Neighbourhood data & community insight for Norfolk & Waveney
Childhood health & wellbeing
The percentage of children achieving a good level of development at the end of reception is increasing, as is the percentage of children achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths. However it is still below that for England. Teenage conceptions continue to decline and the rate is lower than England. However, teenagers are still becoming mothers each year in Norfolk (80 in 2016/17). The rate of admissions for injury in children aged under 14 is higher in Norfolk than for England. However, the rate of under 18’s admitted to hospital due to alcohol specific conditions is significantly less than that of England.
Good mental health allows children and young people to develop resilience and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults. Children’s social and emotional wellbeing is important in its own right but also because it affects their physical health (both as a child and as an adult) and can determine how well they do at school. Good social, emotional and psychological health helps protect children against emotional and behavioural problems, violence and crime, teenage pregnancy and the misuse of drugs and alcohol. School pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs in Norfolk is 2.88% about 3,300 children.
When children are not healthy it affects their ability to learn, thrive and develop. Most ill-health will be short-lived and episodic, children are particularly susceptible to respiratory and digestive conditions, and they are more likely than older age groups to injure themselves through accidents. The most common long-term conditions in childhood are asthma, epilepsy and diabetes.
Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, yet it is largely preventable. Poor oral health can impact upon a child’s ability to sleep, eat, speak, play and socialise with other children; causes pain, infections and is a leading cause of hospital admissions in children. Oral health is therefore a fundamental part of overall health and wellbeing and when children are not healthy, this affects their ability to learn, thrive and develop. In Norfolk 15% of five-year olds show signs of dental decay.
High quality sport and physical activity for children is proven to help maintain a healthy bodyweight, reduce obesity, improve emotional wellbeing, promote positive social behaviours, improve cognitive functioning, promote optimal growth and development of essential motor skills. The percentage of 15 year olds who are physically active for at least one hour per day seven days per week was 14.3% in 2014/15. Safe opportunities for active travel (such as walking or cycling to school) should also be promoted.
Children’s Centres in Norfolk offer a friendly one-stop shop for families with children aged 0-8. They’re welcoming places offering activities, health services, training opportunities and support to parents and children. The centres are placed at the heart of communities to enable parents to access the help they need and provide the best possible start in life for their children. Children’s Centres are free to join, most activities are free and families can use any of the 53 centres across Norfolk.
Norfolk’s ambition is for there to be, as a minimum, a ‘Good School for Every Norfolk Learner’. Over the past few years the percentage of Norfolk Schools judged good or better has continued to increase and is now broadly in line with national figures at all phases. Raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils is a high priority to reduce inequality and encourage social mobility.
Sexual health is an important part of physical and mental health as well as emotional and social wellbeing. This topic encompasses sexually transmitted infections, contraception, planning a pregnancy, unplanned pregnancy and abortion. Norfolk has low rates of chlamydia screening and diagnosis and a higher than average rate of late diagnosis of HIV, however has a lower than England % of repeat abortions in the under 25s.
The majority of young people do not use drugs and most of those that do, are not dependent on them. However, drug or alcohol misuse can have a major impact on young people’s education, their health, their families and their long-term chances in life. The Crime Survey for England and Wales 2015/16 found that around 1 in 5 young adults aged 16-24 had taken an illegal drug in the last year. Generally surveys show alcohol consumption among young people has fallen over the last 10 years, although there are still significant populations engaging in risky behaviour such as binge drinking, which has implications for long-term health and crime and antisocial behaviour.
The Government’s vision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is the same as for all children and young people – that they achieve well in their early years, at school and in college and make a good transition to adulthood, to lead contented and fulfilled lives. It is estimated that 15.2% of children (age 0-18) has special educational needs or disability in Norfolk which is 17,300 children.
In 2014 the Children and Families act required local authorities to set out a clear ‘local offer’ of services across education, health and social care, for these services to be jointly commissioned. The act also introduced Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans for children with disabilities, with the option of a Personal Budget for families and young people who want one.
It is recognised that caring can result in positive experiences and can be a very rewarding role regardless of age or length of time caring. However, young carers are less likely to do well at school, get a job or to experience a varied social life when growing up. The 2011 census reported there are some 5,712 young people aged between 0 and 24 years providing unpaid care in Norfolk (6% of all Norfolk carers) – of these 1,752 were aged 0 to 15 year. Overall 621 children and young people were providing in excess of 50 hours of care a week.
In 2015 there were 1,715 proven offences committed by young people aged 10-17 which fell by 33.1% in 2016 (104 fewer young people entering the criminal justice system). The most common type of offence is violence, followed by theft and criminal damage. Four in five youth crimes are committed by boys. The number of children entering the youth justice system has fallen oven the past five years, the rate in Norfolk now shows as similar to that of England for the first time over that period.
Domestic abuse is an incident or pattern of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 years or over, who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional and also includes honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
Domestic abuse is generally under reported but accounts for 14% of total crimes for year ending March 2018. Domestic abuse can be the cause of depression and other mental health issues in women, contributing to self-harm and attempted suicide. The cost of treating physical and emotional health of victims of domestic abuse victims themselves is £47 billion.
Children and young people are vulnerable to being victims of crime – in 2014 in Norfolk 4,346 crimes were recorded were a child or young person was the victim. Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. Children in exploitative relationships receive something such as gifts, money or affection as a result of performing sexual activities. They may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship, they may be groomed through parties, being given drugs and alcohol, or groomed online. The Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board has created a multi-agency CSE sub-group to develop the response in Norfolk.
Norfolk is committed to promoting the welfare of all children, keeping them safe from harm and supporting them to thrive and fulfil their potential. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and for services to be effective each professional and organisation must play their full part. Norfolk Safeguarding Children’s Board is a multi-agency group which ensure that arrangements for safeguarding children are co-ordinated and that these arrangements are monitored to evidence impact and effectiveness. Norfolk has a higher than England rate of children who are looked after in care (fostered, children’s homes or placed for adoption) – this was 1,180 children in 2018.