Together we can give children like yours the best start in life

Around 6,000 families, like yours, have taken part in the SEED survey. By taking part, you are helping us to understand how children’s environment and experiences in the early years impact them as they grow older. Thank you.

We have visited and spoken to families taking part in the SEED study up to six times in the period from 2013 to June 2021. Most recently, we conducted a special wave of SEED between May and June 2021, which looked at the ongoing effects of Covid-19 and school closures on children and families.

We are also continuing to use the data we have collected in the past to help inform government policy. If you have given us consent to link your survey responses to administrative databases, we are using that linked data in the analysis as well.

Thank you for all your help so far.

A new face-to-face SEED survey in 2023!

We are carrying out our next SEED survey with children and families in 2023. The survey will look at children’s experiences of school, wellbeing and relationships as they grow older.

We will invite you to take part in the survey sometime between autumn 2022 and summer 2023. Just keep an eye out for a letter from the SEED team!

The results will help the Government understand how best to support families across the country. We would be very grateful for your help with this research.

What is the study about?

We want to know more about children’s experiences of school, wellbeing and relationships as they grow older. We are also interested in learning more about how children’s environment and experiences in the early years continues to impact them throughout childhood. In the new face-to-face SEED survey, we will therefore be asking about school, mental and physical wellbeing, relationships, family and home, as well as the internet and technology.

This survey will include face-to-face questionnaires for parents / carers and children as well as a paper questionnaire for the children’s class teachers.

The survey will include two exercises for the child – Receptive Vocabulary and Oral Discourse Comprehension. These exercises make use of the Weschler Individual Achievement Tests, 3rd Edition (WIAT-III). The WIAT-III is an educational assessment tool that is well respected and widely used. These exercises are similar to others that have previously been used on SEED.

Why take part?

By taking part, you can help the Government understand better what life is like for children and families today. We really hope you’ll be able to take part in this study.

How do I take part?

We will send you an invitation by post or email to take part in the survey. A NatCen interviewer will then get in touch with you to arrange a convenient time for you to take part. The interviewer will then visit you at your home to carry out the survey.

During the visit, they will also ask for your consent to contact your child’s teacher to complete a short survey. If you give us consent to do so, we will then get in touch with your child’s teacher separately to complete the survey. We would only ever contact your child’s teacher if you have given us consent first.

Frequently asked questions

Who is conducting this study?

This study, the Extension to the longitudinal Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) (2021-2029), is being conducted by NatCen Social Research, the largest independent social research organisation in Britain, in collaboration with University College London, Durham University, University of Bristol and SQW. The study is funded by the Department for Education.

Previously, the Department for Education (DfE) had commissioned the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), working with the University of Oxford, Frontier Economics and Action for Children to conduct the longitudinal Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) (2013-2021).

What would I have to do?

Taking part is completely voluntary and you can stop or opt out at any time. Taking part in the survey would involve completing a face-to-face survey of around 40 minutes. Your child would also complete a short 20-minute face-to-face survey. This would take place during the same interviewer visit and at a time that works for you.

What if I don’t want to take part?

If you do not wish to take part in this survey, please contact us at  or call us on 0800 652 0157, quoting the reference number at the top of the letter or email you received and your name. Taking part in this study is completely voluntary and if you change your mind at any point, that’s fine.

How will the information I provide be used?

All the answers you give will be anonymised and treated in strict confidence. We will combine your answers with the answers you gave in the previous SEED interviews so that we can see how things have changed. The results will help the Government make decisions about education for children and family support in England. Anything you tell us is confidential. The survey results collected are for statistical purposes only – you or your child will not be identified in any reports or publications.

Where can I get advice or support?

You can get in touch with one of these organisations for further advice and support should the topics discussed in this wave of SEED raise any concerns:

Family lives – support people with all aspects of family life


Young Minds – provide confidential advice if you are concerned about the mental health of your child


Mind – support anyone with a mental health problem


National Domestic Abuse Helpline – support victims of domestic abuse and violence


Relate – provides relationship support


Stepchange – provides free expert debt advice


Citizen’s Advice – provides confidential advice online about a range of issues


Trussell Trust – provides support with access to food

Data protection

How we keep your data safe

Please read the study’s Privacy Notice to find out more about how your data will be kept safe.

Linking your data

Making the data we collect even more useful!

As part of the SEED study we are using data linkage.  This is where we join datasets together so we can learn as much as possible from the information we have.  If you have signed a consent form during a visit from one of our NatCen interviewers, your answers will be linked to other data held on the National Pupil Database and by the Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC.

It's entirely voluntary but by doing this you can help SEED make as much impact as possible.

Linking to the National Pupil Database

Linking to Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC data 


Watch the video to find out more