Publication - Research publication

Young people's participation in decision making in Scotland: attitudes and perceptions

Published: 6 Mar 2018
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Children and families, Education, Research
ISBN:
9781788515863

Findings from a survey of secondary school pupils on perception of their ability to influence decisions that affect them.

25 page PDF

609.0 kB

25 page PDF

609.0 kB

Contents
Young people's participation in decision making in Scotland: attitudes and perceptions
Key findings

25 page PDF

609.0 kB

Key findings

The 2017 Young People in Scotland survey asked respondents a number of questions about their ability to make their views heard and acted on in decisions that affect their lives. Fieldwork was conducted by Ipsos MORI Scotland and analysis and reporting was conducted by the Scottish Government, Children and Families Analytical Services

Perceptions of adults listening and acting on views

  • When asked about adults in general, over half of young people surveyed agreed that adults were good at listening to their views (58 per cent) and that adults were good at taking their views into account when taking decisions that affect them (53 per cent).
  • Around a fifth disagreed that adults were good at listening to their views (20 per cent) and taking their views into account when taking decisions (19 per cent).
  • Boys were more positive than girls on both these statements. For example, 62 per cent of boys agreed that adults were good at listening to young people's views, compared to 55 per cent of girls.
  • Pupils perceptions of adults worsened substantially between S1 and S5. For example, 72 per cent of respondents in S1 felt that adults generally were good at taking their views into account when making decisions, compared to 42 per cent of S5 respondents. However, perceptions then improved slightly in S6.
  • Respondents with a physical or mental health condition were much less positive. Among those with a health condition, 30 per cent disagreed that adults were good at taking their views into account when making decisions, compared to 15 per cent of those without a health condition.

Barriers to being listened to and having views heard

  • The most commonly selected reason for why adults don't listen to young people was 'it doesn't fit with what they want to hear' (38 per cent), followed by 'they don't like their views being challenged' (33 per cent).
  • The most commonly selected reason for why adults don't act on young people's views was 'they don't like their views being challenged' (30 per cent), followed by 'they don't have the power to make any changes' (26 per cent) and 'they don't think that my views are important' (also 26 per cent).
  • Girls, young people with a health condition, and those in the later school years were more likely to select each of the barriers. These groups were also less likely to say that there were no barriers to adults acting on their views.

Perceptions of adults running out-of-school activities

  • Respondents were more positive about adults who run out-of-school groups or activities than adults in general. 70 per cent of respondents agreed that they felt able to let adults know their views on how the groups/activities are run; the same percentage agreed that adults who run these activities were good at listening to their views; and 66 per cent agreed that adults were good at taking their views into account when taking decisions.
  • Pupils in the later school years were more negative about adults listening to them and acting on views, but the pattern was less strong than for questions about adults in general.

Perceptions of say in the running of schools

  • Respondents were also asked a series of questions about how much say they had relating to schools.
  • Thirty four per cent of respondents felt that they had a lot of or some say in what they learn, 39 per cent in how they learn and 31 per cent in decisions affecting the whole school. Around half felt that they had a little or no say for each measure.
  • There was little variation in perceptions between different socio-demographic groups.

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