Duchess of Cambridge launches early years survey

Meredith Jones Russell
Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Duchess of Cambridge has launched a national survey on early childhood.

To launch the survey, the Duchess of Cambridge visited a baby sensory class at the Ely and Careau Children’s Centre in Cardiff, where she heard about the support parents receive 
To launch the survey, the Duchess of Cambridge visited a baby sensory class at the Ely and Careau Children’s Centre in Cardiff, where she heard about the support parents receive 

As part of a 24-hour tour of the country, the Duchess has launched ‘Five Big Questions on the Under-Fives’, which aims to trigger 'lasting change for generations to come'.

The survey conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of The Royal Foundation, will give people across the UK the opportunity to provide their view on raising the next generation. The survey contains five short questions on the first-hand experiences of parents, families and carers.

To launch the survey, the Duchess visited a baby sensory class at the Ely and Careau Children’s Centre in Cardiff (below), where she heard about the support parents receive. 

This follows a visit to MiniBrum at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum yesterday (Tuesday 21 January), where she was shown around the interactive, child-sized mini-city by children who helped design the space and spoke to parents and carers about the survey.

She was also due to visit LEYF’s Southwark nursery this morning, but this was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

The Duchess ended her tour at HMP Send in Woking, where she talked to some of the women she met during a visit to the prison in 2015 who have since been successfully rehabilitated, released and are rebuilding their families, in addition to women currently at the prison.

Kate Stanley, director of strategy at the NSPCC, said, ‘It’s fantastic to see The Duchess of Cambridge launch this survey today. The results will provide fascinating insight into how we think about the early years and it will be a vital source of information for the sector.’

Liz Bayram, chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), said, ‘We are delighted that HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has decided to launch her UK wide survey of early childhood. PACEY, which supports many of the thousands of people who work in childminding, nursery and pre-school settings, knows how important it is to provide a high quality early education to our youngest children, especially the most disadvantaged.

‘We have been working with our 25,000 members to raise awareness of this vital stage in a child’s life and how, by working in partnership with parents and carers, early years practitioners make a positive and lasting difference to a child’s development.

‘So PACEY is encouraging everyone in the early years sector to take part in the survey. We hope its findings will shine a light not only on the vital importance of early development but also the challenges many children, families, practitioners and others face.

‘We are certain Her Royal Highness’s interest and involvement in this area will do much to bring together the many different communities who can together better address these challenges.’

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said, ‘At a time when the needs of the child is so often overlooked when it comes to Government policy, we warmly welcome the fact that “Five Big Questions” focuses on how best to ensure all children, regardless of background, are able to grow up happy and healthy.

‘With so much debate currently taking place about how best to support children in their earliest years, we hope that the Duchess’s efforts to start a national conversation will prove a success.’

The Five Big Questions

Question 1: What do you believe is most important for children growing up in the UK today to be able to live a happy adult life?

  • Good physical and mental health 
  • Good friendships and relationships
  • Access to opportunities
  • Access to a good education 

Question 2: Which of these statements is closest to your opinion?

  • It is primarily the responsibility of parents to give children aged up to five the best chance of health and happiness
  • It is primarily the responsibility of others in society
  • It is the shared responsibility of parents and others in society
  • Don’t know 

Question 3: How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: The mental health and well-being of parents and carers has a great impact on the development of their child(ren)? 

  • Strongly agree
  • Tend to agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Tend to disagree
  • Strongly disagree 

Question 4: Which of the following is closest to your opinion of what influences how children develop from the start of pregnancy to age five?

  • Mostly the traits a child is born with
  • Mostly the experiences of a child in the early years
  • Both nature and nurture equally
  • Don’t know 

Question 5: Which period of a child and young person’s life do you think is the most important for fostering health and happiness in adulthood?

  • Start of pregnancy to five years
  • 5-11 years
  • 11-16 years
  • 16-18 years
  • 18-24 years
  • Don’t know
  • All equally important 

Extra question: Is there anything else that you would like to tell us about your views on the early years of childhood? 


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