Headlines: November 16th, 2007


A major survey today reveals that the overwhelming majority of young people are healthy, sporting, community-minded and conscientious about school. The study from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills – Ofsted – also found concerns about bullying and a desire for better advice on careers, sex and relationships.

The statistics come in TellUs2, a major online survey in which children from 10 to 15 were asked questions based on the Every Child Matters agenda covering aspects of their lives and how good local authority children’s services are. More than 111,000 children took between April and June this year in 141 local authority areas.

Christine Gilbert, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, said, “We now urge policy makers, local authorities and schools to look hard at the findings and use them to influence their plans and actions. The survey presents much that is positive about life for children and young people today. However, it is also clear that more needs to be done to address children and young people’s worries and concerns about how safe they feel, about exams and tests and about what would help them learn better and where they need to go for help when they have a problem.”

Almost 90 per cent of those taking part considered themselves to be very or quite healthy. Almost three-quarters had never smoked a cigarette and 80 per cent of older children questioned had never taken drugs. Involvement in their local community was also seen to be important 85 per cent of those in years 8 and 10 having done something to help another person. More than two thirds of all respondents had helped to raise money for charity or for a local group. Just over half of the year 8 and 10 group felt their views were listened to in the running of their schools.

A significant minority of Year 8 and 10 children thought they needed better and or more information and advice on healthy eating, alcohol, smoking, drugs and sex and relationships. Asked about their futures more than half those taking part planned to go to university and 55 per cent of year 8 and 10 pupils wanted more or better information and advice about planning their future. Almost a third of children reported being bullied at least a couple of times in the last four weeks.

Ofsted will use the survey results to measure and monitor the effectiveness of the local services it inspects.