Young People into 2013 Library PDF

SHEU : nationally-recognised, since 1977,
as the specialist provider of reliable local survey data about young people's health and wellbeing



YP into '13
We have available a 145 page pdf for library use that includes:
Bookmarks to each section with
Links to each page with
External links to relevant websites about young people's health and wellbeing
There is also the facility to print the black and white publication.
Please contact David McGeorge

Examples of report coverage:

Young People : Angels or Demons?

This report, Young People into 2013, is a "unique contemporary archive" of young people from the Schools Health Education Unit (SHEU). Each year, since 1977, SHEU carry out healthy lifestyle surveys with young people and, in 2012, this involved over 93,000 youngsters. This report contains over 100 health-related behaviour questions and answers from over 68,000 pupils between the ages of 10 and 15. They tell us about what they do at home, at school, and with their friends. The data have been collected from primary and secondary schools across the United Kingdom. The report is the 27th in the series.

See an example page

Dr David Regis, Research Manager of the Schools Health Education Unit, says,
"Angels or Demons? When I first started working in the Unit in 1986, I saw two headlines about the first report. One declared, "Teenagers take homework and alcohol in moderation", while the other – looking at the same figures – summed it up as "Layabout lifestyle of the teenage tipplers". We have had 26 years of similar contrasting cuttings. The truth is, there is good news and bad news in the figures, and I never know why journalists would want to present only one side of the story."

Angela Balding, Survey Manager at the Schools Health Education Unit, says,
“Our latest 'Young People' report captures the attitudes of young people and, in particular, the changes seen from the primary to the secondary stage of pupils’ education. Despite the attention, drawn by some of the media, to extremes of young people’s behaviour, this report presents a more balanced view. For example, more 10-11 year old boys, than any of the other groups, continue to assess themselves as ‘very fit’ but perceived fitness, from youngsters aged 10-15 years, continues to decline both in boys and girls. However, since 1995 the numbers of 10-15 year olds, who have reported being ‘fit’ or ‘very fit’, has remained relatively stable.”

Dr David Regis, Research Manager of the Schools Health Education Unit, says,
"What's the point of this research?  Well, we never set out to produce a picture of the country, and this isn't really what we have done.  We do local research to tell schools and local authorities what the picture is like in their community.  At the end of each year we have a big collection of local studies which we combine to give an overall detailed picture of young people in our communities.  Some of the topics we report on here are also available from Government or other research, but many of the findings we report, we have not seen published elsewhere. We are always adapting our surveys around the country to keep up with local concerns, and also to include the latest thinking about why young people behave as they do."

Angela Balding, Survey Manager at the Schools Health Education Unit, says,
“This year we have continued to try and find links between some questions. For example, when asked about how many hours of sleep they had ‘last night’, the more sleep 14-15 year old girls get they are less likely to: ‘want to lose weight’; worry ‘a lot’; and ‘feel afraid of going to school due to bullying’ (see table below). Those working with young people should find evidence here of areas that need further work together with many examples of young peoples’ positive attitudes about healthy lifestyle choices.  We also see links between wanting to lose weight and skipping meals – no surprise there, I guess, but it's maybe not the best way to try and lose weight.  We also see differences in behaviour between boys and girls from different ethnic groups.”

Year 10 girls’ sleep patterns, weight loss, worrying and bullying:
Hours of sleep Would like to lose weight Worry ‘A lot’ Never afraid of going to school because of bullying
  % % %
Up to 3 hrs 77 82 61
4-5 hrs 75 77 68
6-7 hrs 72 67 73
8-10 hrs 59 59 77
It is clear that, for 14-15 year old girls in this sample, the more sleep they get they are less likely to : want to lose weight, worry ‘a lot’ and feel afraid of going to school due to bullying.

Dr David Regis, Research Manager of the Schools Health Education Unit, says,
"Journalists often always ask me, 'what is new this year?'.  As you might expect, this year's results are quite similar to last year's, and where they are not, it's not possible to tell from just one year's results whether a trend has started, finished or reversed.  But in this year's report, we have added a sprinkle of charts showing trends, so you can see for yourself.  We can see lots of good news about alcohol, drugs and tobacco (all long-term downward trends) and not such good news about skipping lunch (long-term upward trend).  We also see trends in wider society reflected in our figures: there is a long-term trend downwards in the proportion of young people who live with both their mother and father."
"Many authorities work with us in alternate years (e.g., 2008-2010-2012), and there are some series of figures which show this regional bias.  We particularly enjoyed the chart (below) for eating 'wholemeal bread on most days', which has been bouncing up and down around the figure of 25% for the last decade and more, showing it's a more popular food item in those authorities that work with us in odd-numbered years.  I guess this shows, for charts where we don't see such bouncing, young people around the country may have quite similar levels of that behaviour."

Angela Balding, Survey Manager at the Schools Health Education Unit, says,
“OFSTED published a report in May about Personal, Social and Health Education in schools, titled 'Not yet good enough'.  While there is a lot of good work done in schools, our report shows some of the many varied challenges facing young people, and should be an incentive to schools to make sure all young people get a full programme of PSHE from trained teachers.  We all know that young people won't thrive academically now or later if they are sad or upset, tired or ill, unfit or bullied, so it's in everyone's interests to help them adopt a healthy lifestyle.  But PSHE is not a list of do's and don'ts about your habits. And the things that might be developed in PSHE, such as self-confidence, co-operation, thinking ahead and decision-making, are just what our business and community leaders need.1"
1. A point made to us by Nick Boddington of the PSHE Association.





CHAPTER 1 - Food choices & weight control
  • In the sample 63% of 14-15 year old females, 54% of 12-13 year old females and 37% of 10-11 year old females 'would like to lose weight'. This compares with 29% of 14-15 year old males, 34% of 12-13 year old males and 28% of 10-11 year old males who 'would like to lose weight'
  • 17% of Year 10 females have 'nothing at all to eat or drink for breakfast this morning' and 19% had nothing for lunch on the previous day
  • Less fresh fruit and vegetables are eaten as pupils get older and up to 24% report eating 3 portions of fruit and vegetables. 16% of 14-15 yr. olds and 27% of 10-11 yr. olds report eating 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables 'yesterday'
  • Up to 75% of 12-15 year olds reported drinking less than 1 litre of water

CHAPTER 2 - Doctor & Dentist

  • Up to 23% of the 12-15 year old females, reported feeling 'quite uneasy' or 'very uneasy' on their last visit to the doctor

CHAPTER 3 - Health & Safety

  • Most 12-15 year olds report sleeping 8 or more hours 'last night'. There is a strong relationship between sleep patterns and a number of variables. For example, for 14-15 year old females, the more sleep they get they are less likely to: want to lose weight; worry a lot; feel afraid about going to school due to bullying
  • Up to 21% of young people say that safety after dark in ther area is 'poor' or 'very poor'
  • As they get older, fewer pupils follow advice about how to stay safe while chatting online
  • 17% of 14-15 year old males may carry a weapon for protection when going out
  • 34% of 10-11 yr. old females feel afraid (at least 'sometimes') of going to school because of bullying

CHAPTER 4 - Family & Home

  • Up to 42% of the 12-15 year olds walk, at least some of the way, to school
  • More females than males did homework on the evening before the survey, and they tended to spend longer at it. 36% of the 14-15 year old males did no homework at all 'yesterday'
  • Up to 80% of males played computer games after school 'yesterday'

CHAPTER 5 - Legal & Illegal Drugs

  • Since the mid-1990s there has been a general decline in the percentage of 14-15 year olds who smoke regularly. Around 97% of 10-11 year olds say they have never smoked. This figure drops to 64% (males) and 57% (females) by the time they are 14-15 years old. Around 38% of 12-15 year olds live in a 'smoky' home
  • Around 53% of the 14-15 year olds are 'fairly sure' or 'certain' that they know a drug user. 10% of 14-15 year olds have mixed drugs and alcohol 'on the same occasion'
  • Up to 15% of 14-15 year olds trend report taking cannabis and, as they get older, fewer pupils think that cannabis is 'always unsafe'
  • 28% of 14-15 year olds reported consuming at least one alcoholic drink in the 'last seven days'

CHAPTER 6 - Money

  • Up to 40% of 12-15 year olds (more males than females) report saving money recently

CHAPTER 7 - Exercise & Sport

  • Over 92% of the sample of 10-15 year olds report exercising at least on one day 'last week'. Around 70% of all males and 73% of 10-11 year old females report exercising vigorously on 3 or more days
  • 63% of 10-11 year old females think they are 'fit' or 'very fit'. This falls to 25% by the time they reach 14-15 years of age
  • Since around 1995, numbers have remained relatively stable for many 10-15 year olds reporting they are 'fit/very fit'

CHAPTER 8 - Social & Personal

  • 'School-work problems' are a worry for 50% of 14-15 year old females and 'the way you look' remains the main worry for 12-15 year old females
  • 66% of 14-15 year old females, compared with 50% of 14-15 year old males, want to continue with full-time education after Year 11
  • Statements from the 'Every Child Matters' section show a marked difference between the positive responses from primary and secondary pupils e.g. responses to, 'The school helps me work as part of a team' drop from around 81% (10-11 yr.olds) to around 42% (14-15 yr.olds)
  • Younger (12-13 year old) males continue to be the most satisfied group when 12-15 year olds are asked about how they feel about their life 'at the moment
CHAPTER 9 - Some responses from primary-age children that are not contained in Chapters 1-8
  • Up to 20% of 10-11 year olds report being picked on for 'the way they look'
  • 24% of 10-11 year olds report being approached by an adult who scared them or made them upset


1.SHEU is an independent research, survey and publishing company and the 'Young People into 2013' report is the 27th in the series and based on the work of one of its divisions - The Schools Health Education Unit. The Unit provides reliable baseline data for local needs assessment to inform plans in health, education and care.

2.The accumulated data from the hundreds of school surveys we support each year, involving tens of thousands of young people, is a valuable resource of information and provides many opportunities for research. We caution against simple reporting and interpretation of our databanks as being from 'a national survey'.

To pay via invoice please contact David McGeorge





Comments about SHEU

"The Schools Health Education Unit is the jewel in the crown of the Health Education Authority." Major General Sir John Acland 1928 - 2006

Major General Sir John Acland

"I would like to say that this survey was very useful and made me realise things about PE and health that I had never realised before......Food at school is groovy, especially if your school does Jamie Olivers School Dinners. Viva apples and thanks for the survey." Female pupil, 13 yrs old

Female pupil, 13yrs

"On behalf of all the health promoters in Scotland I would like to say a big thank to you and your colleagues for your excellent work over the years. This includes not only your survey work but your role as a visiting examiner in Scotland and adviser on course development."
Tribute from a Health Commissioner to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Health Commissioner

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

Prof Ted Wragg, 1938-2005

"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

"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 survey reports have been used to inform commissioning at specific commissioning groups. They are also being used within our Extended Schools Clusters and to inform The Annual Public Health and the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment." Programme Manager - Young People

"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

"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 Unit is to be congratulated in preparing ... material of the highest standard and worthy of wide dissemination." National Association for Environmental Education

National Association for Environmental Education

"I have valued greatly the work I have done with the team in Exeter, it has been a highlight of my years here." Health Promotion Specialist

Health Promotion Specialist

"I really appreciate the professional service which SHEU offers.  We have had a great experience working with Angela on the school surveys." 

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


"This week I have been working on a major strategy for service design -- it is easy to get solely focussed on hospitals, performance targets, and work force planning -- all very important; but at the same the needs of young people and how we need to work across agencies to address the health needs of today and tomorrow must be recognised. SHEU is founded to do just this."

PCT Performance Manager

"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

"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

"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

"Thanks for presenting the survey to local schools this morning, I just wanted to thank you for such interesting and thought-provoking information.  
I’m really glad we were able to take part - the information (particularly headline data and differences) will support us to have some really interesting questions with the Year group as a whole about the sense they’re making of this; what they think it might mean in terms of changes they might make, and what they need to support them in this."

Deputy Headteacher

"I have never looked at myself in this way before." Pupil


"The data for (us) are very useful ... This is especially important when evaluating the impact of interventions regarding alcohol or other areas, as the survey data are likely to provide an earlier indication than routine data sources."

Specialist Registrar in Public Health

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

Health Development Agency

"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

"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 to SHEU for your excellent professional support over the years."

PSHE teacher

"This is an excellent way of keeping up to date belt and braces style."

School Drugs Advisor

"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

"Thank you from my staff to you and all your staff. The speed of 'turn-around' of the questionnaires is outstanding in anyone's terms." Headteacher


"The (named) Children and Young People's Partnership has benefitted from the results of the SHEU survey locally for many years now, and we should like to continue to do so in future."

Consultant in Public Health Medicine

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


"It's good to talk with you again - we used so much of those data and did so much with it in schools - we really got the place buzzing!"

Consultant in Public Health

"We're very happy to commission another survey from you. Our colleagues in School Improvement are dead keen to work with us on this. During our last LA Inspection, we were flagged from our Tellus data as having a bullying problem. We could demonstrate with our SHEU data - which had a much better sample size and coverage of the authority - that we did not have the problem they suggested. The Inspectors went away happy and we are definitely surveying again with SHEU."

Local Authority Senior 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

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

Health Education Adviser

"I very much value the contribution the Health Related Behaviour Survey has made to the public health agenda and feel confident it will continue to do so." Tribute from a Director of Public Health to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Director of Public Health

"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


"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 (SHEU survey) helped us to prioritise where we needed to be in terms of PSHE education. We delivered assemblies based on the evidence as well as curriculum development, and dealt with whole school issues – particularly in regard to pastoral care. The answers received to the question on the survey “Who are you most likely to approach if you needed help” worried staff as “teacher” was not a popular answer. Subsequently the staff asked themselves why this had happened and what needed to be done to address the issue. There was more emphasis on wider aspects of PSHE education delivery, which needed more attention.

To summarise, the (SHEU survey) allows the PSHE department to assess the impact of teaching and learning and modify future lessons accordingly. It allows our school to look at whole school issues such as the extent to which the pastoral care system is meeting the needs of our pupils. It helps us to do need analysis of our pupils. It helps to provide important evidence for SEF / the extent to which we are meeting wellbeing indicators / National Healthy School standards.”  

Secondary School Head

"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 never make a move without looking at these excellent reports." Public Health Consultant

Public Health Consultant

"We were talking about (the SHEU survey) data at our recent NSCoPSE Conference, for PSHE advisers and consultants. It would be really helpful if some of this powerful data and the trends could be shared in the consultation around the PSHE Review. Colleagues shared their very positive experiences of (the SHEU survey). It provides excellent evidence of behaviour change for children and young people and of the impact of PSHE and wider interventions."

Personal and Social Development Consultant

"We have never consulted our young people like this before. The survey makes a great contribution to our 'best value' planning." Sports Development Officer

Sports Development Officer

"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

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

Class teacher

"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


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

"...the most comprehensive health education survey."

Daily Telegraph

“(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?
Pupils at our primary school found the questionnaire very easy to understand and most of them completed the questions in less than 45min.


"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

"I really think that the HRBQ is a wonderful piece of work in terms of getting useful information for so many different organisations in one go." Healthy Children's Research and Statistics Officer

Research and Statistics Officer

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

"You have made a truly significant contribution to health education and health promotion of young people in, not only England, but all over the United Kingdom and beyond." Colleague from NHS Scotland paying tribute to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

NHS Scotland

"Thank you very much, David, for another excellent survey.  We look forward to receiving our reports."

Healthy Schools Co-ordinator

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


"...the only question to cause a problem was 'has everyone got a pen?" Supervisor's notes following a school survey

Supervisor's Notes

"Just to say a huge thank you for all your efforts in helping us with the Health survey amongst pupils. It has provided us with significant data which will be used across the school to help us improve. It helped us to obtain a healthy schools standard as well. I hope we can make this an annual feature as we can track the changing health of our pupils." Headteacher


"The Schools Health Education Unit has been a unique inspiration to all of us. For me, as I have worked in the many different areas of the NHS, the SHEU, its principles and your determination have always been a cornerstone in what a health promoting service should be about."
PCT Performance Manager paying tribute to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

PCT Performance Manager

"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

"Every school involved in the National Healthy School programme should start with an HRBQ survey." Health Education Co-ordinator

Health Education Co-ordinator

"Your work in developing the Health Related Behaviour Survey was ground breaking and has continued to evolve." Tribute from a Director of Public Health to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

"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