Agenda item

School Health and Wellbeing survey

The committee is invited to consider the attached report presenting an overview of key findings from pupil responses to the Wiltshire Children and Young People’s School Health and Wellbeing Survey 2021 (May to July).

This may highlight areas the committee would like to receive further information on at future meetings, or information session, or for further scrutiny (task group or rapid scrutiny).


A Public Health Strategist explained that children between the ages of 8 and 18 had taken part in a survey, which had been undertaken to inform planning, commissioning, and service improvement. The findings were generally positive suggesting that most children had good health and wellbeing. However, there was variation, with children identifying with vulnerable groups tending to have less favourable outcomes.  She noted that the survey went out in March 2020 but had to be cut short due to the pandemic and was then repeated in May-July 2021. The report before the committee was based mainly on the 2021 survey, but comparisons had been made with the 2020 report, and an earlier one in 2017, where there was significant variation. She then went on to outline the methodology and key findings, including:


• 65 schools had taken part in the 2021 survey including 4 independent schools. There had been a total of 7,499 responses with 55.8 percent of those coming from primary age children.

• 53 percent of those who took part identified with at least one of the vulnerable groups identified in the report.

• In order to establish how representative the survey had been, schools were ranked by the percentage of children eligible for free school meals. The primary schools with both the highest and lowest proportion of eligible children were represented. However, none of the nine secondary schools with the highest proportion of eligible children took part in the survey.

• All participating schools were given feedback about their results, as well as a comparison with the Wiltshire average, so that they could complete a self-evaluation.

• Six thematic reports would be published to look at specific areas e.g., healthy lifestyle.

• Secondary age pupils thought it was less easy to access mental health support than primary school children.

• A particular area of concern was a five percent increase, between the 2017 and 2021 surveys, in the percentage of Year 8 pupils saying that they had ever self-harmed.

• The findings of the 2021 survey would be presented to the Youth Council.

• The findings would also be discussed at strategic groups with different agencies, so they could establish the tangible actions that needed to take place.


The Public Health Strategist emphasised that social norms had a greater impact on young people than adults. She explained that the pre-frontal cortex, a part of the brain with an important role in planning and decision making, did not fully mature until a person was in their mid-20s. For this reason, young people had an increased demand for reward, making them more susceptible to influences from their peers. She was optimistic that the results of the survey could help to challenge young people’s perceptions about their own behaviour and be fed back to them in a constructive way.


During the discussion the following points were made:


• Members thanked the Public Health Strategist for the update.

• The Public Health Strategist explained that trauma training had shown that bullying behaviour was an indication of need by the perpetrator and that it was important to explore what was driving them to act in the way that they were. Further information about understanding this behaviour could be passed to schools.

• In response to a query about how more schools could be encouraged to participate in the next survey, it was explained that it was planned to carry out surveys every two to three years and that further work would be done with education colleagues.

• Members were encouraged to promote the survey to schools in their divisions.

• It was noted that there was probably a slight underrepresentation of pupils in receipt of free school meals from secondary schools. As data was taken from the school census it only captured those pupils receiving free school meals and not all of them that were eligible.

• Young people were keen to spend time with their peers so this might be reflected in the volunteering activities that they participated in.

• Decisions about questions in the surveys were taken in consultation with different departments across Wiltshire Council.

• The Public Health Strategist highlighted that the evidence base about the impact of gambling on young people was growing and it would be beneficial to obtain further comparative data.




1) For the committee to receive the five thematic reports and infographics when they are produced.

2) To receive an update within the next 12 months to inform the committee on actions taken, or plans made, by the council based on the outcome of the survey.

3) For Children’s Select Committee Members to lobby the schools in their division if they had not taken part in the survey to encourage them to take part in future surveys.


Supporting documents: