Carrying on into 2019

We have recently completed a report into young people and carrying weapons:
http://sheu.org.uk/x/download/Carrying2019report.pdf

A summary article is to be published in Education and Health (March 2019):
http://sheu.org.uk/eh

Supplementary analysis is also available (see full report for context):
http://sheu.org.uk/x/download/Carrying2019extras.pdf

The executive summary and conclusions are below:


Summary

This report summarises recent findings from large opportunity samples of secondary-aged young people surveyed in schools from local authorities across England between 2002 and 2018.

Headline Findings

  • 6% of pupils aged 12-15y in 2018 were ‘fairly sure’ or ‘certain’ that they or their friends carry weapons or other items for protection.  In a related question, asked in different parts of the country, 8% of pupils aged 12-15y in 2018 said they at least ‘sometimes’ carry weapons or other items for protection.
  • The most common item reported as being carried was something with a blade or point (64% of those describing a weapon).
  • 8% of pupils aged 12-15y in 2018 say they have been the victim of violence or aggression in the area where they live.
  • 77% of pupils aged 12-15y in 2018 rate their safety at school as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ (or say they feel ‘safe’ or ‘very safe’).  They find going out during the day safer than being at school, while going to and from school is reported as less safe, and going out after dark as much less safe.
  • 11% of pupils aged 12-15y in 2018 worry about crime ‘quite a lot’ or ‘very much’.
  • 40% of pupils aged 12-15y in 2018 say their lessons at school about safety are at least ‘quite useful’.

Trends

  • Between 2008 and 2018, reports of carrying weapons have been roughly stable, in both versions of the question; however, the figures are rather lower than we saw in 1996.
  • Being the victim of violence or aggression in the area where they live declined from 16% to 8% between 2004 and 2014, and have been stable at around 8% since then. 
  • Worrying about crime ‘quite a lot’ or ‘very much’ has fallen from 20% to 11% between 2006 and 2018.  In one local authority, worries about crime declined from 23% to 16% between 2008 and 2011, but have risen since to 23% in 2018.
  • Pupils were less likely to rate their lessons at school about safety as at least ‘quite useful’ in 2018 than in 2008.
  • Perception of safety in various settings (going out and at or near school) was higher in 2018 than in 2006, but perhaps is lower in 2018 that it was in around 2014.  There are regional differences in perceived safety, and local differences in how trends play out.

Demographic Differences

  • Carrying something for protection (by self or friends) is reported more often by boys and older pupils, and most often of all by Year 10 males (14%).
  • Carrying something for protection (by self or friends) is reported more often by pupils from ethnic minorities.
  • Carrying something for protection (by self or friends) is reported more often by pupils attending a school with a postcode in a more deprived area.
  • Carrying something for protection (by self or friends) is reported more often by pupils in London boroughs (12%) than by pupils from other regions of England.
  • Being the victim of violence or aggression in the area where they live is reported more often by boys and older pupils, and most of all by Year 10 males (13%).
  • Being the victim of violence or aggression in the area where they live is reported slightly more often by pupils from ethnic minorities (9% vs 8%).
  • Being the victim of violence or aggression in the area where they live is reported slightly more often by pupils attending a school with a postcode in a more deprived area, especially among White British pupils (in the least deprived areas, ethnic minority pupils are more likely to report being a victim)

Links between safety questions

  • Carrying something for protection (by self and/or friends) is associated with higher rates of being a victim of violence or aggression in the area where they live.
  • Carrying something for protection (by self and/or friends) is associated with higher worry about crime.

Links between safety questions and other topics

  • Carrying something for protection by self and/or friends is associated with:
    • Having fewer adults they can trust
    • Higher frequency of fear of going to school because of bullying
    • Lower self-esteem
    • Poorer perceptions of school
    • Dissatisfaction with life
  • Being the victim of violence or aggression in the area where they live is associated with:
    • Having no adults they can trust
    • Higher frequency of fear of going to school because of bullying
    • Lower resilience scores
    • Lower self-esteem
    • Lower wellbeing scores

Conclusions

We are aware of a number of news stories about young people and weapons, especially knives, just as we were 20 years ago.

The evidence from these figures is that carrying weapons, including knives, is overall less prevalent now than 20 years ago, but many of the same patterns and connections are present, suggesting that the same drivers and processes are still operating. 

The multiple connections also suggest that the factors and processes that produce knife crime are complex, and any policy responses may need to be equally complex. 

Comments about SHEU

"As a result of the survey we reviewed and amended PSHE schemes of work, we are currently working on a "Green Travel Plan", a morning breakfast club was established and we further developed 6th Form mentoring."

Health Education Coordinator

"The data from the 2018/19 survey is still in heavy use here, the physical activity related findings were pivotal in changing the relevant strategy recently to target less active groups like girls towards the end of secondary school, and I’ve three fairly hefty jobs on the to-do list that will use the data with other sources to identify target schools for mental health and physical activity projects, and another looking at community safety. I call it the gift that keeps giving and that certainly seems to be the case!"

Senior Public Health Specialist (Intelligence)

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

Prof Ted Wragg, 1938-2005

Any comments on specific survey questions that may have caused difficulty?
All questions are clearly worded and easy to answer

Class teacher

"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 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

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

Assistant Director Schools and SEN

"Please send an additional copy of our report - it is the most requested and borrowed item in the whole library." Health Promotion Unit

Health Promotion Unit

"The data from last time were spot-on and we have done lots of work with it. We are very keen to repeat the survey." Headteacher

Headteacher

"The system works and I find quite a lot of it useful in my work. I've also recommended it to others."

Teenage Pregnancy Manager