Next Steps

Next Steps, previously known as the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE), follows the lives of around 16,000 people in England born in 1989-90.

The study began in 2004 when the cohort members were aged 14, with an original sample of 15,770 people. Cohort members were surveyed annually until 2010, and the next sweep after this was when they were aged 25, in 2015-16.

What’s in the study?

Next Steps has collected information about cohort members’ education and employment, economic circumstances, family life, physical and emotional health and wellbeing, social participation and attitudes.

The Next Steps data has also been linked to National Pupil Database (NPD) records, which include the cohort members’ individual scores at Key Stage 2, 3 and 4 and more administrative linkages are planned (for example: Higher Education Statistics Agency, The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, Department for Work and Pensions).

What has the study found?

Next Steps has provided important evidence about the factors that influence young people’s performance at school and their educational transitions, and about the lives of young adults in their twenties. It has had a major impact on education policy, including raising the compulsory participation age in education and training, investing in vocational education and developing guidance for schools on how to stop bullying.

Research based on Next Steps has provided insight into bullying of disabled and sexual minority people and the role of subject choice and aspirations in educational trajectories.

The study has also contributed new evidence on the experiences in the labour market of young adults today, and in particular on the association between shift work and zero-hours contracts and mental health.

Who funds the study?

Next Steps is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The study was previously managed and funded by the Department for Education (2004-12).

Next Steps sweeps

The first seven sweeps of Next Steps were managed by the Department for Education.

The most recent sweep was managed by CLS. Click on a sweep below to learn more about the information collected.

COVID-19 survey and data

Data from Wave 1 of our survey of five national longitudinal cohort studies, including Next Steps, are now available. Wave 2 is underway. Find out about the topics covered, response and how to access the data.

Find out more

Latest from Next Steps


First generation university students need more guidance navigating education system

12 August 2020

Young people who are the first in their family to go to university are less likely to attend an elite institution and are more likely to drop out than those with graduate parents, according to new research led by the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies.


CLS seeks input on the content of wave 3 of COVID-19 survey

17 September 2020

The UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) is seeking views on the questions to include in the next wave of its COVID-19 survey, due to take place in early 2021…


Next Steps joins the CLOSER consortium

14 September 2020 Next Steps is one of 11 new studies to join CLOSER in the first phase of its expansion.

CLS wins major new grant to investigate impact of COVID-19

1 September 2020

The Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) has secured funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), to further its investigation into the immediate and longer term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people in Britain…


Newly released data available for study of millennial generation

26 August 2020

Newly released survey variables for Next Steps sweeps 1-7 (ages 14-20) are now available to download from the UK Data Service under the standard End User Licence (EUL)…

Initial findings from the Age 25 Sweep

The most recent Next Steps survey took place when cohort members were 25. Our initial findings from the Age 25 Sweep cover a range of themes, from health to political perceptions.

Find out more about our initial findings

Recent scientific publications

Gutman, L and Schoon, I
Emotional engagement, educational aspirations, and their association during secondary school
Journal of Adolescence, 2018, Volume 67, Pages 109-119
Read the full paper
Thornby, M, Calderwood, L, Kotecha, M, Beninger, K and Gaia, A
Collecting Multiple Data Linkage Consents in a Mixed-mode Survey: Evidence from a large-scale longitudinal study in the UK
Survey Methods: Insights from the Field, 2018
Read the full paper

Special features of this study

Education data

The study was run by the Department for Education until 2013, and designed to examine key factors affecting educational progress, attainment and transitions following the end of compulsory education.

Cohort members were interviewed every year between ages 14 to 19 (2004-2010), providing detailed and frequent repeat measures on education during this crucial period. The questionnaires covered attitudes to school, aspirations for future work and study and transitions to college, university and work. Resident parents were also interviewed for the first four sweeps.

The questionnaire data was supplemented by linked administrative data from the National Pupil Database including cohort members’ individual scores at Key Stage 2, 3 and 4.

The Age 25 sweep maintained a strong focus on education with questions on qualifications, further study, university applications and experience, and student fees and debt. Permissions to link to a wide range of educational administrative data on further and higher education were also collected, including Individualised Learner Records, Higher Education Statistics Agency, University and Colleges Admissions Service and Student Loans Company.

Study design

Next Steps is a major national cohort study following a representative sample of people born in 1989-90.

A number of notable design features make it distinct from the other cohort studies run by CLS:

  • Cohort members were recruited in adolescence, at age 13/14, rather than at birth.
  • Data was collected annually for the first seven sweeps.
  • Cohort members were recruited through schools.

The geographical scope of the study is England, rather than the United Kingdom or Great Britain.

Administrative data linkage

Linked administrative data from the National Pupil Database are available for the study, including Key Stage 2, 3 and 4 individual records.

At age 25, cohort members were asked for their permission to link to an extensive range of additional administrative records. Nine different consents were sought from four different domains:


  • NHS records, including primary care data and hospital episode statistics


  • Department for Work and Pensions data on benefits and employment programs
  • HM Revenue & Customs data on employment, earnings, tax records, occupational pensions and National Insurance contributions

Cohort members who consented to economic linkages were also asked for their National Insurance number.


  • Higher Education Statistics Agency information on university participation and attainment
  • Universities and Colleges Admissions Service data covering higher education applications and offers
  • Department for Education records held on participation and attainment in school and vocational education from Individualised Learner Record and National Pupil Database
  • Student Loans Company covering amount taken out in loans and institution attended

Criminal behaviour

  • Ministry of Justice information held on the Police National Computer covering arrests, cautions and sentences

These linkages are being pursued and the linked administrative data will be made available via the UK Data Service.

Sample design

The target population for the study was young people who were in Year 9 in English state and independent schools and pupil referral units in February 2004. Cohort members were born between 1 September 1989 and 31 August 1990.

The sample design considered schools the primary sampling unit, with deprived schools being over-sampled by 50 per cent. Of 892 selected schools, 647 state and independent secondary schools as well as pupil referral units participated in the study. Within selected schools, pupils from minority ethnic groups (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black African, Black Caribbean, and Mixed) were over-sampled to provide sufficient base sizes for analysis. The school and pupil selection approach ensured that, within a deprivation band and ethnic group, pupils had an equal probability of selection.

The issued sample for the Age 14 sweep was approximately 21,000 young people. A total of 15,770 households were interviewed in that initial sweep, representing 74 per cent of the target sample. For the Age 17 sweep, 352 Black Caribbean and Black African pupils, selected from the original schools sample, were added to the sample taking the total number of cohort members who had taken part in the study up to 16,122.

From ages 15-20, the target sample consisted of cohort members who had participated at the previous sweep. For the Age 25 sweep, the target sample was all cohort members who had ever taken part in the study.

Popular survey documentation

Next Steps Age 25 Questionnaire

This questionnaire was given to participants of the Next Steps Age 25 sweep.

Authors: Centre for Longitudinal Studies
Date published: 01/08/2017
PDF: 965,6 KB


Next Steps Age 25 User Guide

This user guide accompanies the Next Steps Age 25 sweep.

Authors: Centre for Longitudinal Studies
Date published: 01/01/2018
PDF: 539,38 KB


Data access

We’ve published guidance to help users find out what’s in our data.

Most Next Steps data are available through the UK Data Service. Visit the UK Data Service study page for Next Steps [SN 2000030].

Principal Investigator

Lisa Calderwood Principal Investigator of Next Steps and Senior Survey Manager of CLS studies

Phone: 020 7911 5510

Lisa oversees all aspects of CLS’s work on Next Steps (formerly known as the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England), and leads on the strategic and scientific direction of the study.

Lisa leads the survey management team who are responsible for the design, development and implementation of the surveys conducted by CLS.

Her research interests are longitudinal survey methodology, particularly the prevention of non-response.

Contact us

Centre for Longitudinal Studies
UCL Social Research Institute

20 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AL