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

"SHEU data proved the best source of the kind of information we were looking for (...) to provide research support to the National Healthy Schools Programme." 

Department of Health

"The service you provide is of national significance." Health Development Agency

Health Development Agency

(Our) Senior team were very enthused with the rich source of data provided within the reports (and thought that the analyses including within the appendices section of the main reports were really interesting).

Health Improvement Specialist (Children, Schools and Families)

"The children found the survey very interesting and enjoyed doing it." Class Teacher

Class teacher

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

Assistant Director Schools and SEN

"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 Unit produces an invaluable body of knowledge... providing exceptional information across time and throughout the country." Kelloggs

Kelloggs

“(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

Any comments on specific survey questions that may have caused difficulty? No problems. My children were fully briefed before the survey and they understood that they could miss questions if they did not want to answer them. We did not have any children with any concerns regarding the survey at all.

Any comments on the use of the web site? No it was easy to use.

Any general comments on the exercise? The children really enjoyed completing the survey, It has lead to many positive discussions about our health and how we all have slightly different experiences and home lives.

Class teacher

"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