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Please find detailed study information below for students and parents at schools participating in the OxWell Student Survey. Schools are requested to send out parent information one week before they invite pupils to take part in the survey, to provide details on the survey and how we use the data. Additional information can be found in our frequently asked questions.


 OxWell School Survey 2021


Ethics Approval Reference: R62366/RE0011


In partnership with researchers at the University of Oxford, your child’s school has agreed to take part in a study investigating school pupils’ health and wellbeing by asking pupils to log in to an online survey. We very much hope you would like your child to take part in this study, but before you decide, it is important that you understand why the study is being done and what it will involve.

What are we trying to find out?

Adolescence is a critical period for mental health and brain development. By asking school pupils to tell us how they experience school life and health-related issues, we hope to better understand what is happening to the mental health of young people, and to inform schools, the local council and their partners, how to provide pupils with the best support and guidance to keep them safe and happy. We also aim to gain insight into how adolescents view surveys like this, and how the school lockdowns impacted their wellbeing. More information about this study and the larger project can be obtained on the research team’s webpage, or by contacting the research team at:

Why has my child been invited to take part?

We are inviting your child to take part because they are aged 8 years or older, currently in school year 5-13, and attending one of the participating schools or FE Colleges in one of the participating counties in England. We are inviting up to 150,000 young people to take part.

Does my child have to take part?

No. You can ask questions about the study before deciding whether or not to allow your child to participate, and you can change your mind without giving a reason. If you do not want your child to take part in the research, you can notify your child’s school in the days before they give survey login details to pupils. 

What will happen if my child takes part?

During a designated school period of around 30 minutes, pupils will be invited to log in to the OxWell School Survey, to answer around 200 questions on life-style and health-related issues. Some of the questions address sensitive areas (e.g. safety, bullying, mental wellbeing), and there are different versions of the survey to ensure that the content is age-matched. Pupils in years 8-13 are also asked some questions related to risk factors like self-harm, drugs, abuse, depression/anxiety/paranoia. At the end of the survey, appropriate advice and guidance is provided with links (e.g. We do not wish to identify pupils and therefore do not ask for names, addresses, date of birth, ethnicity or use unique logins. The survey data is collected as part of a service provided by Foster and Brown Research Ltd. (

What are the advantages / disadvantages of taking part?

One potential risk of this study is that your child will be asked questions about a topic that they know nothing or very little about, such as the risky behaviours associated with adolescence (years 8-13 only). To mitigate the risks, different versions of the survey have been designed to ensure that the questions are age-appropriate, and most questions are hidden and only seen by pupils who indicate that they understand the topic and have experience in it. Schools and pupils are provided with useful links to websites offering suitable information and guidance.

There are no direct benefits of taking part, but one of the aims of the survey is to advise schools on which topics pupils most require additional information to be fully aware of the dangers of specific situations and behaviours. In the event that the survey highlights any safeguarding concerns about any of the pupils who take part, then we will notify the relevant school safeguarding leads of the year group and (if provided) gender of the young person so that they can make the relevant year group aware of how to access appropriate support.

What happens to the data provided?

The information your child provides as part of the study is the research data. Any research data from which you or your child can be identified is known as personal data. In this study we do not wish to identify pupils and have taken measures to minimise the collection of personal data. We do not collect names, addresses, date of birth, ethnicity, IP addresses, or use individual logins to the survey. We also do not collect data relating to ethnicity, special needs, or whether parents are in the armed forces. A school login is provided to pupils, and opt-out records will be held by the school. We do ask some sensitive questions that relate to mental health, but make it clear that pupils can leave any questions blank if they do not wish to answer. Personal or sensitive data will be stored confidentially in password protected files on secure servers at the University of Oxford, and in secure databases by Foster and Brown Research Ltd. We would like your permission to use your child’s data in future studies, and to share data with other researchers (e.g. in online databases). All personal information that could identify you or your child will be removed or changed before information is shared with other researchers or results are made public. Responsible members of the University of Oxford may be given access to data for monitoring and/or audit of the study. All research data will be stored by the University of Oxford and Foster and Brown Research Ltd. for 5 years after publication or public release of the work of the research. We may retain and store your child’s personal data for an additional period of time as necessary for the purposes of the study, and for further research, in accordance with the law.  Summaries of our findings will be given to schools, local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and Public Health teams who can use the results to guide the services they provide. These partners and interested families will be provided with reports and presentations, and given access to summaries of the data via Foster and Brown’s online tool (Lodeseeker), which enables comparison to the rest of the data but does not enable access to individual survey responses.

Who is conducting this research?

The research project is organized by Mina Fazel and Karen Mansfield at the University of Oxford. Mina Fazel is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Associate Professor, and Karen Mansfield is a Research Scientist. The research is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration, the Oxford Health NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, and the Westminster Foundation. This study has been reviewed by, and received ethics clearance through, the University of Oxford’s Central University Research Ethics Committee [CUREC reference R62366/RE0011].

What if there is a problem?

If you have a concern about any aspect of this project, please contact Karen Mansfield on / 01865 613133, who will do her best to answer your query. The researcher should acknowledge your concern within 10 working days and give you an indication of how she intends to deal with it. If you remain unhappy or wish to make a formal complaint, please contact the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee at the University of Oxford who will seek to resolve the matter in a reasonably expeditious manner.

Chair, Medical Sciences Inter-Divisional Research Ethics Committee; Email:; Address: Research Services, University of Oxford, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD

Data Protection

The University of Oxford is the data controller with respect to your child’s personal data, and as such will determine how your child’s personal data is used in the study. The University will process your child’s personal data as needed for the performance of our public interest tasks, specifically our research and education functions. In circumstances where we identify a safeguarding risk in our research results, we will process your child’s personal data where it is necessary to protect their vital interests in relation to their health and safety and we process their health data where it is considered to meet a substantial public interest in safeguarding children at risk.

Further information about your child’s rights with respect to their personal data is available from

If your child would like to exercise any of the above rights, please contact the University’s Information Compliance Team at However, depending on the circumstances, we may have grounds for not complying with a request to exercise their rights, for example, where we consider that deleting the information would seriously harm the research or where we need to process your child’s data for the performance of a task in the public interest. Additionally, as we are not collecting any information that will directly identify your child (such as name, address or date or birth) it may be difficult for us to identify your child’s survey response.

If for any reason you or your child are not happy with the way that we have handled their information, please contact our data protection officer ( If you or your child are still not happy, you have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office. 

What should I do next?

Please contact your child’s school if you would not like your child to take part in this study, or use the school’s usual electronic methods for parental opt-out. If you would like to discuss the research with someone beforehand (or if you have questions afterwards), please contact: Karen Mansfield, Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, Tel 01865 613133, Email: