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National Study of Health and Wellbeing: Children and Young People 2021

This is a unique follow-up study looking at the health and wellbeing of children and young people in England in 2021. There have been a number of national studies of children and young people’s health and wellbeing. The last face-to-face one was carried out in 2017 and involved over 9,000 children and young people. In 2020 we conducted a follow-up study and we are now conducting another.

Why is this study important?

The information collected from these studies has been used to:

  • Build a picture of the health and wellbeing of children and young people in England
  • Provide England’s best information source of how children and young people’s health and wellbeing is changing over time
  • Understand how children and young people are being affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Who is carrying out the study?

NatCen Social Research is carrying out the study alongside the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the University of Cambridge. We are conducting the study on behalf of NHS Digital, with funding from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

NHS Digital is a Public Body and is the national provider of information, statistics, data and IT systems for health and social care in England. NHS Digital works in partnership with the NHS and other national organisations to help make decisions to improve people’s care and wellbeing.

Why should I take part?

Your answers will provide vital information about the health and wellbeing of children and young people and what has changed since they last took part in the study.

By taking part you will help the NHS, policy makers and charities make the right decisions about important issues that affect the health and wellbeing of children and young people. The results from the studies have already provided valuable data that have informed researchers about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on children and young people. We are now conducting this follow-up study to further our understanding as the coronavirus pandemic evolves.

Do I have to take part?

Taking part is entirely voluntary and if you do decide to take part, you can choose to answer as many or as few questions as you like. You can also change your mind at any time and withdraw from the study.

We rely on the voluntary cooperation and goodwill of those who are selected to make the study a success.

What is involved?

This follow-up study involves a short questionnaire. You will receive a letter in the post with instructions on how to access the questionnaire online.

You can access the online questionnaire using this link: survey.natcen.ac.uk/NSHW

The letter will include your unique code to access the questionnaire.

If you can’t complete online, then one of our interviewers may call you to see if you would like to take part over the phone.

Before taking part, please read the information leaflet that you received in the post. This contains all the information about the study.

If you are a parent or young person aged between 17 and 23 and did not receive the information leaflet you can download it here (pdf).

If you are a child aged between 11 and 16 and did not receive your information leaflet, you can download it here (pdf).

What will you ask me questions about?

If you are a parent or carer, the questionnaire asks a range of things about your child. These include general health and wellbeing. There are also questions about your current circumstances and life experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, as we know that parents and carers play such an important part in a child’s life. Ideally, we would like the adult who took part in 2017, or the adult who took part in the follow-up study last year, to take part again, although this is not essential.

If you are aged between 11 and 16 at the 31st August 2021, we will also ask you to complete a questionnaire after your parent or carer has completed theirs. This asks about your health and wellbeing, as well as your contact with family and friends, feelings about your body and eating, and your experiences and thoughts during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are aged between 17 and 23, the questionnaire asks about your health and wellbeing, feelings about your body and eating, as well as your current circumstances and your experiences and thoughts during the coronavirus pandemic.

For parents, carers and young people aged between 17 and 23, the questionnaire will take around 20 minutes to complete. If you are aged between 11 and 16, the online questionnaire will take around 10 minutes to complete.

Will I receive a voucher for taking part?

Each household will receive a £10 shopping voucher that can be used in a range of high street and online shops, to say thank you for completing the study.

Why have I been selected?

You have been selected because your household took part in the National Study of Health and Wellbeing: Children and Young People 2017, and possibly the follow-up study last year, and someone in your household said that you would be happy to be re-contacted about any future studies.

Do I have to complete the online questionnaire in one go?

It should only take 20 minutes to complete for parents/carers and young people and 10 minutes for children, but if you are interrupted and need to exit the questionnaire then you will be able to return to where you left off. The questionnaire will be saved automatically, so you can close your internet browser and return to complete it at a more convenient time. To regain access to the questionnaire, just go to the link that is in your letter and you will return to where you left off.

The online questionnaire timed out

To protect the confidentiality of your answers, the questionnaire is closed down if it is left for a period of time. Your answers will have been saved so you can log back in by going to the link that is in your letter.

If you are completing the questionnaire on the phone and need to leave before it is finished, the interviewer can arrange to phone you back at a more suitable time. The interviewer will pick up where you left off and you will be able to finish the rest of the questionnaire.

I have completed my questionnaire, but you sent me a letter to remind me to do this

Thank you for taking part! It might be that you completed the questionnaire after we had checked our records. We apologise, but we will have safely received your answers.

Is the study confidential?

Yes. Any information given will be treated in confidence and we will handle your data in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and as directed by the Code of Practice for Statistics. Any statistics or results produced will not identify you or anyone in your household.

You can also read more about the study privacy policy here

Sharing data with our service providers

We sometimes share selected information with our service providers to help us run our surveys. We only share the personal details they need to know. This includes organisations such as the one which print the letters we will send you and the one which will handle any email communication between us.

Linking survey answers to other information?

We will ask for your consent to link your study answers to data held by NHS Digital, the Office for National Statistics and the Department for Education. You can cancel this permission at any time. This would let us add information from health and education records to look at how a person’s lifestyle and experiences can have an impact on their future health and education.

Follow-up studies?

In the future, NatCen, ONS or NHS Digital may want to contact you about follow-up research on mental health and wellbeing. We will only invite you to take part in follow-up research if you give consent for this. We will not pass on any of your details without your permission. If you are invited to take part in any future studies, you will be free to refuse if you do not want to take part.

How will the results be used?

Data collected will be held by NatCen Social Research, the Office for National Statistics and NHS Digital. The answers you give will be put together with the answers collected from thousands of other people across England, analysed anonymously and published in a report, that will be freely available.

An anonymised report on the findings from the follow-up study last year was published in October 2020 and you can read about the findings here.

A link to the report from this follow-up study will be published here when it is available.

The data we collect as part of the study is also useful to other people. A copy of the study dataset which does not include information which could directly identify you is made - your name, date of birth, address and contact details will be removed from it. Researchers and analysts can apply to use the data for research and statistical purposes and applicants will need to meet strict data governance standards.

Who has reviewed the study?

The study has been looked at by an independent group of people called a Research Ethics Committee. This study has been reviewed and approved by the National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee. Further information about this committee can be found at statisticsauthority.gov.uk/about-the-authority/committees/nsdec/