NEWS19 July 2023

NatCen launches educational inequalities studies

Covid-19 News Public Sector UK Wellbeing Youth

UK – The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) has agreed to carry out two longitudinal studies looking at educational disadvantages and inequalities in England.


The studies include a ‘Five to 12’ primary school age study focusing on children in years one to six, and ‘Growing up in the 2020s’, which focuses on secondary school children from years eight to 12.

The Department for Education has commissioned and funded both studies, and both will be carried out concurrently in collaboration with the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

Both studies will collect data on pupils’ wellbeing, experiences, transitions and outcomes at school, with the data used to further understand and improve educational inequalities experienced by children and their families across England.

Areas of interest addressed in the studies include family life, digital engagement, special educational needs and disabilities, emotional and behavioural wellbeing, and Covid-19.

Up to three fathers, mothers or parental carers of each child to take part in this research will be involved in the study, with data from the child’s household, as well as from co-resident and own household parents.

Teachers of participating children or young people and, in the secondary school study, schools will be invited to take part in the research by completing an online survey.

Tina Haux, director of NatCen’s Centre for Children & Families, said: “Longitudinal studies such as these are crucial for understanding what matters to children’s progress.

“Insights gained through the data will provide a contemporary assessment of the different factors and mechanisms underpinning educational disadvantage and inequalities.”

The Department for Education commented: “Primary and secondary school years are crucial periods in children and young people’s development, helping them to build strong foundations before entering adulthood.

“These studies will form an important part of our wider work to understand how a child’s education and environment affects their outcomes later in life, while also enabling us to improve education services and policies for future generations.”