New longitudinal study into the effects of COVID-19 on young people begins

23 September 2021

Tens of thousands of secondary school pupils across England will be invited to take part this week in COSMO – the largest study of its kind into the effects of COVID-19 on a generation of young people.

Up to 25,000 teenagers currently aged either 16 or 17 will receive letters asking them and a parent/guardian to answer an online questionnaire about their experiences of the pandemic, as well as their future hopes and plans. The study will be known as ‘Horizons’ to participants.

COSMO (the COVID Social Mobility and Opportunities Study) will look at the experiences of young people in every region of England and from a wide range of backgrounds. It will provide evidence of challenges facing young people, and help policymakers plan how best to respond.

The study is a collaboration between the UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), and the Sutton Trust, with fieldwork led by Kantar Public. CLS will provide expert advice on longitudinal survey design and management.

Dr Jake Anders, the study’s Principal Investigator, said: “We’re very excited to be launching the fieldwork for COSMO. It’s so important to hear from young people themselves on their experience of the pandemic and how it has affected their lives. We are really grateful to everyone who is able to take part in the survey.”

Prof Alissa Goodman, Co-Investigator of the study and CLS Director, added: “As schools begin to return to normal, it will be important not to lose sight of the profound and potentially long-lasting impact of the pandemic on school pupil’s lives and education. By following these young people through the next stages of their lives, we will be able to capture the ways in which COVID has shaped a generation. COSMO will be a critical source of evidence, and its wonderful this study is now underway.”

The first findings from the study will be published in early 2022. If you’ve been invited to take part and would like to find out more, please follow the instructions in your letter.

More information

News: National study to track the pandemic’s effect on year 11 students’ life chances

Read more about this COSMO study on the UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities website

Back to news listing

Media enquiries

Ryan Bradshaw
Senior Communications Officer

Phone: 020 7612 6516

Contact us

Centre for Longitudinal Studies
UCL Social Research Institute

20 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AL


Follow us