Survey offers glimpse into lives of youngsters in Sheffield

The survey offers a glimpse of what life is like in Sheffield for children
The survey offers a glimpse of what life is like in Sheffield for children
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Thousands of children have provided a snapshot into life as a youngster in Sheffield in a survey which will help shape future services.

More than 8,000 schoolchildren, aged between six and 15, from 79 schools across the city have taken part in Sheffield Council's Every Child Matters Survey.

The survey found there is a high consumption of sugary drinks across all age groups

The survey found there is a high consumption of sugary drinks across all age groups

The survey, which takes the form of an anonymous questionnaire, covers a wide variety of questions and topics and gives officials a useful insight into what it’s like to be a young person growing up in Sheffield.

The survey found that two thirds of primary school children read at home most days, fewer young people aged 14 to 15 smoke everyday compared to 2013 and 2014/15 and three quarters of 14 and 15-year-olds believe they would be able to recognise controlling behaviour in a relationship and feel confident to do something about it.

But the survey found only a third of primary pupils eat vegetables everyday and children as young as six have been bullied online.

It also found there is a high consumption of sugary drinks across all age groups and one in five 14 and 15-year-olds said they get six hours or less on a school night - with the main reasons for this being the use of technology.

More than 8,000 children took part in the survey

More than 8,000 children took part in the survey

The survey results are used by Sheffield Council and schools as well as our partner organisations such as South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, health services, South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Young Carers and the voluntary sector.

Councillor Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families at Sheffield Council, said: “Children and young people’s voices play a vital role in shaping our services.

"This survey helps us to find out what matters to our children and young people, understand what their lives are like, develop our priorities and policies and make a difference to the way we deliver things.

"I would like to thank all the schools who enable our children and young people to take part in this important survey.”

Councillor Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families at Sheffield Council

Councillor Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families at Sheffield Council

The topics covered in the survey are health - diet, exercise, sleep, emotional health, substance misuse and sexual health - friendships and relationships, being a young carer, online safety, fire safety, road safety, school, spare-time activities, the future and the environment.

The results have highlighted areas which council officials need to focus on.

In early 2018, the council will launch a campaign to encourage youngsters to cut down on their sugar intake and further develop a sleep strategy which will include support for parents and children.

Previous surveys have helped to help cut smoking rates in schools.

Sheffield Smokefree Programme uses the results to measure smoking prevalence and to target support to schools where smoking rates are highest.

Schools also use the results to drive health improvement initiatives.

Findings from previous surveys have informed the work on adolescent mental health, which has now led to support services going into more than 40 schools across the city.

Headteacher at Waterthorpe Nursery and Infant School, Helen Stokes, said: “The survey is a valuable tool to collect the views, feelings and experiences of children in a range of important areas. It has helped us in planning our safeguarding work this year and provided excellent evidence to share with families, governors and Ofsted.”

Headteacher at Emmanuel Junior Academy, Charlotte Newton-Wall, said: "The survey provides us with an insight into the children’s opinions and experiences.

"It helps us to create bespoke sessions to address issues raised."

The report of the Every Child Matters Survey is available to download at www.sheffield.gov.uk/ecm