Steps for Schools

Changes for 2020/2021

To aid survey completion, for this year we have made the following changes:

  • In previous years, it has been necessary for the survey to be completed on desktop computers in classrooms, it is now possible to complete the survey on smartphones or tablets.  Please consider the best way to ensure it is possible to maintain social distancing amongst pupils when completing the survey.
  • We have extended the survey period to allow for as much flexibility as possible.

An overview of the seven steps that need to be followed for schools to measure the wellbeing of their pupils as part of HeadStart are below.

Each involves activity by both the school and the research team so we recommend you appoint a single Wellbeing Measurement Framework Champion to keep an overview.

The seven steps are:

  1. Reviewing the pre-prepared parent letters
  2. Informing parents about the survey and giving them the option to opt out
  3. Sending privacy notices to parents
  4. Accessing unique passwords for each of these pupils
  5. Preparing for survey implementation, e.g. booking ICT suites and lesson plans
  6. Completing the online survey
  7. Receiving bespoke feedback for your school

If you have any queries please contact us at

Step 1 – Reviewing parent letters

Schools will be asked to send out letters to all parents of children in the relevant year groups. These letters will inform parents about the survey and ask them to let us (the researchers) know if they do not want their child to be involved in the survey.

In this initial step you are asked to review the pre-prepared letter for parents and consider whether you would like to add a cover note before you send this to parents.

Step 2 – Informing parents

In the 2020/21 survey period, two year groups will have the opportunity to take part in the survey in primary and secondary schools.

  1. In primary schools: Years 5 and 6 will be invited to take part. The Y5 & 6 parent letter should be sent to parents/guardians.
  2. In secondary schools:
    • Year 11: These are the pupils who took part in the first round of the survey when they were in year 7, and who we would like to follow-up again now that they are in year 10 (and every year until they finish year 11). Parents of current year 11 pupils who took part in the survey in 2017 (when they were in year 7) and/or 2018/19 gave their consent for their child to take part each year, so you do not need to ask for their consent again. If you have pupils in year 11 who are new to the school (i.e. who have not taken part in the survey before), you will need to inform their parents and seek their consent for their child to take part.
    • Year 9: Each year we would like to invite pupils in year 9 to take part in the survey. Parents of these pupils now need to be informed.

There are two letters for secondary schools (one for the Year 11 pupils and one for the Year 9 pupils) that should be sent out before the children have access to the survey.

We recommend that letters are sent to parents as early as practicable, at least 4 weeks before you plan to carry out the survey. The 4 week period includes: a 2 week opt-out period for the parents, and a further 2 week period for our data manager to get back to schools regarding any opt-outs and to allow for any delays in opt-out letters reaching us.

You will need to edit the deadline date on the pre-prepared parent letters to ensure that this is two weeks from the date that the letters are sent (see highlighted sections in the word documents). Please also notify our data manager ( of the deadline for opt outs.

Please do not change any other aspects of the letters other than the date. The letters had been approved by the UCL ethics committee, any changes to wording would result in a breach of protocol, rendering the data inadmissible.

Opt-outs will be sent directly to the research team. The team will then notify schools which pupils have been opted out.

If you receive any opt-out forms, please inform the research team’s data manager.

 Step 3 – Privacy notices

We have created a privacy notice which informs parents about the steps we take as part of this research, including how we collect, analyse, make sense of, and present information (i.e. the processing of their child’s data). It also makes clear to them their rights (and those of their child) in relation to this, including their right to remove their child from this research. This privacy notice is a requirement of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Parents of all pupils (existing and new) who are taking part in the survey need to be sent this privacy notice via whatever communication channels you would normally use. We recommend that you send this out to parents of new pupils along with their parent letters.

 We have also created a separate version of the privacy notice that is specifically for young people. You do not need to do anything with this privacy notice, participating pupils will be presented with this notice online before they are allowed to begin the survey.

Step 4 – Opt outs and passwords

The data manager will contact schools with a list of pupils that have been opted out by their parents and will therefore not be taking part in the survey. The data manager will provide this list within 4 weeks of the consent forms being sent out.

The data manager will also send an Excel sheet containing the unique passwords for each pupil in an encrypted 7zip file to the relevant person in the school. The password to open the encrypted file will be communicated by telephone for added security.

If you do not receive the encrypted file with the survey passwords please contact the data manager after the four week opt-out period has expired.

Step 5 – Preparation

Stage 1: Timetabling/Booking IT suites

We suggest schools plan implementation of the survey in advance as various arrangements might be required, e.g. scheduling the survey period into the school’s calendar, booking IT suites or library computers.

You should expect that the survey completion will take a whole lesson. This includes time to introduce and explain the survey to the pupils, to answer any questions, and to get pupils set up on computers.

We suggest booking at least one additional lesson slot, to include any pupils that might miss their intended slot due to school absence.

Stage 2: ICT considerations

Pupils will complete the survey online, so please ensure that the website housing the survey is not blocked by your school computer. You might want to add the survey link to your school’s ‘white list’. We recommend that you make it available either as a shortcut on the pupils’ desktops (please see document on how to make a shortcut) or as a link on the school’s intranet. Please ensure that you test the questionnaire on an account that will be used by the pupils.

The survey link for the survey is: <to be shared closer to the survey period>

Stage 3: Passwords

Ensure that you have received the individual pupil passwords from the data manager. As with the survey website, you should ensure that the email address of the data manager isn’t blocked by your school computers.

Make sure that the passwords have been downloaded, and are in the right order (you may want to book admin support, to get passwords in the right form and year group order). Think ahead of time about how you are going to hand out the passwords in the survey session- some prefer to print out the pupil passwords and give them out to pupils on a piece of paper or sticker (if you choose this option, print out a master list for the survey session as well).

Stage 4: Preparing teachers

Please ensure those administering the survey in Step 7 have read and have print-outs of the necessary information, including the crib sheet (available to download from the website).

Stage 5: Pupils not taking part

Schools should start thinking about what the children who will not be completing the survey will be doing during the session and what alternative activities might be made available for those who may complete the survey early in the allotted class/session.

Step 6 – Completing the online survey

Pupils should complete the online survey in class, under supervision by an appropriate member of staff, between 2nd November 2020 and 25th June 2021. Please ensure that you have completed all stages in Step 6 in advance.

How long will it take: We piloted the survey with a number of secondary schools and, on average, it takes the pupils 18 minutes, with the fastest pupils completing it in 10 minutes, and the slowest in 40 minutes.

Starting the survey: Passwords should be handed out prior to the survey. Pupils should not be able to have access to each other’s passwords. Pupils should type in their password into the box provided and then click ‘Next’ to start.

How to deal with questions during the surveys: The research team has prepared a crib sheet which introduces the survey and helps you deal with any questions. Please have a copy of the sheet with you just in case.

Support: For further technical assistance please contact the data manager (

Step 7 – Bespoke feedback for your school

The evaluation team will aim to provide participating schools with bespoke feedback on a school-wide level in the September after the survey period.

This report will compare your school’s data with aggregated data from other schools nationally. These can be used as the school sees fit.

Please note: In order to preserve anonymity, we are not able to provide feedback for a school where there are fewer than 10 completed pupil questionnaires per year group.

There will be separate results for each year group that took part in the evaluation. This feedback will be split into sections based on the different aspects of wellbeing that the survey covers.

For each part of the survey, schools will be provided with simple, easy to understand data summaries displaying average scores for their pupils compared to the average for all schools taking part in the project nationally.