Gloucestershire’s young people happy and healthy, survey finds
YOUNG people in Gloucestershire are happier, healthier and more responsible than ever, a survey has found.
More than 20,000 young people from schools as well as sixth form and further education colleges across the county recently took part in the 2012 Gloucestershire Online Pupil Survey.
The survey, which has been carried out every two years since 2006, allowed young people to make their voices heard on issues such as healthy eating, drug and alcohol use and bullying.
Results showed that 71 per cent of children aged 12 to 15 have never drunk alcohol, and 92 per cent have never smoked or only tried it once or twice and only seven per cent have ever tried drugs.
Eighty per cent said they were happy with their lives while three-quarters do four or more hours of physical activity each week and 70 per cent of primary and secondary school pupils have three or more portions of fruit or vegetables a day.
Although more than 80 per cent of secondary school pupils expect to go on the further education, only 86 per cent feel confident about their future, a drop from 92 per cent in 2006.
The survey also showed that an increasing number of young people feel confident with how their schools deal with bullying, and that cyber bullying is the lowest reported form of abuse.
GCC cabinet member for education and skills Cllr Jackie Hall (Con, Quedgeley) said it was important young people’s voices are heard.
“This survey takes the views of more than 20,000 young people and gives us the evidence we need about improvements we have already made and those that are needed in the future,” she said. “It also helps schools to identify what they can do better and address particular issues raised by their own pupils.”
Children aged eight to 11 said they would like more information about cooking skills, healthy eating, keeping fit and internet safety, while 12 to 15-year-olds would like more support with losing weight, keeping fit as well as managing stress and relationships.
Older pupils said they would like more support with interview skills, managing stress and money as well as getting fit and losing weight.
The results of the survey will now be used to target support where it is needed most and help schools in the county achieve Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Leaning status, which has replaced the national Healthy Schools programme.
Joint director of public health Dr Shona Arora described the results as “an invaluable insight into the lives of children and young people in Gloucestershire”.
“The findings will enable us, working with our partners, to focus resources where they are needed and ensure that young people’s voices help inform future services,” she added.
Full results of the survey can be seen at gloucestershire.gov.uk/onlinepupilsurvey