This report marks the end of the ninth sweep of data collection with Birth Cohort 1 in the GrowingUp in Scotlandstudy. This was the first data collected since the cohort members moved to secondary school and embarked on their journey into adolescence. The tenth sweep of fieldwork, where the cohort children are aged 14, commenced in January 2019 and interviewing will continue until summer 2020. The enduring support from and enthusiasm of the cohort members and their families is allowing the continued expansion of an already rich and diverse unique source of information on the characteristics, circumstances and experiences of children and their parents in Scotland.
compared with mothers aged 25 or older. Addressing these issues would therefore have particular impact in reducing inequality more broadly between younger and older parents. Indeed, in a range of research using GUS data (Bradshaw, 2010, 2011; Bromley and Cunningham-Burley, 2011; Parkes and Wight, 2011; Parkes et al, 2012) maternal age has rarely emerged as a factor independently associated with child outcomes. Those findings suggest, instead, that child outcomes are influenced more by the behaviours, experiences and circumstances of parents than by their age. As such, younger mothers who exhibit protective behaviours – such as frequent reading to their child and a healthy lifestyle - and who provide a secure and stable environment, have similar chances of raising children with positive outcomes as older mothers who do the same. The key difference is that their more challenging starting point – a pregnancy which is often unplanned, an unstable relationship, lack of educational qualifications, and a peer group who largely don‟t have children – makes it considerably more difficult for mothers under 20 to achieve the security and stability necessary to develop and support positive child outcomes. 7.5 In many cases the child arrives before young mothers are able to
Oral hygiene habits are established early in life (Blinkhorn, 1981) and the importance of this is highlighted in studies showing that adolescents who brush their teeth at least twice daily by the age of 12 tend to continue to do so throughout their teenage years (Kuusela et al., 1996). Historically, Scotland’s young people have had relatively poor oral health compared with other countries in the UK and beyond (National Dental Inspection Programme, 2003; Pitts et al., 2006). This is largely due to a diet high in sugar and low levels of oral care including infrequent tooth brushing (Scottish Executive, 2002). Furthermore, young people who consume sugary drinks are less likely to brush their teeth twice a day or more, while those with a diet which includes daily fruit and vegetables are more likely to brush their teeth at least twice a day (Kirby et al., 2009). Following a government consultation document highlighting the need for significant improvement (Scottish Executive, 2002), oral health Heat targets have been drawn up directed at the early years (Scottish Government, 2010) and several initiatives, collectively known as Childsmile (NHS Scotland, 2007), designed to target the oral health of children and young people in Scotland, are under way. More recent statistics show improvements in oral health across the overall population of children and young people (Merrett et al., 2009, Macpherson et al., 2010). However, socioeconomic and geographic inequalities in oral health persist (Levin et al., 2009; Levin et al., 2010). At least twice daily tooth brushing is recommended to reduce levels of tooth decay and gum disease (Loe, 2000; Scottish Executive, 2002). Previous HBSC findings have shown a steady increase in the proportion of young people brushing their teeth at least twice daily, with girls more likely than boys to report this (Kirby et al., 2009; Levin and Currie, 2009). Higher family socioeconomic status is also associated with greater odds of tooth brushing twice a day or more (Levin and Currie, 2009).
Two limitations to this conclusion need to be borne in mind. The first is that some associations between father-child relationships and other aspects of wellbeing may be inflated because the child was reporting on both the predictor and its outcome (“shared method variance”). Where there was a different informant (the child’s parent) for two outcome measures (behavioural and emotional difficulties, poor school adjustment), the finding of an association with father-child relationship quality appears stronger. We plan to triangulate these results using teacher-reported measures of children’s behavioural and emotional difficulties, gathered shortly after the age 10 home interviews. A second limitation is that parental supportiveness and other aspects of wellbeing were all measured at the same time point, so we cannot be sure of the direction of any effect. For example, it is possible that the child who has difficulty adjusting to school or who experiences peer victimisation will tend to feel less supported at home, because it may be difficult for parents to help with matters outwith their immediate sphere of influence. Fathers may also find it less easy to develop a supportive relationship with a “difficult” child.
The emergence of quality as the key characteristic of pre-school provision associated with child outcomes is not surprising. This finding echoes that from other research on the relationship between early childcare and education experiences and child outcomes and underlines the importance of retaining quality – as well as improving flexibility – as pre-school educational entitlement expands. In terms of improving early vocabulary – a key predictor of later attainment – the most important quality measure has been shown to be ‘care and support’. The lack of association with Education Scotland quality indicator (QIs) and child outcomes is potentially a statistical effect from the lower number of cases with Education Scotland QI data available. However, it is also possible that the focus on the behaviours, interactions and experiences assessed under the Care Inspectorate care and support theme are closer to those important for the specific child development measures included here and measured during the early and pre-school period by the GrowingUp in ScotlandStudy (GUS). What has been shown here is that aspects of pre-school settings that are routinely inspected are associated with child outcomes. If these can be measured routinely, it also suggests they can be improved. Indeed, part of the process following on from inspections requires that settings take steps to improve aspects of their provision. Therefore it seems feasible that this aspect of quality could be improved across all settings if the necessary support is provided and the provider is committed to improving.
The study provides an unparalleled source of evidence to improve our understanding of early years childcare provision and use from the perspective of parents. For example, research has shown that many families use a patchwork of childcare arrangements, and it is not clear to what extent this reflects parental choice or a lack of services that can meet families’ needs. Analysis of data from sweep 1 of GUS showed that 27% of parents of children aged 10 months, and 32% of parents of children aged 34 months used two childcare providers on a regular basis and that 4% and 7% respectively used three or more. The use of multiple childcare providers can result in myriad and complex childcare arrangements that is more supply than demand-led, that is, less a matter of parental choice and more of a reflection what services and support are available and affordable. Much research has been conducted on the potential effects that early years childcare generally, and different childcare arrangements specifically, can have on children’s social, emotional, cognitive and behavioural outcomes in later years. Many studies have found beneficial effects of pre-school education on children’s later school attainment. The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education project (EPPE) has shown that children with no pre-school experience have poorer cognitive attainment, sociablility and concentration when they start primary school than those who have some pre-school learning (Sylva et al, 2004). The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, an American research project, has shown that some school and/or centre-based care between the ages of six months and four and a half years has positive benefits for school children (NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 2003). Furthermore, the longer term impact of pre-school education on UK children has been examined using data from the 1958 National Child Development Study which found that pre-compulsory education before the age of 5 led to consistently better test scores at age 7 with these advantages still present at age 11 and 16
In the GUS longitudinal study, the children were sampled in clusters based on area of residence (primary sampling unit – PSU – which is an aggregation of data zones), and multilevel models were used in analyses to take account of this clustering. However, the area level variables (deprivation, urban/rural classifications) are coded to the individual level and not at the level of the PSU. This is probably because the area level variables relate to an area smaller than the PSU (possibly datazones). These areas upon which deprivation and urban/rural classifications are based are not available in the GUS dataset, and therefore are not included in the analysis. Because there were no explanatory variables measured at the area level, the advantages of the multilevel model over the alternative single level regression are less. However, the multilevel model still allows for any unmeasured similarities between cases resulting from being sampled within the same area.
As Figure 4 C indicates, non-resident parents had most influence in the ‘bigger’ areas of health, education and schooling, and discipline, with less influence in the more routine aspects of life, such as the food the cohort child eats and childcare. As may be expected, those non-resident parents who had regular weekly contact with their child were more likely than those non-resident parents who had less frequent contact to have some influence even in these everyday matters (e.g. 54% of those who see the child at least weekly having some influence on childcare, in contrast to 43% overall in the child cohort), although they were only slightly more likely to have ‘a great deal of influence’ (18% of those who see the child at least once a week having a great deal of influence on childcare compared with 0% of non-resident parents who saw their child less often than once a week in the child cohort). Patterns shown are similar for the birth cohort (although they were not asked about education and schooling). In summary, it appears that whilst fairly large proportions of non-resident parents were having no influence over decisions about their child’s childcare and food consumption (over half having no influence in each case), more importantly many had no influence in more significant decisions about their child’s
The primary reason for concern about children’s diets and physical activity is the effect that these have on health, both in childhood and later life, in particular in relation to being overweight and obese. Overweight and obesity are terms that refer to an excess of body fat and they usually relate to an increased weight-for-height ratio. The two terms, however, denote different degrees of excess adiposity, and overweight can be thought of as a stage where an individual is at risk of developing obesity (Barlow and Dietz, 1998). The adverse health consequences associated with obesity are related to an increased adiposity rather than an increased weight per se (Taylor et al., 2002) and it is therefore important that any indicator of obesity reflects this increased adiposity. Body mass index (BMI) takes into account weight and height: it is calculated as weight (kg) divided by squared height (m2) and it is the key overweight and obesity measure in this chapter. For further explanation of BMI and the use of UK and international cut-offs, please see Appendix A. Height and weight measurements were taken of children in the child cohort at sweep 2 and therefore the analysis in this section is based on the results of measurements for children mostly aged 46 months. 6
Associations between family adversity and all health and health behaviour outcomes were modelled using a binary variable for family adversity (0=no family adversity, 1=some family adversity). There were 2 stages to the models. Stage 1 contained standard controls (child’s gender, age in months at sweep 5, whether the child was first born or had older siblings and the number of children in the household at sweep5). Stage 2 added all the eight individual parenting measures.
4.3 Of the nine items selected in this report for inclusion in the Home Learning Environment measure, eight are the same four measures used at two time points, and these four measures are similar to those identified in the original EPPE research in England (Melhuish et al., 2001; 2008a). The ninth item (number of children’s books in home) is similar to an item (number of books in home) identified in several previous studies (e.g. Kirsch et al., 2002) as being related to children’s cognitive development or educational achievement. Hence the findings in this report are supported by research on other populations. It is interesting to note that none of the other items in the 51 tested added further to a measure of the Home Learning Environment.
example, a child’s behavioural and emotional difficulties lead to more parent-child conflict. For the most part, the study relies on mothers’ reports, with the possible drawbacks of social desirability to responses and other forms of bias. The omission of fathers’ views (due to low numbers interviewed) is a weakness, as is the fact that children were asked about their parents together, rather than about their mother and father separately. This difference will limit the correlation to be expected between child and maternal reports of the same measures: nevertheless, there was some agreement between mother and child-reported parenting behaviours. The range of possible influences considered (especially in relation to family life) and the inclusion of two observers for many measures both lend strength to the study, although ideally it would have been better to have had more extensive replication of measures including a child- or teacher-completed Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. However, it was not thought practicable to extend the length of the child questionnaire at this age of data collection. Other limitations include the small ethnic minority component in the GrowingUp in Scotlandstudy, which precluded detailed investigation of ethnic
Tables 2.4a and 2.4b look at the impact of school and teacher factors on time allocation to different subjects. Teacher gender has a significant effect, all else being equal, with female teachers spending more time on RE, Drama and Art, and less time on Irish, Mathematics and PE, than their male counterparts. Newly qualified teachers (that is, those teaching for less than three years) have a distinctive profile, spending less time than more experienced teachers on English, Irish and Mathematics; they also spend more time on Drama than other teachers. In addition, those teaching for more than 30 years tend to spend more time than other teachers on History, Geography and, to some extent, Science. All else being equal, multi-grade teachers spend more time on PE, Science and Music, and less time on Irish and English than teachers of single-grade classes. Teacher qualifications do not have a marked impact on time allocation. However, teachers with post-graduate qualifications (a postgraduate diploma, Master’s or Ph.D.) spend slightly more time on History, Geography, Science, Music and Drama than teachers with undergraduate qualifications. The extent to which teachers feel they have control over various dimensions of their teaching is not found to impact on time allocation. The exception is that teachers who report greater control over the learning resources they use tend to spend more time on English. Teachers teaching classes in which at least one student has an emotional/behavioural difficulty tend to spend slightly more time in class on Mathematics, and on History and Geography. Other aspects of class composition were considered in the initial analysis, including the presence of students with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and/or with English/Irish as a second language. However, no association was found between these factors and time allocation, and these factors were subsequently excluded from the final analysis. Only the presence of children with emotional/behavioural difficulties was associated with time allocation (see Table 2.4a).
event is perceived to affect directly. In many cases, it may be helpful for an umbrella of services to be activated so that not just the individual who has experienced an event such as job loss, but the effects on, and needs of, the rest of the family are taken into account at such a potentially stressful time. This would not necessarily require new service provision, as numerous services and projects for families and children already exist, but rather a coordination service to signpost families to useful support and join up service provision in a more holistic manner. If the suggestion in the Deacon report to develop children’s centres across Scotland is implemented (Deacon, 2011), this function could potentially be ﬁlled by these centres, providing a place for peer-support by other families as well contact with staff who can provide signposting, referral and outreach services to ensure those families which need more formal support have access to it. By deﬁnition, a signiﬁcant event in childhood as presented in this report is likely to have an impact on the family. As a result families are likely to come into contact with services that focused on the fallout of the event in a reactive manner. However, even at such crisis points, there are opportunities to intervene to prevent situations from deepening and widening. Even better are having services that can spot problems early, focusing on recognising early warning signs which could prevent situations from escalating. Both the UK and the Scottish Governments have expressed a commitment to early intervention (although the Deacon report (2011) pointed out this commitment has not consistently been translated into adequate resource allocation). Below we discuss in more detail some of the policy areas relevant to the ﬁndings of our research.
We computed the EDRs implicit in Table 4 by subtracting from each the US male general population mortality rate at age 65 (0.0186). The resulting EDRs are shown in Table 5. As can be seen, these are smaller than the EDRs of Table 2 for the “all”, former, and never groups, and higher for some of the smoking groups. Otherwise, there is no clear pattern. That the EDRs would differ between the tables is under- standable, as the former are crude (or possibly confounded) while the latter are at least partially adjusted for the factors in the models of Table 3 (that is, computed after controlling for the factors in the models, including having no medical conditions).
information) while the remainder (joint activities and rule-setting) drew on information from more than one sweep. All parenting behaviours were reported by the mother at interview. The report examined associations between these individual measures or ‘dimensions’ of parenting and health, as well as looking at associations between health outcomes and a composite measure or ‘index’ of parenting. This parenting index was similar to one devised for the evaluation of Sure Start (National Evaluation of Sure Start 2008), although GUS does not contain the observational measures used in the Sure Start evaluation. The parenting index combined scores across various dimensions. Parents who had high scores on warmth, number of joint activities, supervision and rule-setting, but low scores on conﬂict and ‘home chaos’, were considered to have the highest skill in this parenting index. The report used the index to divide parents into three equal groups of low, average and high parenting skills.
Computer-assisted-personal-interviews (CAPIs) were com- pleted with each pregnant woman at enrolment and then when her child was nine months, two and 4½ years old. At these interviews information was collected across six inter- connected research domains: societal context and neigh- bourhoods, culture and identity, family and whānau (extended family), education, psychological and cognitive development, and health and well-being. The analysis reported here used data collected from the CAPIs administered antenatally (variables describing maternal demographics, health status, use of supplements, smoking and pregnancy history); and when the cohort children were nine months old (variables describing child health, feeding practices, time spent outdoors and internal household environmental measures).
suggested that this could be attributed to differences in infant feeding and toddler’s snacking patterns. Mothers with lower education were less likely to breastfeed their baby for at least 4 months, were more likely to introduce solids to their baby’s diet at an early age and were more likely to allow their toddler to snack on sweets and crisps than more highly educated mothers.
Although there were no gender differences in meeting the recommended 60 minutes’ daily physical activity in the 6 year olds studied, boys were more likely than girls to use screens for 3 or more hours daily. Children from ethnic minority groups were more likely to have low levels of physical activity, but there were no differences between white and ethnic minority groups’ screen time. More work is required to explore the ethnic difference in physical activity, with a sample containing higher numbers from different ethnic minority groups. Children from larger families were more physically active than only children, which might suggest the importance of play with other children for maintaining good levels of physical activity in children. We do not have information in the GUS survey on who does physical activities with the child, but other research has shown the importance of sibling as well as parental activity (Sallis et al. 2000b). Physical activity (but not screen time) varied strongly with daylight hours, indicating the importance of outdoor activities and (possibly) when children are able to walk or cycle to school more safely.
Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) - the national approach to improving the wellbeing of children and young people in Scotland (Scottish Government, 2018) - also addresses issues of disadvantage and educational attainment. GIRFEC is designed to ensure that all children and young people are offered the help that may support them to be successful in life, including at school. The framework focuses attention on how schools, working with families and their partners, might better meet the needs of all learners, including those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The wellbeing indicators (Safe, Healthy, Active, Nurtured, Achieving, Respected, Responsible and Included) have encouraged a focus on disadvantaged groups. GIRFEC also promotes support for individual children and young people through a staged intervention mechanism, which provides a framework for additional targeted support to meet their wellbeing needs. Although not specifically designed to close the poverty-related attainment gap, consideration of a child’s or young person’s wellbeing includes taking account of environmental circumstances like living in