History

SHEU : nationally-recognised, since 1977,
as the specialist provider of reliable local survey data for schools and colleges

 
Committed to school and college surveys
SHEU includes the Schools and Students Health Education Unit. We provide lifestyle surveys, research and publishing services for those working with young people. We work with a wide range of professionals involved in the planning, providing and commissioning of health and education in the UK and overseas. SHEU was founded in 1977 by John Balding in the School of Education, University of Exeter. In 1997, we moved to offices in Exeter and became an independent research and publishing unit. In 2012, we celebrated 35 years of providing information about young people's health and wellbeing. SHEU is nationally-recognised as the specialist provider of reliable local survey data for schools and colleges
Information for business partners and colleagues
SHEU is an independent organisation that concentrates on school and college surveys. SHEU now offers a range of survey, research and evaluation services to all those concerned with the health and social development of young people. The core of our survey work is the Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire (HRBQ) survey method, which has been used by secondary schools for over 30 years, by primary schools and, more recently, in FE & 6th Form Colleges. These surveys produce a detailed profile of young people's life at home, at school/college, and with their friends. This information is then used by health authorities to inform health needs assessment and health care planning, and by schools/colleges to promote health education programmes, as well as in class work across the curriculum. To date, SHEU has supported thousands of health-related behaviour surveys involving over a million young people. The data are anonymous, and so no individual participant's responses are attributable. They can be presented in forms suitable for use by health authorities, education authorities, community workers, school/college staff, governors, parents, and the students themselves. The original motivation for the survey work was to provide teachers with an objective picture of the lifestyles of the students in their charge, so that they might better plan and provide a curriculum in personal, social and health education. Since its inception, the uses of the survey data and services provided by SHEU have greatly expanded. Teachers have found uses for the data in direct classroom teaching. Health authorities have become interested in the data for monitoring and planning. To match this wider use, the variety of reporting and presentational services for schools/colleges has been greatly enhanced. In recent years SHEU's major customers have been health authorities, but we have increasingly become involved in surveys funded by local consortia drawn from education and health.
Our Research
The survey service is itself a research exercise, enabling communities to discover and debate their current situation, but we also engage in research in its more formal sense. We undertake ad hoc survey and evaluation investigations for education and health authorities, and provide a survey design and data-processing service for other researchers. The use of the surveys by schools/colleges results in an accumulation of information in SHEU's databanks, some of which is used to compile the Young People series of annual reports and the 'Trends' reports. As well as this descriptive information, the databanks are also a substantial resource for more focused research investigations: for example, to demonstrate links between health-risky behaviours and family or personality factors.
Our publications
SHEU's major publications include the three, monthly health and wellbeing research emails, which are widely subscribed to, the journal Education and Health, a quarterly publication which started in 1983, the 'Young People' series (the first of which was 'Young People in 1986'), the 'Trends' data series and SHEUBytes: nuggets of information supplemented with Internet links. Other monographs on particularly important or current topics have been produced over the years, and these have included alcohol, illicit drugs, bullying, weapons, dental care and mental health. We are an important resource for Education and Health professionals and journalists for all aspects of health education.

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Comments about SHEU

"Many thanks for all of the fantastic information that you have sent to me over the years, it has really helped me to plan relevant courses for my students to follow and to help me to focus on the needs of the students I teach."

PSHE teacher

...Many thanks for all your work with this year’s survey. It’s already proving to be invaluable especially against the severe cuts in services that are looming.

Health Promotion Manager

"You and the team have the evidence to show how young people's behaviour has or hasn't changed over time." 
Tribute from a Health Education Co-ordinator to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Health Education Co-ordinator

"As a Deputy Head in a large secondary school I was involved in taking part in a city wide health and wellbeing survey over a period of six years. Completing the survey every two years grew in importance year on year, with the final cycle having a major impact on our SDP, PHSE curriculum, Ofsted outcomes and governor understanding.
Over the six year period we moved from a small sample in two tutor groups filling in a paper survey to two year groups completing an online survey. The reports produced give graphical analysis of a wide range of issues. As a result of the survey we increased the number of PSHE workshop days for students to address issues such as smoking, drug and alcohol awareness, anti-bullying workshops. The surveys helped Governors make a positive informed decision to allow Brook Advisory Clinic nurses on site to support students.
As a result of taking part and using the evidence provided we were able to offer more support for students which had a direct impact on improved attendance and outcomes."

Deputy Head Secondary School

"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

"Brilliant - thank you Angela. As always you and your team are so proficient at getting our requests dealt with so promptly - it is a real pleasure to work with such a great organisation."

Health Improvement Adviser

"You have often stood alone against the media who were often looking for the sensational headline. I have noticed an important change: the media now look out for and report very fairly and fully on the reports from the team." 
Tributes from a Health Education Advisor to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Health Education Advisor

"The Schools Health Education Unit has gained a reputation as one of the most reliable sources of information about young people's health." BBC

BBC

Thank you for following up with schools the comments that caused concern. It is very sad to hear that some of our children have these thoughts and feelings and I am so grateful that you were able to make the schools aware of this so that they can attempt to offer some support.

This is another reason why I am so pleased that we have been able to work with you to offer this survey.

Health and Wellbeing Adviser

"This is amazing! Thank you." (school report)

Headteacher