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Demographic and lifestyle correlates of school attendance, English and maths attainment, and the occurrence of behavioural sanctions in British secondary school children

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gareth RichardsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Aims: Performance in school is known to predict a number of important outcomes in later life (e.g.socioeconomic status). For this reason it is considered useful to identify aspects of demography andlifestyle that are associated with low school attendance, low academic attainment, and highoccurrences of problem behaviour.Study Design: The current study utilised a cross-sectional design; analyses were performed twicedue to the availability of two cross-sections of data from the same sample.Place and Duration of Study: Data from the current study were collected from three secondary schools in Cornwall, UK. The first cross-section was collected in December, 2012, and the secondwas collected in June, 2013.Methodology: The School Information Management System was used to obtain data relating todemography (sex, school and year group attended, eligibility/ineligibility to receive free schoolmeals, and presence/absence of a special educational needs status) and school performance(attendance, attainment at Key Stage 3/Key Stage 4 English and maths, and occurrence ofbehavioural sanctions). Lifestyle factors (number of sleep hours, and frequency of exerciseparticipation) were assessed via pen and paper questionnaire. Chi-square, chi-square tests of linearassociation, and between-subjects t-tests were used to establish whether the school performanceoutcomes were associated with the demographic and lifestyle variables. These analyses were thenfollowed-up with binary logistic regression, to determine whether the observed effects wereindependent of one another.Results: Low school performance was consistently associated with male sex, school and yeargroup attended, special educational needs status, eligibility to receive free school meals, low sleephours, and infrequent exercise participation. In addition, below average school attendance was itselfpredictive of low English and maths attainment, and of a high occurrence of behavioural sanctions.The majority of effects observed were significant at both the univariate and multivariate levels.Conclusions: The identification of demographic and lifestyle correlates of school performance maybe useful for detecting at-risk individuals who might benefit from interventions. If such interventionswere to be effective, the associated reductions in future unemployment and criminality could bebeneficial to society as a whole.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Richards G, Smith AP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science

Year: 2016

Volume: 17

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-15

Online publication date: 09/07/2016

Acceptance date: 25/05/2016

Date deposited: 05/07/2018

ISSN (electronic): 2278-0998

Publisher: SCIENCEDOMAIN International


DOI: 10.9734/BJESBS/2016/26393


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