NEWS12 May 2021

New birth cohort study to launch in England

News Trends UK

UK – Researchers from University College London and Ipsos Mori are part of a team preparing to launch a birth cohort study during the coming year.

toddler playing with puzzle pieces

The ‘Children of the 2020s’ study will include babies born in April, May and June 2021 and will analyse the experiences of young children in England growing up during this decade.

The research team from UCL, Ipsos Mori, the University of Oxford, Birkbeck, University of London and the Anna Freud Centre will recruit 8,000 families in early 2022.

Participating families will be interviewed when the child is nine months old and annually thereafter. The research will also use a smartphone app to record video and audio of children’s progress.

Funded by the Department of Education, the study has been backed for five years.

Lead researcher Professor Pasco Fearon, UCL Psychology & Language Sciences and Anna Freud Centre, said: “Our study will provide vital evidence about the experiences of young children and their families growing up in the 2020s – a time of extraordinary social and technological change, and of course as the world begins to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This will be an in-depth study of the wide range of factors that affect children’s development and education in the early years, including the home environment, nurseries and preschool, the neighbourhood, early years services and the broader social and economic circumstances of the family. We want to understand how these factors impact children’s social, cognitive, and early language development, their mental health and readiness for school.”

The most recent of the UK’s national birth cohort studies, the The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), studied the lives of 19,000 people born across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2000 to 2002.