School context, inequalities, and health outcomes
Access to universal education is often considered key to improving life chances. Certainly educational attainment is related to health outcomes. There is however, debate as to whether educational achievement is a reflection of family background (i.e. school effects can be largely explained by the socio-demographic mix of students); or whether schools can make a difference independent of students’ socio-demographic backgrounds or indeed, whether the education system is capable of reducing social inequalities or entrenches them. There is growing evidence that engagement with school has consequences for health behaviours and mental health and that young people’s engagement in these behaviours can be explained by peer and social network variation at the school-level or school ethos. This theme will focus on the study of positive and negative effects of the school context on young people’s health, investigating how school context and composition affects health.