Publication - Research publication

Child Poverty Measurement Framework - The Wider Evidence Base

Published: 8 Aug 2014
Part of:
Research
ISBN:
9781784127299

The paper presents the wide range of data collected as part of the process of developing the measurement framework for Scotland’s Child Poverty Strategy presented in the 2014 Annual Report on Child Poverty. Alongside a more detailed analysis of the headline indicators, data is presented from sources considered for inclusion, but not included, in the measurement framework.

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Contents
Child Poverty Measurement Framework - The Wider Evidence Base
3. IMPROVE LIFE CHANCES OF CHILDREN IN POVERTY (PROSPECTS)

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3. IMPROVE LIFE CHANCES OF CHILDREN IN POVERTY (PROSPECTS)

Intermediate outcome 5: Children from low income households have improving levels of physical and mental health

92% are in good health

3.1. The headline indicator for physical health included in the measurement framework is the percentage of children aged between 2 and 15 from households in the bottom three income deciles with good or very good parent assessed health. In 2010 and 2011 (combined years), the percentage was 91.8 per cent. This is lower than the 98.4 per cent in the highest three income deciles.[18]

3.2. Overweight and obesity is also widely used as a proxy for children's general health. In 2012 and 2011 (combined years) 66.3 per cent of children aged between 2 and 15 from the lowest three income deciles had a Body Mass Index (BMI) within a healthy range (between the 2nd and 85th percentile of the UK growth reference charts). This is slightly lower than for children in the highest three income deciles (69.4 per cent).[19]

3.3. Breakdowns are also available from routine health assessments carried out for primary 1 children as part of the Child Health Systems Programme Schools system. This shows that in 2012/13 for children from the 15 per cent most deprived data zones, 74.5 per cent were in the healthy weight category, 12.8 were overweight (between the 85th and 95th percentile) and 11.6 per cent were obese (95th percentile or over). This compares to 78.2 per cent healthy weight, 11.8 overweight and 8.8 obese for children living in the rest of Scotland. The percentage of children who were underweight was 1.1 in the 15 per cent most deprived areas and 1.2 in the rest of Scotland.[20]

3.4. Dental health information from school inspections is another commonly used physical health indicator. Among the children inspected, 48 per cent living in the 15 most deprived areas had no obvious decay experience, compared to 69.4 in the rest of Scotland in 2012.[21]

20% have low WEMWBS scores

3.5. The headline indicator for the mental wellbeing aspect of children's health is the percentage of 13 and 15 year olds on free school meals with below average scores on the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS). Respondents are asked to indicate how often they have experienced 14 positive thoughts and feelings related to well-being and psychological functioning in the last two weeks. WEMWBS scores are reported on a scale of 14 to 70, with higher numbers indicating better mental wellbeing.[22] In 2010, 20 per cent of 13 and 15 year olds receiving free school meals had a below average WEMWBS score, compared to 12.3 per cent among children not receiving free school meals.[23]

3.6. Data on children's mental health is also available from the General Health Questionnaire 12 question set (GHQ12). GHQ12 is a widely used standard measure of mental distress and psychological ill-health consisting of questions on concentration abilities, sleeping patterns, self-esteem, stress, despair, depression, and confidence in the previous few weeks. Responses are scored and combined to create an overall score of between zero and twelve. A score of four or more (referred to as a 'high' GHQ12 score) has been used here to indicate the presence of a possible psychiatric disorder. In 2010 and 2011 (combined years), 10.5 per cent of 13 to 15 year olds from the three lowest income deciles and 7.7 per cent from the highest income deciles had a high GHQ12 score.[24]

3.7. General life satisfaction is also measured among 11, 13 and 15 year olds. Young people were asked to rate their life satisfaction using a visual analogue scale with 11 steps ranging from 0 (the worst possible life) to 10 (the best possible life). Respondents were asked to indicate at which step they would place their lives at present. Positive life satisfaction was defined as a score of 6 or more. This shows that in 2010, 84 per cent of children in the third least affluent households were satisfied with their life, compared to 90.9 per cent in the third most affluent households.[25]

3.8. Information is also available on the self-confidence of 11, 13 and 15 year olds. In 2010, 50.5 per cent from the third least affluent households and 61.7 from the third most affluent households reported feeling confident most or all of the time.[26]

3.9. The final area of indicators for the health outcome focuses on children and young people's health behaviours. Three indicators are included in the measurement framework, looking at diet, sedentary activities and smoking.

10% eat 5 portions of fruit and veg

3.10. The first headline indicator looks at diet as measured by fruit and vegetable consumption. In 2010 and 2011 (combined years) only 10.2 per cent of 2 to 15 year olds from households in the lowest three income deciles were eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, compared to 16.0 in the highest three income deciles.[27]

3.11. Another measure of the quality of children and young people's diets is crisp consumption among 2 to 15 year olds. In 2010 and 2011 (combined years), the percentage eating crisps every day was 46.9 per cent among children from households in the bottom three incomes deciles, almost twice as high as among those in the top three income deciles (26.2 per cent).[28]

14% have 4 hours screentime a day

3.12. The second health behaviour included in the measurement framework is screen time, a recognised measure of sedentary activities. In 2008 and 2010 (combined years) 14.1 per cent of 2 to 15 year olds from households in the lowest three income deciles spent four or more hours a day looking at a screen, higher than among children from the three highest income deciles (9 per cent).[29]

3.13. Physical activity is also measured directly. In 2010-11, 71 per cent of children aged 2-15 from the bottom three income deciles were active for at least 60 minutes a day (including school-based activity). The difference to children from the three top income deciles (76 per cent) was not statistically significant.[30]

3.14. Another measure of how active children are is the percentage of children walking or cycling to school. In 2012, 58 per cent of households with children in the lowest three income deciles reported that the child usually walks or cycles to school. This is higher than the 50 per cent in all other households with children.[31]

21% are regular smokers

3.15. The third and final health behaviour included in the measurement framework is smoking among 15 year olds. In 2010, 20.9 per cent of 15 year olds receiving free school meals were regular smokers, defined as smoking at least one cigarette a week, compared to 11 per cent among those not receiving free school meals.[32]

3.16. Information is also available on passive smoking, showing that 24.6 per cent of children in the bottom three income deciles had been exposed to second hand smoke, compared to just 1.8 per cent in the top three income deciles in 2012.[33]

3.17. Data on adolescent drinking shows that in 2010, 22.8 per cent of 15 year olds on free school meals reported drinking alcohol on a weekly basis, compared to 19.3 of those not receiving free school meals. Young people receiving free school meals also drank more on average than others: the mean weekly alcohol consumption among drinkers was 32.2 and 24.8 units among the two groups respectively.[34]

3.18. Data on drug use is also available. In 2010, 47.8 per cent of 15 year olds receiving free school meals and 41.4 per cent of other 15 year olds had ever been offered drugs. Among young people on free school meals, 25.6 per cent had taken drugs in the last year, and 9.3 per cent reported taking them at least once a month. For comparison, the percentages among those not receiving free school meals were 17.3 and 5.1 per cent respectively.[35]

Intermediate outcome 6: Children from low income households experience social inclusion and display social competence

58% played sport in the last week

3.19. The first indicator for this outcome included in the measurement framework looks at participation in sport as an example of a positive activity or hobby. In 2010 and 2011 (combined years), the percentage of children aged 2-15 from households in the bottom three income deciles who have played sport in the last week was 58.2 per cent. This is substantially lower than the 80.4 per cent who have done so in the top three income deciles.[36]

80% find it easy to talk to mother

3.20. The second headline indicator in the measurement framework is the ease with which children feel able to talk to their mother, included as a measure of family relationships and resilience. In 2010, 79.0 per cent of 11, 13 and 15 year olds from the bottom third of the family affluence scale found it easy to talk to their mother or stepmother. This compares to 81.5 per cent of those in the top third of the family affluence scale, which is not a statistically significant difference.[37]

3.21. The question is also asked in relation to the father or stepfather, where they are present. In 2010, 60.4 per cent of 11, 13 and 15 year olds from the bottom third of the family affluence scale found it easy to talk to their father or stepfather, compared to 65.1 per cent for those in the highest third of the family affluence scale.

3.22. Information is also available on how supportive parents and other household members are towards children's learning. In 2013, 67 per cent of Secondary 2 pupils from the 30 per cent most deprived areas reported that someone at home asked them what they did in school very often. Among the 30 per cent least deprived groups the percentage was 71 per cent. In addition, 57 per cent of Secondary 2 pupils from the 30 per cent most deprived areas reported that there was someone who helped them with their homework if they needed help very often. The percentage in the least deprived groups was 63 per cent. Patterns were similar at Primary 4 and Primary 7.[38]

71% feel accepted by pupils

3.23. The third headline indicator for the social inclusion outcome related to children feeling valued at school. In 2010, 71.1 per cent of 11, 13 and 15 year olds from the bottom third of the family affluence scale agreed that pupils in their class accept them, compared to 77.4 per cent for those in the highest third of the family affluence scale.

3.24. There are a number of related indicators about social inclusion in schools. In 2010, 79.4 per cent of 11, 13 and 15 year olds from the bottom third of the family affluence scale felt that their teachers accepted them as they were, 60.3 per cent thought that their teacher cared about them as a person, and 54.2 trusted their teachers. Children from the highest third of the family affluence scale had very similar perceptions (79.8 per cent, 60.6 per cent and 53.7 per cent respectively).[39]

3.25. Looking at bullying, in 2010, 25.7 per cent of 11, 13 and 15 year olds from the bottom third of family affluence scale had had at least one experience of bullying in the last 2 months. This compares 21.8 per cent of those in the highest third of the family affluence scale.[40]

3.26. Information is also available on friendship groups. In 2010, 82.6 per cent of 13 year olds on free school meals had at least three or more close friends, compared to 85.9 per cent among other 13 year olds. Among 15 year old children, 78.3 per cent of pupils on free school meals had at least three or more close friends, compared to 85.3 per cent for those not receiving free school meals.[41]

Intermediate outcome 7: Children from low income households have improving relative levels of educational attainment, achieving their full potential

3.27. The measurement framework will include a headline indicator measuring educational attainment, recognised as key factor contributing to the future prospects of Scotland's children, and which also displays a strong social gradient. The Scottish Government is currently working with key partners to discuss these issues further. The indicator for inclusion in the measurement framework will be presented in the next annual report.

3.28. There are a number of national datasets that could support the monitoring of different aspects of improvement in attainment and achievement across Scotland. Tariff scores are one option for measuring attainment which is widely used. To calculate tariff scores, points are awarded for particular grades in particular level courses. The tariff score is calculated by simply adding together all the tariff points accumulated from all the different course levels and awards a pupil attains. The average tariff score was 407 in 2012/13. Tariff scores display a strong social gradient, and increase as deprivation decreases. The methodology for calculating tariff scores has been revised substantially for reporting on the 2013/14 attainment, and therefore comparisons between current scores and future scores will not be possible.

3.29. Attainment information is also available from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international test for 15 year olds in reading, mathematics and science skills. This provides measures of how much variation in test scores can be explained by socio-economic and cultural factors measured through the Index of Economic, Social and Cultural Status[42]. In 2012, 13 per cent of variation in maths PISA scores, and 11 per cent of variation in reading PISA scores and science PISA scores could be explained by socio-economic factors. This was similar to the OECD average.[43]

3.30. PISA also looks at degree to which average attainment changes as social background changes. In 2012, the impact of a one point[44] improvement on the

Index of Economic, Social & Cultural Status was 37 points for maths, 34 points for reading and 36 points for science, roughly equivalent to one year of education. Again, this was similar to the OECD average.[45]

3.31. Literacy and numeracy levels are also measured through the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy. For numeracy, in 2013, 61 per cent of Primary 4 pupils in the most deprived 30 per cent SIMD areas performed well or very well at the relevant Curriculum level, substantially lower than the 75 per cent of those in the 30 per cent least deprived areas. Gaps were even larger at Primary 7 (53 and 77 per cent) and Secondary 2 (25 and 52 per cent).[46]

3.32. Similar differences in performance were evident for literacy: In 2012, 74 per cent of Primary 4 pupils in the deprived areas were performing well or very well at the relevant level in reading, compared to 91 per cent for the least deprived category. The gap was similar at both Primary 7 (82 and 96 per cent) and Secondary 2 (75 and 92 per cent).[47]

3.33. Regarding writing, 54 per cent of Primary 4 pupils in the most deprived areas were performing well or very well at or beyond the relevant level in 2012. This compares to 75 per cent of children in the least deprived category. The gap was slightly wider at Primary 7 (61 and 82 per cent) and Secondary 2 (54 and 76 per cent).[48]

9.4 mean Strengths and Difficulties score

3.34. The headline measure for cognitive and emotional skills included in the measurement framework is the Mean Strength and Difficulties (SDQ) score for children aged 4-12 years of children from households in the bottom three income deciles. SDQ results are presented as a difficulty score on a range from 0 to 40, with higher scores indicating higher risk of mental health and behavioural problems. A score up to 13 is considered normal. The mean score for children aged 4 to 12 from households in the bottom three income deciles was 9.4 in 2010 and 2011 (combined years). This compares to a score of 6.6 for the top three income deciles.[49]

91% are satisfied with school

3.35. The final headline indicator for this outcome included in the measurement framework is satisfaction with local schools, included as a proxy of school quality. In 2012, 91 per cent of adults from households with children in the bottom three income deciles were satisfied with local schools (analysis excludes those with no opinion). This is not a statistically significant difference from to the 89 per cent for the rest of Scotland.[50]

3.36. Finally, data is available on the motivations for learning and perceptions of school children. In 2013, 84 per cent of Secondary 2 school pupils from the 30 per cent most deprived areas agreed that they enjoyed learning. The percentage in the 30 per cent least deprived areas was 90 per cent. Levels saying they enjoyed learning were higher among the Primary 4 and Primary 7 groups and the percentage enjoying learning were similar between deprivation groups.[51]

3.37. In the same year, 93 per cent of Secondary 2 school pupils from the 30 per cent most deprived areas were interested in learning about different things. The percentage for the least deprived group was similar at 96 per cent. Percentages among Primary 4 and Primary 7 children were similar and there was little difference between deprivation groups at these ages.

3.38. Almost all Secondary 2 children also agreed that they wanted to do well in their learning (96 per cent in the most deprived and 98 per cent in the least deprived groups). Percentages were similarly high among Primary 4 and Primary 7 children. However, among Secondary 2 pupils the percentage agreeing a lot was notably lower in the 30 per cent most deprived group (82 per cent) than the 30 per cent least deprived group (90 per cent). No such difference was evident in the younger age groups.[52]

Intermediate outcome 8: Young people from low income backgrounds are in good quality, sustained employment in line with skills and ambitions

82% are in positive destinations

3.39. The first indicator for the young people's employment outcome included in the measurement framework is the percentage of school leavers in positive destinations, defined as higher education, further education, employment, training, voluntary work or activity agreements. For those who left school during or at the end of the academic year 2012/13, 81.9 per cent of school leavers from the 15 per cent most deprived areas were in a positive destination approximately 9 months after leaving school. This is compared to 91.6 per cent of all other school leavers.

3.40. Going beyond school, in 2011-12, 64.4 per cent of graduates were in positive destinations 6 months after graduating. This information cannot be broken down by income or deprivation.

86% expect to be in positive destinations

3.41. The second headline indicator in the measurement framework relates to expectations for being in a positive destination. In 2010, 86.4 per cent of 15 year olds in the lowest third of the family affluence scale thought that they would be in a positive destination when they left school. This compares to 90.6 per cent of those in the top third of the family affluence scale.[53]

25,284 Modern Apprenticeship start, 77% Modern Apprenticeship completion rate

3.42. The final two indicators under this outcome relate to Modern Apprenticeships as an example of suitable work for young people, and should be read in conjunction. The number of Modern Apprenticeships starts, a measure of the availability of suitable employment, was 25,284 in 2013/2014, while the Modern Apprenticeships completion rate was 77 per cent. It should be noted that there are a number of reasons why a young person may not complete an apprenticeship, including moving to a higher level job or another positive destination.


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