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Publication - Statistics Publication

Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS): Technical Report 2015

Published: 25 Oct 2016
Part of:
Health and social care
ISBN:
9781786525338

Detailed information on the fieldwork and data processing for the 2015 Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS).

96 page PDF

1.5MB

96 page PDF

1.5MB

Contents
Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS): Technical Report 2015
Appendix D: Class teacher instructions

96 page PDF

1.5MB

Appendix D: Class teacher instructions

SALSUS 2015

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CLASS TEACHERS - online survey

PLEASE READ AT LEAST A WEEK BEFORE THE SURVEY

Please read these instructions carefully as they are essential for the robustness of the research. They will only take around five minutes to read but please do so at least one week before you plan to administer the survey as letters must be sent to parents and information sheets given to pupils in advance.

Class Pack

Your pack to undertake SALSUS 2015 with one class of pupils should contain:

  • Opt-out letters for parents (x30)
  • Information sheets for pupils (x30)
  • A set of 40 stickers with the survey link and unique log-ins for pupils (x1)
  • Class response sheet (x1)

If there are more than 30 pupils in the class, you will require additional opt-out letters and information sheets. For additional materials, please contact David Myers or these can be downloaded from the SALSUS website.

If there is anything missing, please contact the liaison point within your school.

If you have any problems or questions, please contact the liaison point within your school, see the SALSUS website ( www.ipsos-mori.com/SALSUS) , or contact David Myers, Ipsos MORI researcher, on 0131 240 3260 or salsus@ipsos.com.

Background to the survey

SALSUS (the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey) has been running since 1982. It provides valuable information about young people's lifestyle choices, in particular, providing data on levels of smoking, drinking and drug use.

The Scottish Government has commissioned Ipsos MORI to undertake the 2015 wave of SALSUS.

To ensure that the results are as representative as possible, Ipsos MORI have randomly selected over 500 S2 and S4 classes from schools across Scotland to participate. To ensure the results are reliable, it is important that the survey is administered in the same way across all classes and schools. We have therefore drawn up the following guidelines.

A summary of the steps involved...

1) Identify a suitable date and time to administer the survey
2) Distribute the opt-out letters for parents and the information sheet for pupils a week in advance
3) Administer the survey
4) Complete the class response sheet and take a note of absent pupils
5) Return the class response sheet to your school liaison point
6) Follow up on any absent pupils.

Step 1: Identify a suitable date and time to administer the survey

The survey must be undertaken in a mixed ability class (e.g. a Social Education/ PSE class), and filled in on one occasion (not two separate occasions) - this may be over one class period or a double period (depending on how long each period lasts). The survey should take around 30 minutes to complete although some pupils may take longer.

When planning a date to administer the survey, please bear in mind that the opt-out letters to parents and the pupil information sheets need to be issued at least a week before the survey is to be administered.

Step 2: Distribute the opt-out letters for parents and information sheet for pupils

An opt-out letter should be taken home by each pupil, and given to their parent/guardian. Please ask pupils to write the final return deadline (i.e. the day the survey will take place) on the opt-out letter. At the same time, each pupil should be given a copy of the 'Information sheet for pupils'. In order to allow time for parents to respond if they do not wish their child to participate, these handouts need to be issued at least a week before the survey is to be administered. When pupils are given these materials, please re-iterate to them that they should ensure they pass the opt-out letter on to their parent/guardian.

Step 3: Administer the survey

The survey can be administered on desktop PCs, laptops/netbooks, or tablets.

Set-up of the room

To help ensure that responses are as honest as possible, it is important that pupils cannot see each other's answers. If pupils are completing the survey on laptops or tablets in an ordinary classroom, the room should be set up exam style, with pupils at separate desks. If an ICT suite or the school library is being used, they should be spaced out as much as possible if it is practical to do so.

Ensure that each pupil selects a sticker with the survey link and unique login at random - this will help reassure them of confidentiality and anonymity. Do not share stickers between pupils. We have provided 40 stickers per class in case there are more than 30 pupils per class and/or if spares are required (for example, if pupils are frozen out of the survey).

Please emphasise the anonymity and confidentiality of the exercise, and that no-one in the school will see any of the completed surveys.

So that pupils feel they can be honest while they are completing the survey, these reassurances about confidentiality and anonymity need to be given before pupils start the survey - reassurances given afterwards will be too late to affect the quality of the data collected.

Pupils will be worried if you are able to see their answers, so please remain at the front of the room as much as possible.

Instructions to pupils

Ask pupils to type in the survey link in their computer/device's web browser, and to type in their access code in the space provided.

Before pupils start, you should stress the points which are explained in the section below. You may choose to read this out. However, if not, please stress the points in bold - it is important that all the points in bold are made to all participating pupils:

Our school is taking part in a study about the lifestyle choices of young people in Scotland. You will be asked to fill in a survey. It is up to you whether you want to complete the survey. If you do complete the survey and there are any questions you do not want to answer you do not have to. There will be a 'prefer not to answer' option to select if this is the case.

The survey is confidential and anonymous. Nobody at school (including me), or at home, will see your answers. Don't type your name into the survey. When you have completed the questions, select 'Finish' to submit your answers. All the surveys will then be sent securely to the survey team.

Answer the questions as honestly as you can but don't spend too much time on each question. You should not talk to each other until everyone has finished. Remember it is your own opinion that is of interest and not that of everyone else. Although there will be no talking, the survey is not a test and there are no right or wrong answers.

Before starting to fill out the survey, you should read the instructions at the beginning. Depending on how you answer certain questions, you may be asked to miss out some later questions. You should therefore look closely at the instructions for each question - most of the time you will be asked to select the box that best fits your answer, but not always. Then select the 'Next' button underneath the question.

If you have moved on and realise that you have made a mistake, select the 'Back to last question' button and then select the box that you think best fits your answer.

When you get to the end of the survey, select 'Finish' to submit your answers. This will then take you to a quiz which you can do if others are still completing the survey.

Giving help

The survey contains all the instructions pupils should need and will automatically route them to the next question. However, it is possible that some pupils may have problems answering certain questions, and ask you for guidance.

Any help you give must not bias the pupil's answers. Therefore, help should only be given if the problem is a practical one e.g. whether to select or type a number in a box, or how to rectify a mistake. Please do NOT help pupils interpret questions, suggest specific responses, or influence their responses in any way.

If the request for help would mean helping a pupil interpret a question, or suggesting an answer, then the pupil should be instructed to answer as best they can or to answer the question as they understand it. If a pupil really does not know what to write and there is no 'Don't know' option, they can select 'Prefer not to answer'.

It is important that pupils are not rushed as this will affect the validity of their answers.

At the end of the survey

We have provided a quiz, based on findings from 2013, at the end of the survey to occupy those pupils who complete the survey early.

Pupils with additional support needs

If there are any pupils who would normally receive support (e.g. scribing or other assistance), they should be given the choice of:

  • completing the survey on their own
  • completing the survey with support
  • not completing the survey.

If a pupil is taking part with support, this should take place in an area where they cannot be overheard by anyone else. The person providing support must agree to maintain confidentiality and not to refer to the responses in any future contact with the pupil. The survey can be completed on a laptop or tablet device, so ASN pupils can complete the survey in a different room than the rest of the class if they require privacy (e.g. because they are using a screen reader or are receiving support to complete the survey).

It is very important that pupils understand the nature of the questions before deciding whether or not they wish to participate (particularly if they want to complete the survey with support). Some of the most sensitive/personal questions are shown below. Please read these questions on the next page to the pupil before they make up their minds whether they want support to take part.

Q7) Do you smoke cigarettes at all nowadays?

Yes
No

Q35) Have you ever been drunk?

No, never
Yes, once
Yes, 2-3 times
Yes, 4-10 times
Yes, more than 10 times

Q50) When was the last time you ever used or took any of the following?

Cannabis (hash, joints, weed, green, grass, pollen, resin, bud, smoke)

Gas, Glue or other solvents (Tipp-Ex, lighter fuel, aerosols, NO, laughing gas) - To inhale or sniff
Amphetamine (speed, base, whizz, sulph)
Methamphetamine (crystal meth, tina, glass, ice)
LSD (acid, tabs, trips)
Ecstasy (E, eccies, XTC, pills, MDMA, sweeties)
Semeron (sems, semmies)
Poppers (Amyl Nitrite, Liquid Gold, Rush)
Tranquilisers (downers, benzos, valium, vallies, blues, Temazepam)
Heroin (smack, skag, gear, H, kit)
Magic mushrooms (shrooms, mushies)
Methadone (linctus, physeptone, meth)
Cocaine (coke, charlie, c)
Crack cocaine (crack, rock, stone)
Anabolic Steroids (roids)
Mephedrone (bubbles, drone, M-CAT, meow meow)
GHB/GBL (G, liquid ecstasy)
Ketamine (K, ket, special k, horsey)
Synthetic cannabis - e.g. Damnation, Black Mamba, Clockwork Orange, Pandora's Box
Salvia
MDMA powder (mandy, molly, madman)
MDAI, 6-APB (Benzo Fury), methylone (or other synthetic empathogen)
MXE, MXP (or other synthetic dissociative)
Ethylphenidate, MPA or branded packets such as Ching, Snow White, Blue stuff, Pink Panthers (or other synthetic stimulant)
AMT, NBOMe, 2Cs (or other synthetic psychedelic)
Powders or pills that are sold as legal highs
Other drugs that would not be given to you by a doctor or chemist

SDQ For each item, please mark the box for the Not True, Somewhat True or Certainly True.

I am helpful if someone is hurt, upset or feeling ill
I am constantly fidgeting or squirming
I have one good friend or more
I fight a lot. I can make other people do what I want
I am often unhappy, down-hearted or tearful
Other people my age generally like me
I am easily distracted. I find it difficult to concentrate
I am nervous in new situations. I easily lose confidence

Step 4: Complete the class response sheet & take a note of absent pupils to be followed up

The class response sheet should be completed during the session or immediately afterwards. It is really important that it is completed accurately so that we know which classes have submitted their surveys and how many pupils per class took part. This information enables us to calculate survey response rates. Please do not forget to return the class response sheet to your school's liaison point.

If any pupils are absent when the survey is completed, please record this on the class response sheet and note their names in the space provided below - this record is for your use only, the names should not be written on the class response sheet.

Class (e.g. '2F' or '4B' etc.) ………………..

Date surveys completed by class ………………...

Names of absent pupils to be followed up: (do not include those who have refused or whose parents refused)

……………………………………………………………. Date completed ………………….

……………………………………………………………. Date completed ………………….

……………………………………………………………. Date completed ………………….

……………………………………………………………. Date completed ………………….

……………………………………………………………. Date completed ………………….

Step 5: Return the class response sheet to your liaison point

Return the class response sheet to your liaison point so that they can post it back to us.

Please do not return spare materials - retain them until all absent pupils have completed the survey and then put them in your paper recycling.

Step 6: Follow up on any absent pupils

If any pupils are absent when the survey is completed, please record this on the Class response sheet and note their names in the space provided under Step 4 above.

If possible, absent pupils should complete the survey the next time they attend that class. If this is not possible, please arrange another suitable time. You could administer the survey to all absent pupils at the same time in an ICT suite or the library, or in individual classes either on laptops or tablets. We understand the additional work involved in following up on absent pupils but following up on these pupils will make a big difference to the representativeness of the sample and the robustness of the survey results. Why is this so important? Surely getting responses from 23 out of 25 pupils in a class is really good….?

The higher the response rate, the more accurate the results will be. We know from previous surveys that absenteeism is strongly linked to some of the behaviours we are looking at - so following up on absent pupils is particularly important because we know that, as a group, they are 'different' to the pupils who are not absent. If we do not follow up on absent pupils the results will be biased.

Absenteeism due to truanting and exclusion is highly correlated with substance use. For example, in the 2013 survey:

  • 76% of 15 year old regular smokers had also truanted in the past year, compared with only 34% of 15 year old non-smokers
  • 54% of 15 year olds who had drunk in the last week had also truanted in the past year, compared with 25% of 15 year olds who never drink alcohol
  • 18% of 15 year olds who had used drugs in the month prior to the survey had truanted more than 10 times, compared with 3% of 15 year olds who had never used drugs.

Levels of absenteeism due to sickness were not asked about, but there was a question on health and this was also correlated with substance misuse (e.g. 91% of those who had never used drugs rated their health as 'excellent' or 'good' compared with 77% of those who had used drugs in the month before the survey). It therefore seems likely that there is also a correlation between absenteeism due to sickness and substance misuse.

Absent pupils who are completing the survey at a later date should do so under the same conditions as pupils in the main session.

Please keep your liaison point informed of when absent pupils have completed the survey.

If pupils are on long-term absence, we can arrange for them to complete the survey at home.

If you have any problems or questions, please contact the liaison point within your school or David Myers, Ipsos MORI researcher, on 0131 240 3260 or salsus@ipsos.com, or see the SALSUS website ( www.ipsos-mori.com/SALSUS).

Thank you very much for your help with SALSUS 2015

The Scottish Government recognises the efforts from teachers and pupils involved in this survey. Without them, this important survey would not be possible. In order to give something back to schools, the Scottish Government has funded a SALSUS education pack for secondary schools. This has recently been developed by Education Scotland and Information Services Division ( ISD) and is available at:

http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Public-Health/SALSUS/Latest-Report/_docs/SALSUS_2013_Education_Resource.pdf.

Further free teaching resources will be developed in 2015.

The SALSUS deliverables continue to evolve and the Scottish Government are striving to produce outputs that are accessible to a number of audiences, including pupils, particularly through the use of infographics.

SALSUS 2015

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CLASS TEACHERS

PLEASE READ AT LEAST A WEEK BEFORE THE SURVEY

Please read these instructions carefully as they are essential for the robustness of the research. They will only take around five minutes to read but please do so at least one week before you plan to administer the survey as letters must be sent to parents and information sheets given to pupils in advance.

If you have any problems or questions, please contact the liaison point within your school, see the SALSUS website ( www.ipsos-mori.com/SALSUS) , or contact David Myers, Ipsos MORI researcher, on 0131 240 3260 or salsus@ipsos.com.

Class Pack

Your pack to undertake SALSUS 2015 with one class of pupils should contain:

  • Opt-out letters for parents (x30)
  • Information sheets for pupils (x30)
  • Questionnaires (x30)
  • Plain envelopes in which pupils are to seal their completed questionnaires (x30)
  • Reply paid envelopes for absent pupils participating at a later date (x5)
  • Class Response Sheet (x1)
  • Bag for the return of the Class Response Sheet and sealed envelopes of completed questionnaires - this return bag is attached to the Class Response Sheet (x1)

If there are more than 30 pupils in the class, you will require additional materials. For additional materials, please contact David Myers, Ipsos MORI researcher, on 0131 240 3260 or salsus@ipsos.com.

If there is anything missing, please contact the liaison point within your school.

Background to the survey

SALSUS (the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey) has been running since 1982. It provides valuable information about young people's lifestyle choices, in particular, providing data on levels of smoking, drinking and drug use.

The Scottish Government, has commissioned Ipsos MORI to undertake the 2015 wave of SALSUS.

To ensure that the results are as representative as possible, Ipsos MORI have randomly selected over 1,700 S2 and S4 classes from schools across Scotland to participate.

To ensure the results are reliable, it is important that the survey is administered in the same way across all classes and schools. We have therefore drawn up the following guidelines.

A summary of the steps involved...

1) Identify a suitable date and time to administer the survey
2) Distribute the opt-out letters for parents and the information sheet for pupils a week in advance
3) Administer the questionnaire
4) Complete the Class Response Sheet and take a note of absent pupils
5) Insert the Class Response Sheet and completed questionnaires (in individual envelopes) into the return bag provided (the bag which came attached to the Class Response Sheet) and return the bag to your school liaison point
6) Follow up on any absent pupils.

Step 1: Identify a suitable date and time to administer the survey

The survey must be undertaken in a mixed ability class (e.g. a Social Education/ PSE class), and filled in on one occasion (not two separate occasions) - this may be over one class period or a double period (depending on how long each period lasts). The questionnaire should take a maximum of one hour to complete although many pupils will complete it in half an hour.

When planning a date to administer the survey, please bear in mind that the opt-out letters to parents and the pupil information sheets need to be issued at least a week before the questionnaire is to be administered.

Step 2: Distribute the opt-out letters for parents and information sheet for pupils

An opt-out letter should be taken home by each pupil, and given to their parent/guardian. At the same time, each pupil should be given a copy of the 'Information sheet for pupils'. In order to allow time for parents to respond if they do not wish their child to participate, these handouts need to be issued at least a week before the questionnaire is to be administered. When pupils are given these materials, please re-iterate to them that they should ensure they pass the opt-out letter on to their parent/guardian.

Step 3: Administer the questionnaire

Set-up of the room

To help ensure that responses are as honest as possible, it is important that pupils cannot see each other's answers. Ideally, the class room should be set up exam style, with pupils at separate desks. If this is not practical, they should be spaced out as much as possible.

Distribute one questionnaire and one plain envelope to each pupil. To reassure pupils that their answers will be confidential and anonymous, it is important that they are given the envelope and the questionnaire at the same time.

When you are distributing the questionnaires and envelopes, please emphasise the anonymity and confidentiality of the exercise. Reiterate to pupils that their completed questionnaires should be sealed in the envelope and that all envelopes will be placed in the bag together and returned to the Survey Team - please emphasise that no one in the school will see any of the completed questionnaires.

So that pupils feel they can be honest while they are completing the survey, these reassurances about confidentiality and anonymity need to be given before pupils start the survey - reassurances given afterwards will be too late to affect the quality of the data collected.

Instructions to pupils

Before pupils start, you should stress the points which are explained in the section below. You may choose to read this out. However, if not, please stress the points in bold - it is important that all the points in bold are made to all participating pupils:

Our school is taking part in a study about the lifestyle choices of young people in Scotland. You will be asked to fill in a questionnaire. It is up to you whether you want to complete a questionnaire.

The questionnaire is confidential and anonymous. Nobody at school (including me), or at home, will see your answers. Don't write your name on the questionnaire. When you have filled it in, put the questionnaire in the envelope and seal it. All the questionnaires will then be put together in a bag and sent back to the Survey Team.

Answer the questions as honestly as you can but don't spend too much time on each question. You should not talk to each other until everyone has finished. Remember it is your own opinion that is of interest and not that of everyone else. Although there will be no talking, the questionnaire is not a test and there are no right or wrong answers.

Before starting to fill out the questionnaire, you should read the instructions at the beginning. In general, all questions should be completed. However, you may be asked to miss out some questions. You should therefore look closely at the example questions and the instructions for each question - most of the time you will be asked to put a cross in the box that best fits your answer, but not always. You must use a black or blue pen.

If you make a mistake when filling in a box, completely fill in this box and cross the correct box as normal. It is important that the box filled in by mistake is completely shaded in.

An example of correcting a mistake:

An example of correcting a mistake

When you have finished, please read a book, or get on with your own work quietly.

Giving help

The questionnaire contains all the instructions pupils should need. However, it is possible that some pupils may have problems completing certain parts, and ask you for guidance.

Any help you give must not bias the pupil's answers. Therefore, help should only be given if the problem is a practical one e.g. whether to place a cross or a number in a box, or how to rectify a mistake. Please do NOT help pupils interpret questions, suggest specific responses, or influence their responses in any way.

If the request for help would mean helping a pupil interpret a question, or suggesting an answer, then the pupil should be instructed to answer as best they can or to answer the question as they understand it. If a pupil does not understand a question they should enter the 'don't know' response if there is one, or write 'I don't understand' next to the question.

It is important that pupils are not rushed as this will affect the validity of their answers.

Pupils with additional support needs

If there are any pupils who would normally receive support (e.g. scribing or other assistance), they should be given the choice of:

  • completing the questionnaire on their own
  • not completing the questionnaire
  • completing the questionnaire with support.

If a pupil is taking part with support, this should take place in an area where they cannot be overheard by anyone else. The person providing support must agree to maintain confidentiality and not to refer to the responses in any future contact with the pupil.

It is very important that pupils understand the nature of the questions before deciding whether or not they wish to participate (particularly if they want to complete the questionnaire with support). Some of the most sensitive/personal questions are shown below. Please read these questions to the pupil before they make up their minds whether they want support to take part.

Q6) Do you smoke cigarettes at all nowadays?

Yes
No

Q34) Have you ever been drunk?

No, never
Yes, once
Yes, 2-3 times
Yes, 4-10 times
Yes, more than 10 times

Q49) When was the last time you ever used or took any of the following?

Cannabis (hash, joints, weed, green, grass, pollen, resin, bud, smoke)
Gas, Glue or other solvents (Tipp-Ex, lighter fuel, aerosols, NO, laughing gas) - To inhale or sniff
Amphetamine (speed, base, whizz, sulph)
Methamphetamine (crystal meth, tina, glass, ice)
LSD (acid, tabs, trips)
Ecstasy (E, eccies, XTC, pills, MDMA, sweeties)
Semeron (sems, semmies)
Poppers (Amyl Nitrite, Liquid Gold, Rush)
Tranquilisers (downers, benzos, valium, vallies, blues, Temazepam)
Heroin (smack, skag, gear, H, kit)
Magic mushrooms (shrooms, mushies)
Methadone (linctus, physeptone, meth)
Cocaine (coke, charlie, c)
Crack cocaine (crack, rock, stone)
Anabolic Steroids (roids)
Mephedrone (bubbles, drone, M-CAT, meow meow)
GHB/GBL (G, liquid ecstasy)
Ketamine (K, ket, special k, horsey)
Synthetic cannabis - e.g. Damnation, Black Mamba, Clockwork Orange, Pandora's Box
Salvia
MDMA powder (mandy, molly, madman)
MDAI, 6-APB (Benzo Fury), methylone (or other synthetic empathogen)
MXE, MXP (or other synthetic dissociative)
Ethylphenidate, MPA or branded packets such as Ching, Snow White, Blue stuff, Pink Panthers (or other synthetic stimulant)
AMT, NBOMe, 2Cs (or other synthetic psychedelic)
Powders or pills that are sold as legal highs
Other drugs that would not be given to you by a doctor or chemist

SDQ (on page 30) For each item, please mark the box for the Not True, Somewhat True or Certainly True.

I am helpful if someone is hurt, upset or feeling ill
I am constantly fidgeting or squirming
I have one good friend or more
I fight a lot. I can make other people do what I want
I am often unhappy, down-hearted or tearful
Other people my age generally like me
I am easily distracted. I find it difficult to concentrate
I am nervous in new situations. I easily lose confidence

Step 4: Complete the Class Response Sheet & take a note of absent pupils to be followed up

The Class Response Sheet should be completed during the session or immediately afterwards. It is really important that it is completed accurately so that we know which classes have returned their questionnaires and how many pupils per class took part. This information enables us to calculate survey response rates. Please do not forget to enclose the Class Response Sheet in the bag with the completed questionnaires.

If any pupils are absent when the questionnaire is completed, please record this on the Class Response Sheet and note their names in the space provided below - this record is for your use only, the names should not be written on the Class Response Sheet.

Class (e.g. '2F' or '4B' etc.) ………………..

Date questionnaires completed by class ………………...

Names of absent pupils to be followed up: (do not include those who have refused or whose parents refused)

……………………………………………………………. Date completed ………………….

……………………………………………………………. Date completed ………………….

……………………………………………………………. Date completed ………………….

……………………………………………………………. Date completed ………………….

……………………………………………………………. Date completed ………………….

Step 5: Return the Class Response Sheet and completed questionnaires to your liaison point

The return bag is attached to the Class Response Sheet. The bag you return to your liaison point should contain the completed Class Response Sheet, and a sealed envelope (containing a completed questionnaire) for each pupil who completed the survey during the session. Please do not forget to enclose the Class Response Sheet in the bag!

Use one bag for every class - please do not include questionnaires from more than one class in the same bag.

Absent pupils completing the questionnaire at a later date will return their questionnaires separately and individual reply paid envelopes are supplied for this.

Please do not return spare materials - retain them until all absent pupils have completed the survey and then put them in your paper recycling.

Step 6: Follow up on any absent pupils

If any pupils are absent when the questionnaire is completed, please record this on the Class Response Sheet and note their names in the space provided under Step 4 above.

If possible, absent pupils should complete the questionnaire the next time they attend that class. If this is not possible, please arrange another suitable time. We understand the additional work involved in following up on absent pupils but following up on these pupils will make a big difference to the representativeness of the sample and the robustness of the survey results. Why is this so important? Surely getting responses from 23 out of 25 pupils in a class is really good….?

The higher the response rate, the more accurate the results will be. We know from previous surveys that absenteeism is strongly linked to some of the behaviours we are looking at - so following up on absent pupils is particularly important because we know that, as a group, they are 'different' to the pupils who are not absent. If we do not follow up on absent pupils the results will be biased.

Absenteeism due to truanting and exclusion is highly correlated with substance use. For example, in the 2010 survey:

  • 78% of 15 year old regular smokers had also truanted in the past year, compared with only 36% of 15 year old non-smokers
  • 62% of 15 year olds who had drunk in the last week had also truanted in the past year, compared with 23% of 15 year olds who never drink alcohol
  • 23% of 15 year olds who had used drugs in the month prior to the survey had truanted more than 10 times, compared with 3% of 15 year olds who had never used drugs.

Levels of absenteeism due to sickness were not asked about, but there was a question on health and this was also correlated with substance misuse (e.g. 91% of those who had never used drugs rated their health as 'excellent' or 'good' compared with 77% of those who had used drugs in the month before the survey). It therefore seems likely that there is also a correlation between absenteeism due to sickness and substance misuse.

Absent pupils who are completing the questionnaire at a later date should do so under the same conditions as pupils in the main session. The main difference is that they should be given a reply paid envelope to return the questionnaire themselves. This is important because pupils completing the questionnaire on their own, or in a small group, will not have the same reassurance that their response is anonymous and will be lost in the pile of other sealed envelopes. Knowing that they are handing the sealed envelope back to a teacher who knows who has completed it may affect the honesty of their responses. So please give them the reply paid envelope at the same time as the questionnaire, and explain that they should put it in the post themselves. This needs to be explained before they complete the questionnaire so that they feel they can be honest while they are completing it - reassurances given afterwards will be too late to affect the quality of the data collected. If appropriate, and there is a post box near the school, the pupil could be allowed time to go and post it immediately after completing it. Otherwise, they should take it with them and post it on the way home. (We know that some pupils may forget to do this, but we would rather get a smaller number of more honest answers than risk the quality of data).

Please keep your liaison point informed of when absent pupils have completed the questionnaire.

If pupils are on long-term absence, we can arrange for a pack to be sent to their home address.

If you have any problems or questions, please contact the liaison point within your school or David Myers, Ipsos MORI researcher, on 0131 240 3260 or salsus@ipsos.com, or see the SALSUS website ( www.ipsos-mori.com/SALSUS).

Thank you very much for your help with SALSUS 2015

The Scottish Government recognises the efforts from teachers and pupils involved in this survey. Without them, this important survey would not be possible. In order to give something back to schools, the Scottish Government has funded a SALSUS education pack for secondary schools. This has recently been developed by Education Scotland and Information Services Division ( ISD) and is available at:

http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Public-Health/SALSUS/Latest-Report/_docs/SALSUS_2013_Education_Resource.pdf.


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