Consulting children and young people in Sheffield

Client: Sheffield City Council | NFER Contact: Fiona Walker

In May /June 2006, in preparation for the Joint Area Review, Sheffield City Council (SCC)’s Children and Young People’s Directorate, along with key partners, engaged in a citywide consultation with children and young people. The findings of this work have been published and provided valuable data to inform the Children and Young People’s Plan (CYPP), Service District plans and the consultation and participation strategies of a variety of agencies across the city.

A Participation and Consultation strategy is now in its final stages of production awaiting sign-off by Sheffield’s 0-19 Partnership. The strategy proposes a broad process of engagement with children and young people at a range of levels. Part of this process will be an annual survey of the views of children and young people, which will include survey work with a significant sample of children and young people.

Research questions

The purpose of the surveys at primary and secondary level are to capture the views of children and young people in Sheffield, in relation to the five Every Child Matters (ECM) outcomes and the priority areas identified in Sheffield’s CYPP.

Impact and outcomes

The aim of the surveys and focus groups is to assist SCC and its children’s trust partners in the planning and evaluation of services across the city and within service districts. It will further support the review and any subsequent update of the CYPP. It will also support schools’ self-evaluation and development and provide a valuable resource to support the brokering of services that will be delivered through children’s services within individual schools.

Research design and methods

The basic package includes two surveys, one for primary pupils (aged five to 11) and one for secondary and college students, including those participating in work-based learning (aged 12-19). To inform the development of the questionnaires, the research team will build on the NFER’s previous work with local authorities. The surveys will be developed with SCC and its children’s trust partners.

SCC will be responsible for inviting schools to participate in the research and for hosting the online survey. NFER will provide SCC with quality assurance (QA) guidelines and will be involved in the QA process.

The survey data will be matched to the Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC) in order to allow further analysis of the survey responses by variables held within the PLASC dataset, such as free school meals and special educational needs. NFER will be responsible for undertaking the analysis of the data and will produce a written report for SCC based on the findings.


SCC and their children’s trust partners will receive a full research report (at city level) and executive summary. The report will include background to the project, findings from the survey data (including tables where appropriate), issues for consideration and conclusions. Data on the different cohorts of children and young people will be reported separately within the report (that is children and young people aged seven to 11; 11-16; post16).

Time scale: September 2007 - February 2008

NFER Project Code: SCK