Publication - Impact assessment

Summer offer for children and young people - 'Get Into Summer' programme: equality impact assessment

This EQIA concerns the £20 million summer offer for children and young people, one of the Scottish Government's 100 Days commitments.

Summer offer for children and young people - 'Get Into Summer' programme: equality impact assessment
Stage 2: Data and evidence gathering, involvement and consultation

Stage 2: Data and evidence gathering, involvement and consultation

A variety of information sources were used in compiling this EQIA. Key findings are noted below and reinforce the aims and objectives of the Summer Offer for Children and Young People.

In June 2020[13] there were:

  • 1,026,922 children (under 18 years old) in Scotland
  • Of these, 207,091 children were aged 0-3 years and 499,162 children were aged 0-8 years
  • There were 527,849 young people aged 18-25

A CEYRIS 1 survey[14] of parents of 2 – 7 year olds carried out in June/July 2020 found that the youngest children also displayed a decline in mental wellbeing during the initial lockdown period:

  • (Protected characteristic – Age)
    • Mental wellbeing – Almost half (46%) of 2-3 year olds and over a third (36%) of 4-7 year olds had a slightly raised, high, or very high Strength and Difficulty Score, indicating the presence of behavioural or emotional difficulties. This is higher than in a nationally representative survey completed just before lockdown (however, given that this was not a representative survey such comparisons should be interpreted cautiously).
    • Behaviour – Almost half (47%) of parents said that their child's behaviour was worse than before lockdown, 45% said that it was the same and 8% said it was better.
    • Mood – Almost half (47%) of parents said that their child's mood was worse than before lockdown, 45% said that it was the same and 8% said it was better.
    • Concentration – Four in ten parents (40%) said that their child's ability to concentrate was worse than before lockdown, around half (53%) said it was the same and 6% said it was better.
    • Children from low income and lone parent households, and children affected by disability had worse outcomes across all these measures.
  • (Protected characteristic – Disability)
    • Children with a long-term health condition were less likely to receive a score of 'close to average' on SDQ. The biggest differences were hyperactivity and peer problems, where more children with a health condition required additional support.
    • The decline during lockdown in relation to children's behaviour and life was more severe for children with a long-term health condition. The biggest differences were in relation to sleeping and the ability to concentrate.
    • Parents of children with a long-term health condition were more likely to fare poorly in terms of their own mental health and wellbeing during lockdown than parents whose child did not have a long-term health condition.
    • A greater proportion of parents with a child with a long-term health condition were unable to access a health visitor/family nurse or a social worker when they needed them during lockdown than parents with a child with no long-term health condition.

A Children's Parliament survey[15] of 8 - 14 year olds carried out over April, May and June 2020 found that:

  • (Protected characteristic – Age)
    • Over a quarter (26-28%) of young people often felt lonely.
    • Across the three months, around a third of respondents indicated that there were lots of things to worry about, while more than half expressed a general worry about the future. Around a quarter reported being worried about five or more things.
    • Other measures showed a fall in mental wellbeing between April and June. In June, 59% felt in a positive mood, compared with 65% in April, and 67% felt resilient, compared with 72% in April.
    • Girls, particularly older girls, had consistently worse mental wellbeing outcomes. Mental wellbeing also declined with age.

The Lockdown Lowdown 1 survey[16] of 11 - 25 year olds carried out in April 2020 found that:

  • (Protected characteristic – Age)
    • 4 in 10 were concerned about their mental wellbeing. Half were concerned about the wellbeing of others. Mental wellbeing was the topic young people were most concerned about, alongside the school closures, exams and coursework.
    • In qualitative research carried out in October/November young people discussed that the initial lockdown had made existing mental health concerns more pronounced, due to lack of time with friends and increased social media use.
    • Qualitative research on experiences of vulnerable children, young people, and parents during the Covid-19 pandemic (unpublished, link to follow) found almost all respondents reported reduced mental wellbeing during the initial lockdown.

The CEYRIS 2 survey[17] of parents of 2 – 7 year olds carried out in November and December 2020 found that:

  • (Protected characteristic – Age)
    • Mental wellbeing – Almost half (39%) of 2-3 year olds and over a third (31%) of 4-7 year olds had a slightly raised, high, or very high Strength and Difficulty Score, indicating the presence of behavioural or emotional difficulties. This is slightly lower than during the initial lockdown but remains higher than in a nationally representative survey completed just before lockdown (however, given that this was not a representative survey such comparisons should be interpreted cautiously).
    • Behaviour – Half (50%) of parents said that their child's behaviour was the same as during the initial lockdown, three in ten (29%) felt that it had improved, and two in ten (20%) felt that it had got worse.
    • Mood – Just under half (46%) of parents said that their child's mood was the same as during the initial lockdown, just over a third (33%) felt that it had improved, while a firth (21%) felt that it had got worse.
    • Concentration – The majority of parents (61%) said that their child's ability to concentrate as about the same as during the initial lockdown, 27% said it was better, and 12% said it was worse.

The Children's Parliament survey[18] of 8 - 14 year olds carried out in September 2020 found that:

  • (Protected characteristic – Age)
    • Respondents generally felt cheerful and in a good mood (64%); the largest increase in positive responses came from 12 to 14 year olds.
    • There were significant improvements in children reporting that they often felt lonely (from 26% to 20%). This was particularly so for the group of children who had reported highest levels of loneliness during lockdown 1, i.e. girls aged 12 to 14 (from 34% to 20%).
    • Rates of worry across a range of topics including school work and 'the future' remained constant and worry about child and family health, money problems and exams increased post lockdown. Girls aged 12 to 14 were consistently most likely to agree that there were are lots of things worry about in their lives, whilst children aged 8 to 11 were more likely to report worrying about multiple areas than in previous surveys.
    • There was a decline in respondents saying they felt resilient post lockdown, particularly for older girls and 8 to 11 year olds.
  • (Protected characteristic – Sex / Gender)
    • girls were less likely to feel resilient at both ages 8 to 11 (58%) and 12 to 14 (54%) than boys (76% 8 to 11; 69% 12 to 14%).

The Teen Covid Life 2 survey[19] of 12 - 18 year olds carried out in August to October 2020 found that:

  • (Protected characteristic – Age)
    • A fifth (20%) of young people reported feeling lonely most or all of the time – a smaller proportion of young people than during lockdown 1 (29%), but still substantially higher than pre-lockdown levels (9%). Girls were more likely to say that they felt lonely than boys.
    • 53% of respondents reported low mood as measured by the World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5) , an improvement from the previous survey, where 58% reported low mood. Older respondents and girls were more likely to report low mood.
  • (Protected characteristic – Sex / Gender)
    • a higher percentage of female participants (56% for those aged 12 - 14, 64% for those aged 15 - 18) reported low mood compared with male participants (33% for those aged 12 – 14, 46% for those aged 15 - 18).

The Lockdown Lowdown 2 survey[20] of 11 - 25 year olds carried out in September to November 2020 found that:

  • (Protected characteristic – Age)
    • Overall, wellbeing outcomes worsened with age
    • Only 4 in 10 respondents aged 11-25 said that they felt good about their mental health and wellbeing.
    • This was very strongly patterned by age, with 69% of young people aged 11 to 13 agreeing, compared with 32% of those aged 16 to 18, and 20% of those aged over 18. Young people in the most deprived areas were least likely to agree.
    • The survey also found significant anxiety – about Covid-19 itself, exam pressure and employment prospects.
  • (Protected characteristic – Disability)
    • that young people with a disability or long term illness had worse outcomes than other groups across most questions.
    • This included lower self-assessed physical and mental wellbeing; lower satisfaction with educational arrangements; lower percentages reporting good relationships with family and friends; lower levels of optimism about both current and future employment; and higher levels of concern about catching and transmitting Covid-19.
  • (Protected characteristic – Race / Ethnicity)
    • Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) respondents were less likely to feel good about their physical health (52% agreed they felt good) than white respondents (60%), and less likely to feel that their educational establishment had reopened in a safe way (51% compared with 64%).
  • (Protected characteristic – Sex / Gender)
    • male respondents were substantially more likely to agree that they felt good about their mental health & wellbeing (59%) than female respondents (34%).

In qualitative survey answers to the Lockdown Lowdown 2 survey[21] of 11 – 25 year olds carried out in September to November 2020 and in associated focus groups carried out in October and November 2020, many young people discussed the mental wellbeing benefits of being able to meet up with their friends again and not being confined to their homes.

In qualitative research on experiences of vulnerable children, young people, and parents during the Covid-19 pandemic (unpublished, link to follow) most respondents reported improvements in their mental wellbeing once restrictions eased over the summer and autumn of 2020, although many continued to experience low mental wellbeing.

The 'In isolation instead of school' (INISS) survey[22] and focus group research with 14 – 20 year olds carried between August and September 2020 found that:

  • (Protected characteristic – Age)
  • 9% of young people responding to the survey met 'clinical threshold' levels for depression, 7% for anxiety, and 28% were categorised as having elevated avoidance and intrusive thoughts and behaviours in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Between a third and two fifths of all young people surveyed, reported that school closure had negative impacts on their mental health and wellbeing: 34% reported that feelings of anxiety became much or a bit worse; 44% reported that feelings of depression became much or a bit worse since the start of the pandemic.
  • Returning to school generally had a positive impact on wellbeing, though this was coupled with anxiety about Covid-19 related risks.
  • Qualitative findings included mixed feelings around the cancellation of examinations in 2020, some stress related to learning at home, difficulty for some in maintaining motivation to learn, the increased and supportive role of social media, and some difficulty in accessing support from school during the first lockdown.

Focus groups with parents from lower occupational groups conducted in January 2021 (unpublished) found that:

  • For both parents and children and young people, mental wellbeing was (at that time) at its lowest since the start of the pandemic.
  • Most parents reported low mental wellbeing among their children, and some reported anger, anxiety, depression, boredom and worry in their children.
  • Due to the weather, children were staying inside and peer contact was often online only. Older children could be reluctant to spend more time on a screen after being on one all day and some chose not to speak to friends

At the UK level, a Public Health England evidence report[23] on mental health and wellbeing drawing on data from the beginning of the pandemic up to January 2021 found that:

  • There is growing indicative evidence that Covid-19 and associated interventions have likely had an adverse effect on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, but also that there is increasing evidence that many children and young people are coping well overall and some have reported benefits for their mental health following the reopening of schools.
  • Experiences vary by children and young people's characteristics, with those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, those with existing mental health conditions, those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and those living in low income families more likely to have been negatively affected than other children and young people.

A survey by Family Fund[24] carried out during March and April 2020 found that:

  • (Protective characteristic: Disability)
    • 94% of families said the health and wellbeing of their disabled or seriously ill children had been negatively affected, an increase from 89% in first few weeks of the lockdown.
    • 89% said their disabled or seriously ill children's behaviour and emotions were being negatively affected and 82% reported a negative effect on their mental health.
    • 65% said their access to formal support services for their child, such as physiotherapy and mental health services, has declined since the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Disabled Children's Partnership[25] has published findings of a survey with of disabled children and their families in England conducted in April 2021. It found:

  • A high proportion of disabled children and their families were still experiencing severe levels of social isolation despite the easing of restrictions.
  • Over half of families were unable to access therapies vital for their disability and 60% of families were experiencing delays and challenges accessing health service appointments.
  • Disabled children and their families were at risk of developing additional long-term health problems.
  • (Protected characteristic – Race)
    • A report by Intercultural Youth Scotland[26] based on a small survey of 63 BME 15 – 25 year olds carried out over the summer of 2020 found that more than half of respondents were worried about the disproportionate impacts of Covid-19 on black and people of colour and more than a third of respondents felt uncomfortable with the increased police presence during lockdown. Almost half agreed with the statement that they 'had less opportunities than my white counterparts, and Covid-19 has highlighted this'. 68% of respondents believed that their education was at greater risk than their white counterparts due to Covid-19 disruption.
    • Qualitative research on experiences of vulnerable children, young people, and parents during the Covid-19 pandemic (unpublished, link to follow) includes findings from two young people in gypsy/traveller families aged 13 and 16 years old. The research found that:
    • Findings suggest many similar experiences as other young participants, for example around mental health, peer relationships, family tensions and social media.
    • One finding related to this particular group was that neither interviewee attended school prior to the pandemic. One young person described having no form of formal or informal support with learning during the first lockdown. This changed throughout the second lockdown, where she received support through a third sector organisation. She was happy that she had moved from no home learning at all during the first lockdown to supported learning.
    • The young people in gypsy/traveller families understood the necessity of Covid-19 mitigation measures but expressed frustration about the length of these. Throughout the pandemic, the two young people became increasingly bored and were upset that the pandemic impacted their plans for the future.

A report[27] on mental wellbeing, bullying and prejudice by Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) includes some findings on LBGTQ+ 13 – 24 year olds, in particular their experience of online bullying and prejudice. The report found that:

  • (Protected characteristic – Sexual orientation)
    • LGBT+ respondents (approximately 350 young people) were more likely to experience online bullying during the national lockdown than their heterosexual young people (36% compared with 14%). 76% of LGBT+ respondents reported that the online bullying they have seen and/or experienced during the lockdown period was happening more than usual (compared with 49% of heterosexual respondents). 72% of LGBT+ respondents had seen more prejudice online during lockdown (compared with 48% of heterosexual respondents), and they reported seeing homophobia at more than double the rate of heterosexual young people.
    • LGBT+ respondents reported higher rates of negative mental wellbeing as a result of not being in school/further education compared with heterosexual young people (53% compared with 34%).
    • LGBT+ respondents reported lower emotional wellbeing before and during lockdown compared with heterosexual respondents. In this survey, 26% of LGBT+ respondents rated their emotional wellbeing as negative before lockdown (compared with 14% of heterosexual respondents) and this rose to 69% during lockdown (compared to 40% with heterosexual respondents).
    • LGBT+ respondents were more than twice as likely to have used or tried to access online support services during lockdown when compared to heterosexual respondents (32% compared with 14%).

In addition to the above data sources, the Scottish Government commissioned direct engagement session with children and young people[28, 29, 30] to understand the impact of COVID-19, inform decision-making, and shape the guidance for delivery of summer 2021 activity programmes. Key messages include:

  • participants were keen for a range of opportunities to be available, not just formal clubs and camps and for consideration to be given to how access to local and national opportunities could be supported through help with transport costs, entrance fees and equipment hire for example.
  • Participants expressed the importance of informal, unstructured play and for young people to feel that they are welcome in public spaces. The Scottish Government should consider how its key messaging can support children and young people to get outdoors, have fun with their friends and encourage adults to view this positively.
  • The impact to children and young people's mental health was a key concern.
  • Challenges faced during Covid restrictions include education; employment; digital access; extracurricular opportunities; the impact of friends and family; inequalities; the impact of news; and isolation, mental health and wellbeing.
  • The cost of activities must be free or discounted to ensure equal access no matter background or experiences, as well as clear and easy to understand information about how to access this.
  • Activities and spaces must be available for all young people no matter their gender, race, or sexuality.

Protected characteristics not relevant for the purposes of the equality considerations for the The Summer Offer for Children and Young People, 'Get into Summer' Programme includes:

  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Gender reassignment
  • Religion or belief
  • Marriage and civil partnership

Contact

Email: summer2021@gov.scot