The impact of school holidays on children and young people’s health and wellbeing

We are completing a number of core funded projects related to the impact of school holidays on children and young people’s wellbeing. With colleagues in the Inequalities programme, we have conducted a scoping review of the literature on inequalities that arise during summer holidays. We found that all groups of children experienced a negative impact on their health and wellbeing during school holidays however there was an absence of evidence for socioeconomic inequalities or inequalities by ethnicity. We have also completed an analysis of Millennium Cohort Study data on inequalities during school holidays. This analysis did not find inequalities in relation to cognitive outcomes but did for social and emotional wellbeing. 

We are also carrying out a participatory study with young people to understand the ways in which they spend time during the school holidays and how this might impact on their health and wellbeing. This project will use a longitudinal, object elicitation approach to engage with young people, as well as ethnographic study of organisations who support young people during school holidays. Governments have recognised that programmes that run throughout school holidays can support children and young people’s health and wellbeing. We will work with policymakers and practitioners who run these programmes to identify what works in which circumstances for whom? We will also work with them through an evaluability assessment to understand how programmes can best be evaluated. This will allow us to create and test a programme theory of school holiday programmes.

This work is core funded.


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