Young People into 2017

Press release

EMBARGO until 12:01am Sunday 21st January 2018

 

The Young People into 2017 report

FOR FURTHER DETAILS PLEASE CONTACT:
Dr David Regis, Research Manager, SHEU Tel.(01392) 667272 Email. david.regis@sheu.org.uk

Dr. Regis is available for interview and comment in advance of the embargo on Sun 21st January 2018 during the working day.

 

We have just published Young People into 2017, which presents figures from 92,193 young people completing surveys in 2016. This report is the 31st in a series begun in 1987.  The full report may be obtained in PDF format by application to SHEU.

 

Where are the figures from?

 

Every year, SHEU carry out healthy lifestyle surveys with young people for local authorities and each year these surveys involve tens of thousands of young people. At the end of each calendar year, we put all the results from all the surveys together, and publish a report.  These reports contain findings from over 100 health-related behaviour questions using answers from pupils in primary and secondary schools. They tell us about what they do at home, at school, and with their friends.

 

What’s in the report?

 

The report has 7 chapters:

 

CHAPTER 1 - Food choices & weight control

CHAPTER 2 - Doctor & Dentist

CHAPTER 3 - Health & Safety

CHAPTER 4 - Family & Home

CHAPTER 5 - Legal & Illegal Drugs

CHAPTER 6 - Exercise & Sport

CHAPTER 7 - Social & Personal

 

The pages in each chapter show results from one question (sometimes two) and may also show links between questions and trends in responses going back over decades.

What's new and different in these reports?

 

For the first time, we have published responses from Year 4 pupils (aged 8-9 years) alongside those from older pupils.  Their responses usually line up in a way we might expect but there are some interesting exceptions – for example, Year 4 pupils are much more likely than older pupils to say that they enjoy all of their lessons at school.

 

 

 

Enjoy physical activities a lot

Enjoy all school lessons

Year 4

52%

32%

Year 6

55%

9%

Year 8

38%

12%

Year 10

32%

12%

 

 

Some of the latest figures are different from those we last published in 2015, but not all the differences are new – it’s better to describe them as continuations of trends that we have seen going on for some time.

 

Dr David Regis, Research Manager of the Schools Health Education Unit, says,

“This report provides a snapshot of our young people as they were approaching 2018 and also offers some trends where we are able to look back over the last 30 years and more of our research. 

 

“We have seen a further decline in young people's reported involvement with tobacco and alcohol.  We saw a peak for many types of substance use in the mid-1990s, and since then there has been a general decline.”

 

“The fall in experimentation with cannabis by secondary pupils was quite marked after 2004 – ironically, a period when cannabis was briefly placed in Class C of the Misuse of Drugs schedule, which attracts less severe penalties – but the picture for the last 5-10 years is more level.”

 

“We see a long-term decline in pupils’ regular use of crisps –in favour of which other snacks or none, we don’t know. There has been a continued increase in the use of computer games by secondary school males, which is perhaps no surprise, but also in all pupils’ reported enjoyment of school lessons, which was harder to predict.”

 

“The individual questions and their trends are fascinating, but just as interesting are the connections we can show between questions from different chapters – so, we can see links between smoking and wellbeing, poverty, ethnicity and religion.  Lesbian, gay and bisexual young people report being bullied more often than do others – and there is also more smoking in this group.”

 

 

Angela Balding, Survey Manager at the Schools Health Education Unit, says,

“Although we’ve seen a big increase in awareness of young people’s emotional health needs, the signals we see in the figures about poor and even declining self-confidence among young women are still there."

 

“Looking for links between the figures, we see again that, among 14-15yo females, the heaviest users of social media have poorer emotional wellbeing and possibly a less healthy lifestyle in general.  But while we do know there is a toxic element of online interaction, including cyber-bullying, we can’t say that being online is overall bad for these young people – they may be getting a lot of support there too, without which their wellbeing might be worse.”

 

 “A long-term increase in skipping lunch during the 80s and 90s has stabilised, although the figures for 2016 are still high – 18% of 14-15yo females. And we appear no better at engaging young women with exercise – their reported enjoyment of physical activities continues to decline.”

 

“After climbing for many years, the proportion of young people intending to stay in full-time education has been falling since 2014.”

 

Dr Regis adds,

“The range of topics we have been asked to look at with schools continues to expand, but that hasn't made the production of our annual reports any easier! We have seen some items dropped from the reports, as too few clients chose those questions for their surveys, while a few items have been added to the reports. New for these reports are pages on bullying in secondary pupils, and where possible we have included results from Year 4 pupils (8-9 year-olds), which we haven’t tried before.  We also have updated our newly published findings about e-safety; second-hand smoke; perceptions of drugs; barriers to exercise; responses to problems, sexual orientation, and religion and belief.”

 

“As regards the aggregate data sets from which we publish this series of reports, they have become more complex and diverse.  Are the figures still representative?  We show in the report some evidence to show that the characteristics of the schools in the SHEU data sets are reasonably well-matched to the national population of schools, and that the results we see are comparable to those seen in national surveys using careful sampling methods.”

 

Notes

1. SHEU is an independent research, survey and publishing company. The Unit provides reliable baseline data for local needs assessment to inform plans in health, education and care.

 

2. The sample size was 92,193, but not all respondents answered all questions.  Ages and year groups reported were:

Phase

Year group

Ages

Primary

Year 4

8-9 years old

 

Year 6

10-11 years old

Secondary

Year 8

12-13 years old

 

Year 10

14-15 years old

 

3. We discourage surveys being conducted on Mondays, so ‘the day before the survey’ will have been a normal school day, and similarly ‘the week before the survey’ will not have been a holiday week.

 

4. The accumulated databank 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 insight and research. But we caution against simple reporting and interpretation of our figures as being from 'a national survey'.  Many authorities use us every other year, and so will appear and disappear from the data sets, and there are some trends in which we can see evidence of a regional effect in the figures we obtain – as in the case of figures for eating wholemeal bread on most days in the middle 2000s, which shows a ‘rollercoaster’:

 

 

 

Headlines and trends from the 2016 data set (Young People into 2017):

 

CHAPTER 1 - Food choices & weight control

Headlines

  • Around 10% of all pupils said they ate no portions of fruit or vegetables yesterday, while just 17% of 14-15-year-old pupils said they ate at least the recommended 5 portions on the day before the survey
  • Up to 10% of pupils say they had no water to drink on the day before the survey
  • There is a marked increase once we get to the secondary age group among females wanting to lose weight – 58% of 14-15-year-old females said they would like to lose weight.

Trends

  • The trend for more pupils to skip lunch steadied about 10 years ago.
  • Daily consumption of crisps has declined steadily since about 2000.

Links

  • Year 10 females who skipped breakfast on the morning of the survey were more likely to have skipped lunch on the day before the survey.

CHAPTER 2 - Doctor & Dentist

Headlines

  • Nearly half of pupils have visited a doctor in the last three months.
  • 25% of 14-15-year-old females felt quite or very uneasy on their last visit.
  • 60-70% of all groups had been to the dentist in the last 6 months.
  • 80-90% of all groups brushed their teeth at least twice on the day before the survey.

Trends

  • The proportion visiting the dentist in the last 6 months has remained fairly constant since 1986, despite several changed in the organisation of NHS dental care.

CHAPTER 3 - Health & Safety

Headlines

  • Around 14% of primary pupils said they experienced bullying behaviours often or every day – these behaviours included teasing and name-calling but also being pushed/hit.
  • Of those bullied often, up to 34% report being bullied during school playtimes.
  • The most common reasons reported for being bullied were size or weight and the way you look.
  • Fear of bullying at school declines with age.
  • Up to a quarter of older pupils report unwelcome behaviours from boyfriends/girlfriends, like jealousy, hurtful language and checking my ‘phone.
  • 80-90% of all groups say they have been told how to stay safe while online.
  • 22% of older females (14-15yo) say they have sent personal information to someone which they later regretted.
  • 45% of 12-13-year-old males reported having an accident in the last year that needed medical attention.

Trends

  • Reports of being bullied at or near school have been fairly steady for the last 5 years – around 20% for all groups.

Links

  • Getting plenty of sleep is associated with fewer worries and more contentment with their weight in 14-15-year-old females

CHAPTER 4 - Family & Home

Headlines

  • Nearly 50% of the sample walked at least part of the way to school on the day of the survey.
  • About 60% of the sample live with mother and father.
  • About 80% of the 14-15-year-olds identify as White British.

Trends

  • A rise in time spent playing computer games is shown clearly in our figures for males of all ages.

Links

  • Being a young carer is associated with several unwelcome outcomes – more reports of being bullied, of smoking, of money worries and of accidents.
  • Similarly, having free school meals is also associated with being bullied.

 

 

CHAPTER 5 - Legal & Illegal Drugs

Headlines

  • Over 10% of the 14-15-year-olds had drunk alcohol in the week before the survey.  Drinking was done most often at home.
  • About 5% of 14-15-year-olds had smoked a cigarette in the week before the survey.
  • About 8% of pupils live in homes where someone smokes at home in rooms that they use.
  • Over 10% of pupils aged 14-15 years had ever tried drugs – nearly always cannabis, if nothing else.

Trends

  • Smoking, drinking alcohol and perhaps also the use of cannabis are all in long-term decline in our figures.
  • Figures for reported experience with cannabis are notable for an absence of much effect of legislation during changes 2004-2009.

Links

  • There is an association between finding drugs education lessons more useful and lower substance use (see Chapter 7).

CHAPTER 6 - Exercise & Sport

Headlines

  • Around 10% of all groups say they did no exercise at all last week but less than 10% said they exercised every day.  Recommendations are for daily exercise, including some vigorous exercise.
  • Weekly sports and activities included going for walks (over half of secondary females) soccer (over half of secondary males) and dancing (over a quarter of secondary females).
  • Among secondary pupils, the most commonly reported barriers to taking exercise were time, cost, availability and, especially in females, shyness (32% of 14-15yo girls).

Trends

  • Enjoyment of physical activities is lowest among 14-15-year-old females and is declining.
  • Perceived fitness is in decline among both secondary year groups and both sexes.

CHAPTER 7 - Social & Personal

Headlines

  • Over half of 10-11-year-olds agree that the school cares whether I am happy or not but just a third of 14-15-year-olds say the same.
  • The majority of 12-15-year-olds enjoy all or most of their lessons.
  • Worries about school and the way you look are higher in secondary age groups, particularly among 14-15-year-old females (over 50% of whom are worried at least ‘quite a lot’ about each issue).
  • The most commonly reported response to having a problem or feeling stressed is to talk to someone about it.  Some pupils distract themselves with music or comfort themselves with eating more; over 10% of secondary females say they cut or hurt myself.
  • Over 2/3 of secondary pupils judge that they can usually or always say no if someone wants them to do something that they don’t want to do.
  • Over 50% of 14-15-year-old pupils know where to get condoms free of charge.

Trends

  • We see a continued decline in the proportion of 14-15-year-old females who score in the top bracket of self-esteem scores.
  • Worry about exams and tests seems to be increasing among 14-15 year-olds.

Links

  • Lesbian, gay and bisexual young people are more likely than their peers to report being bullied and also to have tried smoking or drugs.

 

Comments about SHEU

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.

Teacher

"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

At the time, the results were very useful and the feedback report very useful and insightful. Significant changes will occur in our schools health and wellbeing provision next year and conducting another survey will certainly help me to ensure I am planning effectively for the needs of our pupils.

Head of Health and Wellbeing

"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

"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

OFSTED

"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

Headteacher

"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

"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 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

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

PSHE teacher