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Research School Network: Ready or Not Study: understanding the viewpoints of children, parents and teachers on children’s wellbeing and success at school An important new study which aims to improve our understanding of family support for children in the early school years

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Ready or Not Study: understanding the viewpoints of children, parents and teachers on children’s wellbeing and success at school

An important new study which aims to improve our understanding of family support for children in the early school years

Caoimhe Dempsey from the Centre for Family Research​at the University of Cambridge writes:

Our study, funded by the Economic Social Research Council, aims to: (1) connect the viewpoints of the children and their parents and teachers: (2) improve our understanding of family support for children in the early school years; and (3) explore home-school communication and classroom influences on children’s experiences. We hope to work with 250 children Reception and Year 1, as well as their parents and teachers.

What does the study involve for teachers? Teachers (or teaching assistants) complete two brief (510 minute) questionnaires: one about participating children’s skills and social relationships and one about the classroom and teachers’ experiences. Teachers have unique insights into children’s early school experiences and so gathering teachers’ views is crucial. As a small thank you, we will send teachers gift vouchers, with a minimum value of £52 per teacher survey and £3 per child survey).

What does the study involve for families? Parents complete an online survey about their child and their own experiences during the child’s time so far in Reception or Year 1, and then accompany their child in completing two paper-and-pen tasks at home and taking part in a 45-minute Zoom visit, led by researchers with experience of working with children. These visits take the children through games and stories, designed to test their developmental skills (e.g. memory, language, self-control) and gather their views about school. As a small thank you for your time during the tasks and completing the parent questionnaire, we will send a £10 gift voucher.

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We also want to give back to the schools that partner with the study, through the following initiatives:

  1. A CPD webinar series with researchers and educational psychologists on a range of topics relevant to wellbeing in early years, for all staff and families in participating schools.
  2. Some of our measures could be used by schools as a way of evaluating their own processes. For example, How I Feel About My School’, is a 7‑question survey we give to children to measure their wellbeing in school and could be used as a temperature check of your Early Years children. We would be very happy to collect this data in the classroom for the school’s use, run a workshop for teachers about how to collect the data themselves, or send video resources to this effect. 
  3. We can also provide resources for the school – if there is a particular topic of interest in the school (emotional wellbeing, bullying, physical activity, healthy eating etc) we can compile resources into an information pack bespoke for the school.

If you would like to hear more or take part in the study, visit our website.

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