Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England 2018

What are the purposes and aims of the project?

This survey helps central and local government to better understand young people's behaviours and to develop policies, plan services and new initiatives and to monitor and evaluate their impact.

One of the ways the findings are used is to shape services and regulation that help to support and protect young people, including recent laws banning smoking in cars and plain packaging on cigarette boxes.

Who is sponsoring NFER to carry out this work?

The study is being carried out by NFER and Ipsos MORI, a leading market research organisation which has extensive experience of carrying out surveys of young people. NFER and Ipsos MORI have been asked to conduct the survey by NHS Digital.  NHS Digital has a responsibility to collect, analyse and publish health data, including that on young people’s health. The funding for the survey has come from the Department of Health and Social Care.

How have schools been selected to take part?

A random representative sample of schools was drawn by Ipsos MORI. Nearly every type of school with pupils in years 7 to 11 is eligible for selection. Very small schools, special schools and pupil referral units are excluded.

Do schools have to take part?

Participation in this project is entirely optional, however we rely on the goodwill of teachers and pupils to make the study a success and the information collected gives a vital snapshot of the situation across the country.

The study findings are used by the Government to develop health and education policies and to monitor the impact of legislation on young people's behaviour and attitudes.

What does taking part involve?

The survey involves 3 class groups from 3 different year groups to complete a self-completion questionnaire lasting around 40 minutes.

Ipsos MORI will send an experienced, trained study administrator to administer the paper questionnaires. They will explain to pupils what the study is about and how to fill in the questionnaire and will collect the questionnaires at the end of the session. The study administrators will liaise with you and your staff to find the best time to do this whilst causing minimal disruption to the school day.

All questionnaires are anonymous and we do not ask pupils to write their names on the front, only to answer some basic background information.

How will schools benefit from taking part?

As a thank you for your time, Ipsos MORI will provide you with a report showing how your school’s data compare against national averages, and a pack of lesson plans based around data that has recently been collected from young people. The school report will include:

  • how the survey findings for your school compare to results at the national level;
  • contextual health and policy information about smoking, drinking and drug use, and why it is important for schools to be involved in preventing and reducing these behaviours;
  • practical strategies on what schools can do to prevent and tackle these behaviours including topics that pupils may require more information on.

How will NFER use and protect the data collected?

Ipsos MORI will store participants’ information securely and keep it confidential. Pupils will not be required to provide their name on the questionnaire, and their answers will be combined with other pupils’ answers and only anonymous data will be reported. The results will be presented in a statistical report in summer 2019 and no individual child or school will be identified in the published report or statistics.

The data will be shared with authorised individuals at NHS Digital and the data file will be added to the UK Data Service, which is a website that holds data for hundreds of the UK’s most important research studies. Researchers will be able to look at the data for the purposes of not-for-profit research, teaching and personal educational development, but they will not be able to identify which schools or pupils have taken part in the study.

What are the outcomes of this research?

Findings from the main survey are published in a report and tables which are freely available on the NHS digital website.

Who can be contacted for more information?

If you have any questions or queries, please contact us on 01753 637096 or by email sddsurvey@nfer.ac.uk.

Read the NFER privacy notice for this project here.

Read the Ipsos MORI privacy notice for this project here.

Read the report Read the article