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This research group is interested in understanding how best to support the mental health of children attending school. We are keen to learn about what young people need, which factors influence their wellbeing, and how they would like to access help if they have mental health difficulties. We have been running the OxWell School Survey since April 2019, with pupils completing an online survey. We work closely with schools, local authorities and mental health commissioners and services. We welcome collaborations.

Graph depicting responses from school pupils who took part in the OxWell School Survey 2020 when asked, “during lockdown, how happy have you been feeling in general (your mental wellbeing)?”. In school years 7-9 and 11, the percentage of pupils who felt better, the same, or worse were fairly divided (24%-39%). But in years 10, 12 and 13, at least 45% of pupils said that they felt worse during lockdown, and in year 12 in particular 54% said they were feeling worse while only 24% said they were feeling better.
OxWell School Survey 2020: Pupils' reported general happiness (mental wellbeing) during lockdown

OxWell School Survey (Online Pupil Survey) - 2020 Edition (Ethical Approval Reference: R62366/RE0010)

From May-July 2020 the OxWell School survey was completed by over 19,000 pupils in over 230 schools across six counties in the south of England. The questions asked in the survey included general mental health measures as well as questions related to how pupils were coping with the pandemic and lockdown (wellbeing and learning). Each participating school was sent a summary of their school data, and partners and schools with a sufficient number of responses were given access summaries of the data online.  Our youth advisors  prepared materials for students that were sent to all participating schools.

Summary Findings

The 2020 preliminary findings were first made available in this summary report, similar to the individual preliminary reports that were shared with participating schools and local authorities, and more recently made available as a preprint with additional background and discussion. The reports describe only a selection of the questions relevant to the impact of school closures on young people's wellbeing, but we are now running statistical analyses and preparing scientific papers investigating the role of multiple factors associated with school closures and social distancing, and how they were related to school pupils' mental health and wellbeing during the lockdowns.

The 2019 Oxfordshire OxWell School Survey findings are available in this summary report


For more information on the survey itself, please see our detailed information for parents and answers to a few frequently asked questions, or watch the 3-minute video for pupils, which can be downloaded here. If you represent a local authority in England and are interested in being involved in future surveys, please contact us at:

Ethical Approval

The Online Pupil Survey (2020) has been approved by the University of Oxford Research Ethics Committee (Reference: R62366/RE0010). We are in the process of setting up the 2021 survey and have applied for an amendment to the ethics for the 2021 survey.

Funding Information

This project has received funding and support from the Oxford Health NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, the Oxford and Thames Valley NIHR ARC, the MRC Mental Health Data Pathfinder (Oxford) and the Westminster Foundation. Oxfordshire Public Health are supporting the 2021 and 2022 surveys in Oxfordshire schools. Gloucestershire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group supported the extension of the survey to Gloucestershire schools in 2020. NHS CCG partners in Gloucestershire and Berkshire (East and West) are supporting the extension of the 2021 survey to schools in their regions.



Our team

Selected publications

Related research themes