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10 years of data – Growing up in Scotland

Posted on 03 July 2015 .

Last month we published data from our Growing up in Scotland study which looked at the additional support needs of children aged 8.

We did so for two reasons. Firstly, to help provide more evidence around learning difficulties in line with Learning Disability Awareness Week. And secondly, part of our remit as a charitable organisation is to use our research to help the government and other organisations make the right decisions about the big issues which affect society, so this analysis seemed fitting.

Growing up in Scotland offers an unequivocal dataset in term of the insight it can offer into the lives of children in Scotland as they grow up. Here are for example some of the key findings we pulled out of the data which the media (see BBC News Online) and various other organisations (Parenting Scotland on Twitter for example) picked up:

  • Boys are far more likely than girls to need additional support for learning; at age eight 8, nearly one in five (18%) boys compared to less than one in ten (8%) girls.
  • Children from lower income families are more likely to have an additional support need; 17% from the bottom income quintile compared with just 9% from the top income quintile.
  • Children living in the most deprived areas are more likely to have an additional support need, 16% compared with 11% living in the least deprived areas

Perhaps what this demonstrates more than anything, aside from the results of course, is the value this kind of data collection and analysis can offer society and policy makers beyond its primary remit.  

Growing up in Scotland turned 10 this year:  Families in our Birth cohort 1 have taken part in up to nine interviews over the last decade. Moreover, Birth Cohort 2, recruited to the study 5 years ago have taken part in up to 4 interviews.  It therefore offers a particularly rich resource in showing what it is really like to grow up in Scotland and the experiences of families in Scotland and how these change over time.

The  data’s particular strength is that it can be looked at both in a cross-sectional and longitudinal way. The more academics, policy makers, and the public itself can be made aware of this fact the better as in the long term it will lead to greater utilisation of a rich source of information that can ultimately improve the circumstances of many people’s lives. 

Growing up in Scotland is one of many examples of studies which this notion applies to. This list of publications gives you an idea of just how much insight we’ve gathered over the last ten years about the lives of children in Scotland.

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