John Balding retires

A lunch was held at St.Lukes College to mark the lifetime's achievement and retirement of the founder of SHEU, John Balding.

johncamera.jpg" Leaving the work and interests of the Unit is far from easy for me, and, inevitably I still 'meddle'.
I have had a good time
Throughout my career I have been very fortunate in meeting and working with so many professionals who genuinely care for the well being of the young people they serve. A splendid sense of humour is also a common characteristic shared amongst them. In many presentations of results of surveys of young people’s behaviour I recall my comment that,
“These measurements that we have made are very serious, but please have permission to laugh at some of them should the need arise in you.”
I made real friends.
Some regrets?
Amongst the results fed back to communities involved in the surveys are those which are cause for concern. The media invariably focus on these. Across thirty years of my close interaction with journalists, complaints I have voiced to individuals amongst them about this focus in their behaviour results in their explanation that bad news is one of the best methods of attracting attention. Attention is further enhanced if this “news” can generate conflict.
This saddens me. So much of the data collected in the surveys of young people shows them to be vigorous, outgoing and caring. School management teams own their results. They can and do use them to good effect in counterbalancing the media distortion. Good news to be available at staff meetings and parents’ meetings is easily found."

Author: 

John

Comments about SHEU

“(The SHEU survey) was very, very useful. It gave us reassurance we weren’t missing a trick. For example not many pupils in the sample year groups were taking illegal drugs, which re-enforced our opinions. But the survey also raised issues and flagged some things up. We discovered that some of our girls weren’t eating enough – the percentage of girls in our school not eating lunch the day before the survey was higher than the county average. There were other concerns too, specifically around cigarettes, alcohol and attendance.
The school used this data and took a number of actions to address it. More female peer mentors were put in place and the school asked NEXUS (the Extended Schools service) for help, so they developed a programme for girls which addressed their eating patterns, healthy eating, sex education and self-esteem issues.
We ran an anti-bullying group for Year 9 as a preventative measure, based upon data provided by our current Year 10 students.
The travel data revealed that a high number of pupils took the car to school so we involved the BIKE-IT scheme who ran assemblies, brought in their bikes (including one with a pedal-powered smoothie maker!), and raised awareness of health and green issues.
The information about how happy the students were with their lives raised some concerns as far fewer girls were as happy as the boys, so work was done around developing aspirations, role-models and self-esteem."        
 

Deputy Head, Secondary School

I just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed your talk at last week's conference.

Chief Executive, substance use charity

"The credit goes to you for the fabulous information the survey yields!"

Assistant Director Schools and SEN

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your work regarding writing and compiling the sex education survey. The survey was well executed and the schools have found their individual reports very helpful. The results of the survey have enabled the Local Campaign Group to justify the need for young men's campaigns and given us invaluable insight as to the thoughts and experiences of this target group."

Teenage Pregnancy Strategy Manager

"We use the data to inform whole school practice: Pastoral programmes for target groups of pupils; Items for discussion with School Council; Information to help us achieve the Healthy School gold standard; To develop and dicuss with pupils our Anti-Bullying Policy; Targeted whole class sessions with the Police Community Support Officers; To share pupil perceptions of all aspects of their school life with parents, staff and governers." 

Learning Mentor

"The Health Related Behaviour Survey is an incredibly useful resource for (us) as it provides schools, with invaluable data which can inform curriculum content, methods of lesson delivery and empower schools to better meet the needs of their pupils."

Health Education Advisor

"The Unit has a unique historical and contemporary archive of young people." Prof. Ted Wragg 1938-2005

Prof Ted Wragg, 1938-2005

"We would like to take part in the next ECM survey. We have found the data produced invaluable for supporting evidence in our SEF etc."

School Vice Principal

"I would like to say how much we appreciated the work you and your team have put in to this project, a big thank you for the excellent reports that you have completed on our behalf." Assistant Director of Public Health

Assistant Director of Public Health

"You have made a fantastic contribution to children’s health education and promotion. I am personally grateful to you for helping to kickstart my research career." Prof. Neil Armstrong tribute to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Prof Neil Armstrong