By Bridget Suthersan, Data and Systems Manager, and Freddie O’Farrell, Development Officer


Throughout September and October, West London Zone has been busy administering the ‘My Voice’: The WLZ Survey. This survey is one of the key ways we proactively identify the children and young people who could benefit most from our support. At the time of writing 1,111 children and young people from Years 5 to 10 across 6 West London schools have participated in the My Voice survey, with more children and young people due to take part in the survey early in the new year.

Designed in collaboration with Dartington Service Design LabMy Voice is a comprehensive, holistic online survey which gathers data on a range of areas in young people’s lives, including learning, peer relationships, family relationships, behaviour, and experiences of community. Before starting work in a school, West London Zone surveys as many children and young people as possible to get a comprehensive picture of the unique needs of each student body. Note that this data is not an analysis of our cohort; rather it is the broader population from which we will identify that cohort.

The graph below shows the breakdown of these risks across the children and young people who participated in the survey.

As shown above, across all children and young people who participated, the most prevalent risks were school engagement, parental discipline and parental attachment. It should be kept in mind that the thresholds for risk differ, depending on the risk. The children and young people that West London Zone works with are likely to present with a range of risks, including those which are less prevalent but relatively serious, such as anxiety, hyperactivity, and offending behaviour.

We use the data from the survey throughout the year. Most immediately, the data collected will be layered into our risk analysis, and will help us identify a cohort of children and young people that we will work with for the next two years. Combined with school administrative data, the survey data gives invaluable insight into the needs of our young people, advancing our understanding about what may be occurring ‘beneath the surface’ and which may not be immediately apparent from school administrative data alone. Importantly, before this data is ‘de-identified’, we always seek consent from parents and children/young people to participate in our WLZ cohort.

After a cohort has been selected in collaboration with schools, WLZ looks again at the data collected in the survey to help us to design a bespoke package of support for each and every young person. Combined with school administrative data, as well as input from school staff, data from My Voice helps us to understand more about the strengths and needs of our cohort on an ongoing basis. This information is also shared with our partners, to help them tailor their delivery on the ground and generate a genuine, lasting impact.

Finally, we are also mixing our own survey data with publicly available information about schools, communities, wards and boroughs, to understand more about the lives of young people in West London. With the My Voice Survey being run annually, over time we will be able to track change at the level of the individual, the school, and the community itself.

Over the coming months, as we select our cohorts, we we will continue analysing data from MyVoice to yield further insight into the needs, strengths and circumstances of the young people that we will be working with throughout the year.