Department for Education funds new ‘Children of the 2020s’ study

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Category: News

The Department for Education has commissioned and funded a new nationally representative birth cohort study which is due to launch in England this year and aims to deliver valuable insights into child development.

The research team, led by UCL, will comprise representatives from the University of Oxford, Ipsos-MORI, and Birkbeck, University of London. The Children of the 2020s Study will include babies born in April, May, and June 2021. The team aims to recruit over 8,000 families in early 2022 to take part.

The study, which has been funded for five years, will enable researchers to respond to key scientific and policy questions regarding the determinants of early school success. The resulting data will inform policy makers, academics, and families, and incorporate ongoing public consultation to plan how the study progresses. The team hopes to have the opportunity to continue following the study participants beyond the initial five-year study subject to continued funding.

Children of the 2020s will consider many different influences on children’s development, including the home learning environment; family circumstances and the ups and downs of daily life; and children’s early care, education and school experiences. Dr Sandra Mathers at the University of Oxford will lead aspects of the work which consider the effects of early education and care.

Dr Mathers, Senior Researcher in the Department of Education, says:

“High quality early education and care is important at any time but will be even more so for this generation born during the pandemic. We know it can help children who grow up in challenging circumstances – or who might have missed out on important experiences – to achieve their full potential in school and later in life. Our study will allow us to identify the factors which make most difference for children’s early development and life chances, to help inform schools, preschools and policymakers.”