised data burden, due to large group administration, optimal survey window, and completion time of 20-30 minutes per pupil;
  • dynamic online feedback system that allows schools and localities to interrogate data trends at different levels of granularity (including year group, sex, free school meal eligibility), helping them to focus on disadvantaged pupils and inequalities;
  • support to help schools understand and use their data to inform provision, provided by the CORC.

Our stakeholders

  • project team;
  • young people;
  • Greater Manchester education leads and representatives from participating localities;
  • Greater Manchester health and social care/public health leads;
  • school staff from participating localities;
  • academic advisors;
  • service delivery organisations and businesses;
  • other organisations, such as the Children’s Society, Gregson Family Foundation, Department for Education.

Making the most of wellbeing data: a brief theory of change

Schools routinely use academic data to assess the progress of their pupils, make decisions about their priorities for action and evaluate the success of their efforts.

Our vision is that high-quality Greater Manchester data can serve a similar purpose, being used intelligently to improve young people’s experiences and outcomes. The support provided by CORC is crucial in this regard. While the exact nature of this support is to be determined by the project stakeholders, it is likely to involve:

  • pre-implementation support on school communication with staff, pupils, parents, governors and other stakeholders about the approach, as well as on the survey process, for example, consent and data collection;
  • post-implementation support to interpret and contextualise findings in an individual school and to communicate findings with school stakeholders including survey respondents;
  • post-implementation support to develop the school-level response to findings, including areas to monitor going forward.

Generation of high-quality, detailed mental health and wellbeing data, presented in an accessible format, with support from external experts to aid interpretation, planning, implementation and review, enables schools, service delivery organisations and policy-makers to make data-driven decisions about provision.

Programme phases

Phase 1: initial development and consultation period (January to August 2021)

  • questionnaire domains to be assessed in the programme to be agreed among stakeholders to ensure that content of the framework maps onto local and national priorities;
  • different deployment options considered, including a modular/customised approach with ‘core’ and ‘optional’ domains;
  • theory of change workshops with young people and development work with pathfinder schools.

Phase 2: programme implementation (September 2021 to December 2023)

  • The programme to be rolled out to secondary schools across the city-region;
  • combination of cross-sectional and longitudinal data capture to maximise utility of feedback, for example Time 1: Y8 and Y10; Time 2: Y9 and Y10; Time 3: Y10;
  • the following cycle is proposed:
    • schools supply/update pupil roster and distribute parent/carer consent letters (April to July);
    • programme implementation (September to December);
    • data cleaning and feedback preparation (January and February);
    • CORC support sessions with schools to help the, understand and use their mental health and wellbeing data to inform provision (March and April);
    • follow-up support sessions to review progress against provision plans (April to July, September to December).

Phase 3: legacy and sustainability (January to May 2024)

  • exploration of potential for future/continued implementation of the programme with stakeholders;
  • production of main project report plus a short accessible version for young people;
  • dissemination through blogs, academic journals, local events such as GMCA Lunch and Learn seminars, networks such as Schools in Mind) and engagement with local policymakers in Greater Manchester;
  • engagement with national policymakers, including the Department for Education, regarding the business case for a national system for assessment and monitoring of young people’s mental health and wellbeing.