A project linking childhood chronic diseases and end-of-school educational attainment
With recent advances in paediatric medicine, children with significant chronic diseases are expected to survive into adulthood. We will investigate three chronic diseases: asthma, type 1 diabetes mellitus and epilepsy. Whilst the direct health effects of these diseases are well known, the socioeconomic consequences are still relatively unidentified. Regular attendance for routine clinic appointments, frequent sick days and increased rates of hospital admissions, especially if their disease is not well controlled, can lead to children with these diseases having poorer school attendance than their peers.
Many previous studies have focused on neurocognitive test results in children with these diseases but fewer studies have examined the educational outcomes. This project will aim to investigate the relationship between childhood chronic diseases and GCSE/’A’ level results whilst adjusting for individual, household and area-level factors that may confound the relationship. These educational attainments have a clear impact on employment, training and further education opportunities.
The findings from this research should be of direct relevance for policy makers who are charged with ensuring that all children reach their maximum academic potential.
The Office for National Statistics, Department for Education (Northern Ireland) and the Business Services Organisation
Prof Chris Patterson, Dr Vikki O’Neill, Dr David Wright, Dr Dermot O’Reilly. Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast.