Report on weapons

Cash & Carry?
Young people, their friends and offensive weapons. 1996, 82pp. £5 (incl p&p)

This is one of our series of monographs about young people's lifestyles, compiled from data collected using the Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire.

It is an introduction to the findings being made by the Unit with respect to young people carrying weapons. Data collection began in May 1995, before the level of potential violence in and around schools was highlighted by the fatal stabbing of headteacher Philip Lawrence and the Dunblane massacre.

The report, based on questionnaire responses from young people aged between 11 and 16, is divided into two parts, entitled Young people, fear, and self-protection and Making connections.

In the first part it is shown that...

A quarter of all the young people rated safety in their home neighbourhood POOR OR VERY POOR after dark.

More than a quarter of the 12-13 year olds sometimes, often, or very often FELT AFRAID OF GOING TO SCHOOL because of bullying.

When they went out, a half of the 14-15 year olds FELT AFRAID OF BEING PHYSICALLY ATTACKED sometimes, often, or very often.

Almost a third of the 14-15 year old boys sometimes CARRIED DEFENSIVE OR POTENTIALLY OFFENSIVE ITEMS for personal protection.

The second part examines the 14-15 year old group in more detail and uncovers links between carrying personal protection of the potentially offensive variety (gun, knife, etc.) and other lifestyle characteristics.

For example, it is found that people likely to carry protection are also...

* More likely to have a girlfriend or boyfriend
* More likely to smoke
* More likely to drink alcohol
* Less likely to do homework after school
* More likely to worry about various problems
* Likely to have a higher `income'
* More likely to play on arcade machines
* More likely to have experimented with illegal drugs

This research, which is continuing, is believed to be the first large-scale investigation in the UK into an uncomfortable weapon-carrying dimension within the younger strata of our society. The hope is that these data will support positive action towards creating safer environments everywhere.


Comments about SHEU

"We are planning next year's programmes around this information." Health Education Adviser

Health Education Adviser

"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

"One year (following the SHEU survey) responses from our Year 4 cohort caused us concern, so we put in place a number of team building, motivational projects. We then assessed their effectiveness by requesting the SHEU questionnaires for these pupils as Year 5's."

Learning Mentor

"Our use of the Health-Related Behaviour Questionnaire was commended as part of our accreditation for the National Healthy Schools Scheme." Headteacher

"Within the curriculum, we are part of the Healthy Schools programme - and the local, Director of Public Health Award. We cover many facets of health from emotional intelligence to safety education and our very strong, Anti-Bullying and Child Protection programmes. You can imagine our delight when the Local Authority and our school nurse made the following comments after we took part in the regional Schools Health Education Unit Survey: " Head Teacher.
“This was an amazing set of outcomes and really good evidence that (your school) is doing a wonderful job in prioritizing the health and well-being of its pupils … Well done to staff, governors and parents for all your work on this through the Director of Public Health award and other strategies. It is very clear that pupils feel happy, safe and involved at the school and your caring ethos shines through this data.”
Healthy Schools Coorduinator.


Headteacher & Healthy Schools Coordinator

"Many thanks for a major contribution to the health of children in the UK and elsewhere over many years and putting in place the continuation of the Unit." Tribute from a Director of Public Health to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Director of Public Health

"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

"Over the last twenty years you have achieved much. The surveys and subsequent reports have painted the clearest picture we have of what young people are doing and what they think." OFSTED 1998


We were all very impressed with the spreadsheet and can see that an incredible amount of work has gone into creating this!

Health Improvement Specialist

"Over the last twenty years you have achieved much. The surveys and subsequent reports have painted the clearest picture we have of what young people are doing and what they think." Tribute from OFSTED to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005