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

I just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed your talk at last week's conference.

Chief Executive, substance use charity

"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

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

Health Development Agency

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

School Drugs Advisor

I would be extremely interested to see the results as I know how useful this information has been to the other schools in the
borough

Headteacher

"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

I've just spent a really interesting half an hour reading through our ...survey (report). Always food for thought and a good way to look at how we can improve.

Headteacher

“(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

"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

"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

Headteacher