The Twelve Stats of Christmas

Ten lords a leaping, three wise men, two turtle doves. Christmas really is all about stats.  This week Pete Benton, Director of Data Collection at ONS, treated BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright and his afternoon audience to a festive feast of seasonal statistics:

Love them or you hate them, their place in Christmas tradition is undeniable – Brussels sprouts.  According to some highly informal ONS research commissioned by Pete….

  • Supermarkets sell approximately 750million individual Brussels sprouts at Christmas time, but if you estimate how many are eaten, it’s only about half of that.
  • 25% of the whole year’s sprout sales are in the two weeks before Christmas.
  • An area covering 3240 football pitches are used to grow Brussels sprouts in the UK – and if you lined all those sprouts up, they would stretch from London to Sydney.

The occupation with the largest proportion of Christmas Day workers though was clergy, with 51% working. In total though, on Christmas Day 2016, 1.082 million people worked – that’s 3.4% of all in employment, and on Boxing Day 2016, 1.574 million people worked – 4.9% of all in employment.

Christmas marks the birth of a special baby and ONS data show that 1,391 babies were born in England & Wales on Christmas Day 2016.  When it comes to seasonal baby names, in 2017 – we had 166 called ‘Angel’, 4 called ‘Gift’, 37 ‘Star’s and 5 ‘Merry’s.  Holly was especially popular in December, 209 baby girls were named Holly in December 2017, compared to an average of 72 each month from January to November. For boys, last year there were 967 Gabriel’s, 398 babies named Nicholas and 120 named Noel.

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

  • Care Leaver Covenant: Children’s and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi has announced a scheme to raise the career aspirations and improve the life skills of care leavers. The Care Leaver Covenant has been signed by more than 50 businesses, charities and government departments in England who have committed to provide work based opportunities to young people leaving the care system. The scheme aims to create 10,000 work opportunities for care leavers over the next 10 years.  For further information check out the Care Leaver Covenant website and see the pledges from government departments.
  • Online Safety: Childnet International has produced guidance for parents and carers on looking after the digital wellbeing of children and young people. This includes having an awareness of how being online can make children and young people feel, and how they can look after themselves and others when online. The guidance includes: age specific information about how children and young people are interacting with the internet; top tips to support young people at this age; and ideas to help start a conversation about digital wellbeing.
  • Loneliness Strategy: The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a strategy setting out the government’s approach to tackling loneliness in England – A connected society: a strategy for tackling loneliness – laying the foundations for change. The strategy refers to loneliness experienced by children and young people and states that the new subjects of relationships education for primary schools and relationships and sex education (RSE) for secondary schools, due to become compulsory in all schools in England in September 2020, will emphasise the value of social relationships. The guidance content for teachers will highlight the impact of loneliness, particularly on mental health.
  • Child trafficking: Europol has published a report on child trafficking in the European Union. Findings from a study of almost 600 intelligence contributions reported to Europol by member states between 2015 and 2017 include: traffickers active in the EU target underage victims mainly for sexual exploitation; the majority of non- EU networks reported to Europol involved Nigerian organised crime groups which traffic female children and women to be sexually exploited; trafficking and exploitation of male children, especially for sexual exploitation, remains an under-reported phenomenon at EU level.
  • Modern slavery: The Home Office has published an annual report on modern slavery in the UK giving an overview of modern slavery and how the UK has responded to it over the last 12 months. The report finds that 2,121 potential child victims of modern slavery were referred to the national referral mechanism (NRM) in 2017. The NRM is a victim identification and support process that is designed to make it easier for agencies involved in a trafficking case to cooperate, share information about potential victims and facilitate their access to advice, accommodation and support.
  • Knife Crime: The Guardian reports that figures obtained from nine of the NHS’s 11 regional major trauma centres in England that treat adults and children show that they dealt with 2,278 victims of serious knife crime in 2017-18, with cases involving under-18s increasing by 24.4% since 2015-16.
  • Kinship Care: Grandparents Plus has published a report looking at the challenges faced by kinship carers – grandparents and other family members – who have taken on the care of children who aren’t able to live with their parents. Findings from responses to a survey from 1,139 kinship carers across the UK show that the most common reasons for children living with respondents include: parental drug or alcohol misuse (51%), abuse and/or neglect (54%), a parent being unable to cope (39%), and domestic violence (31%). Carers also report that 54% of the children in their care have special needs, of which 85% have emotional or behavioural problems.

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Children’s access to healthy food: The Food Foundation has released a report analysing Public Health England’s (PHE) Eatwell guide, finding that 3.7 million children in the UK live in households for whom a healthy diet is increasingly unaffordable. Families earning less than £15,860 would need to spend 42% of after-housing income on food to meet the costs of the Government’s nutrition guidelines. The report calls for a national measurement of food insecurity in the UK.

Parental responsibility: guidance: The Department for Education has published guidance to help schools and local authorities in England understand and deal with issues relating to parental responsibility as recognised by education law, in particular in situations where parental responsibility can be confusing or unclear.

Young carers: Coram has published an evaluation of the Young carers in schools Programme, a free England-wide initiative delivered by Carers Trust and The Children’s Society aimed at improving the identification and support of young carers in schools.  The published report, A better relationship with learning: an evaluation of the young carers in schools programme, involved an online survey of 103 schools involved in the programme, 14 interviews with schools and other stakeholders, and two focus groups with young carers. Findings include: the introduction of the programme resulted in the identification of an increased number of young carers; 85% of schools reported that young carers were demonstrating increased wellbeing; 83% reported increased happiness and 83% reported increased confidence.

Mental health policy in England: The House of Commons Library has published a briefing on mental health policy in England. The briefing includes reference to services for children and young people.

Children and young people’s mental health networks: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced the creation of eight mental health networks to bring researchers, charities and other organisations together to address mental health research questions including: health inequalities for people with severe mental ill health; social isolation; youth and student mental health; and domestic and sexual violence.

In the service of youth – making waves in youth work: This year’s Institute for Youth Work conference is taking place in Brighton on the 10th November, it will be an opportunity to both celebrate Youth Work Week and the conference theme: coastal youth work.  The conference is being co-hosted by the University of Brighton, and consequently one of the aims of the conference is to create a short paper on the unique nature of coastal youth work.

Suicide data from the UK and what does this mean for suicide prevention?  The latest data shows that there were 5,821 suicides registered in 2017 in the UK, and the number and rate has decreased for the third year in the row. The decrease has mainly occurred in men, and the picture is different for women with the number of suicides remaining stable. However, men still account for three quarters of all suicides. Also, rates are not uniformly decreasing for all groups of men; rates in some age groups are increasing, for example men aged 45-49.

What Will Happen In Your Body In The Next 60 Seconds

Even when we sit around doing nothing at all, our bodies are busy.  Sustaining life is an miraculous feat, and every organ of your body must work together around the clock to keep it going.  For your entire lifetime.  When you know all the stuff going on, you’ll have a real sense of accomplishment – or else you’ll be exhausted.

Space photos show UK transforming from green to brown after heat waves

The usual verdant grasses surrounding Buckingham Palace and much of the British Open’s 176-year-old Carnoustie golf course have yellowed since May.

A lack of rain combined with near-record heat through the first half of the summer created this situation, and satellites images from the United Kingdom’s Met Office illustrate the expansive reach of the isles’ browning grasses.

Like the UK, much of the world — even Arctic regions — have been hit with extreme heatwaves or hot spells in the last couple weeks or longer.

Heatwaves, say climate scientists, would certainly happen regardless of whether or not human-caused climate change is a factor. But the planet has been warming at an accelerated pace for 40 years now, making heat extremes more likely.

So far this summer, the UK is on track to challenge 1995 as the driest UK summer in recorded history, Alex Deacon, a Met Office meteorologist, explained online. The same can be said for the UK’s heat since early June.

“It’s been quite remarkable if we take 2018 so far. We could be pushing records” he said.

Though it can be challenging to attribute any particular weather event, like a heatwave, to climate change, with improving measurements scientists have begun to a connect extreme weather events to the changing climate.

 

Teacher say children face mental health epidemic

Teenage mental health charity stem4 have released findings from a survey of teachers looking at children and young people’s mental health issues in schools.

Findings from an online survey of 300 teachers working in primary and secondary schools , and further education colleges in the UK show that:

  • 78% of teachers said that at least one of their pupils has experienced a mental health issue over the past year;
  • 14% said that at least one of their pupils has experienced suicidal thoughts and behaviours over the past year;
  • 66% reported a pupil has suffered anxiety, and
  • 45% have witnessed a student with depression
  • 30% engaged with a pupil who had an eating disorder
  • 28% supported a pupil with self-harm
  • 10% reported a pupil who had an addiction.

Yet the teachers told the survey that just under half (46%) of students are unable to access the mental health services they need to make a recovery, with only one in five (19%) saying all these students were getting the treatment they needed. One in five (22%) say pupils needing specialist treatment typically had to wait more than five months for an appointment, and more than a third (36%) had feared at some point that a pupil would come to harm while waiting for treatment.

Nearly one in ten (9%) described their school’s mental health provision as ‘non-existent’, with 30% saying it was inadequate or very inadequate. Four in ten (40%) of the state school teachers surveyed say the need for mental health services has increased over the past year. Over half (52%) of all respondents believed family difficulties were contributing to their students’ problems while other common causes were exam stress and the emotional impact of bullying, both cited by 41%.

For more information read their full news release.

Knife crime statistics

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper summarising the available statistics relating to knife crime in England and Wales. The paper includes Crime Survey of England and Wales data relating to children and young people which shows that for the year ending March 2016 6.2 % of 10 – 15 year olds and 4.2% of 16 – 29 year olds knew someone who carried a knife for their own protection.

Other key statistics include:

  • Recorded crime: In the year ending March 2017, there were 34,700 (selected) offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales. This is the highest number in the seven-year series (from year ending March 2011) the earliest point for which comparable data are available.

  • Homicide: In 2016/17 there were 215 homicides currently recorded using a sharp instrument, including knives and broken bottles, accounting for 30% of all homicides – a similar number as recorded in 2015/16 (213).
  • Knife crime by police force area: London recorded the highest rate of 137 offences involving a knife per 100,000 population3 in 2016/17, an increase of 23 offences from 2015/16. Surrey had the lowest rate of 4 offences per 100,000 individuals (down 2 from 2015/16).
  • Proven offences and offenders: In year ending March 2018, there were 21,044 disposals given for possession of a knife or offensive weapon. Juveniles (aged 10-17) were the offenders in 21% of cases.
  • Hospital admissions: There were 4,434 finished consultant episodes (FCE) recorded in English hospitals in 2016/17 due to assault by a sharp object. This was an increase of 7.6% compared to 2015/16 and 21.7% higher than in 2014/15.

Suicide in England and Wales increasing among young people

The Guardian reports on figures that show the overall the number of deaths by suicide among those age 10 to 19 in England and Wales has increased by 24 per cent from 148 deaths in 2013/14 to 184 tickets in 2015/16. The number of deaths by suicide in the same age category increased by 107 per cent from 2013/14 to 2015/16 in London itself.

The Brent Centre for Young People in north London under the 2000 Freedom of Information Act requested the information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  The centre called for more investment in mental health services and education to prevent a “needless waste of young lives”.

Dr Maxim de Sauma, the chief executive of the centre, which supports more than 600 young people with mental health problems each year, said: “When young people with crippling or disabling mental health conditions are not given the support they need, it wastes lives.”

Read the full article here.

Redefining the word ‘bully’

Major dictionaries are to stop defining bullies as strong and their targets as weak after a campaign.  Anti-bullying activists persuaded the Oxford, Cambridge and Collins Dictionaries, and online dictionaries, to change their definitions.

Previously, a bully was defined as a person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate weaker people.  Now the victim of bullying is described as someone who “they perceive as vulnerable”.

The campaign was led by anti-bullying charity Diana Award and received support from young people.  They lobbied dictionary firms to remove the word weak from their definitions.

Alex Holmes, the charity’s deputy chief executive, said:

“A core part of our work is to educate young people that a bully is not inherently strong and being a victim does not mean you are weak.

“By removing weak from the definition we can instil confidence in those who have or are still experiencing bullying and help future generations better understand bullying behaviour.”

The campaign harnessed the support of young people and social media to urge dictionary companies to remove the word ‘weak’ from their definitions of bully or bullying.  A YouGov poll revealed that 72% of GB children, aged 13-17yrs, agreed that the definition of ‘bully’ should be updated.  The campaign for change also received widespread support from celebrities and key influencers.