Foster And Brown Research


What we are up to

The Oxford Wellbeing School Surveys - Publications

The University of Oxford and Foster and Brown joint logo

During the first lockdown in Spring 2020, University of Oxford Psychology researchers commissioned us to create an Online Pupil Survey (OPS) for pupils in lockdown. This measured the wellbeing (health and happiness) of children and young people and asked questions about life-style and school life. It was offered to pupils from yeargroups 4 up to 13 as part of schoolwork tasks supplied by their school.

Originally planned to cover Oxfordshire, the scope of this survey was expanded to include schools in more counties in the South West (South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire) and the South East (Berkshire and Buckinghamshire). The Survey gave us over 19,000 responses.

The research group is interested in understanding how best to support the mental health of children attending school and has funding to carry out more surveys in the future. In order to easily distinguish these surveys from our own custom-made Online Pupil Surveys (OPS), they have been branded the OxWell School Surveys.

Last year, given the Covid situation in schools earlier in the year, we ran the 2021 survey during the months of May through to the end of term. Despite Covid interruptions, the survey gave us over 30,000 responses from 4 counties: Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Liverpool.

There have been, and continue to be, many publications written by members of the University of Oxford Department of Psychiatry using the data collected in these surveys. These can be accessed by visiting the OxWell Study & School Mental Health page on the Department of Psychiatry website.

For more information on the background to the OxWell project go to the Department of Psychiatry School Mental Health page. The Survey conforms to strict rules governing ethics and personal data (GDPR). You can read approved information for parents here .

We work closely with schools, local authorities and mental health services to deliver the survey and then provide school reports, access to aggregated data via our LodeSeeker® data tool and further analysis both from Foster and Brown and the University of Oxford Psychology department researchers.

The 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. Gloucestershire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group supported the extension of the 2020 survey to Gloucestershire schools.

  • If you represent a local authority in England and are interested in being involved in future surveys and of the costs involved, please contact:
  • For more information on the background to the OxWell project go to the Psychology Department School Mental Health page.
  • For information on OxWell School Survey 2020 content see here.
  • For a description of how the LodeSeeker® data tool for schools works see here.

COVID-19 and FAB Research

All of us here at FAB are complying with the government regulations as set out on the coronavirus site. We are able to keep going due to our work being mainly online and we are making full use of virtual meeeting softwares. We hope you are all keeping safe and well.

Online Pupil Surveys

Online Pupil Survey frogs

The OxWell Survey content is fixed by the University of Oxford Psychology researchers and the Data Controller is the University of Oxford. This means that customisation of your own survey is not possible. If you prefer more control over the content of your survey, you can commission us directly and we will work with you to produce your own Children and Young People's Health and Wellbeing Survey or other types of survey or audit (see descriptions of the Year 6 Transition Survey and Safeguarding Audit below). We also offer a short (5-10 minute) 'CONNECT' survey run in September as a snapshot of attitudes to school, anxiety and mental health before the full OPS the following year.

South Gloucestershire Online Pupil Survey Results

There was a South Gloucestershire Children and Young People's Health and Wellbeing Survey again in 2021. The survey gave us over 8000 responses and a Summary Report is now available on the South Gloucestershire Council Public health and wellbeing website.

The Wiltshire Children and Young People's Health and Wellbeing Survey 2020 was closed due to the lockdown and the decision was taken to rerun the survey in 2021. Almost 8000 pupils responded this year adding to the over 6000 responses from 2020.

Once you have your own data, this link to the Youth Health Data site should be of interest to compare your results to other sources.

GSCP Safeguarding Children (Section 175/157) Audit 2021/22

The Gloucestershire Children Safeguarding Partnership Audit for Schools and Early Years Settings (including Nuseries and Childminders is now concluded.

Feedback on ease of completion of the Audit is overwhelmingly positive. The Audit does not ask for a record of evidence to be uploaded or described, but affirmative responses must be evidenced within the setting and be ready for examination during inspection. This streamlines the process considerably and gives each setting a comprehensive checklist with which to work.

New for this year, we created 3 separate versions of the Audit aimed specifically at schools, nurseries and childminders. Each version can be separately administered so that the Audit can be live for different groups at different times. This is very useful if administrative resources are stretched.

See details of the Audit here. Contact us if you are interested in knowing more.

South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire Year 6 Transition Survey

This is a message from South Gloucestershire Council: The Local Authority have commissioned Foster and Brown Research Ltd that operate the very successful Online Pupil Survey (OPS) to develop a pupil focused questionnaire for Year 6 students with a focus on transition that gives them a voice around their own education, health and well-being. The aim is that these would be completed by the students and that Secondary Schools will have a clear sense of Pupil Voice from the pupils themselves which will then support the transition process. This is an exciting piece of work, that we are developing in these unprecedented times, but if successful, we will make this an annual commitment for any child transitioning within South Gloucestershire. Sarah Godsell from the Council Public Health Team who is working closely with colleagues in Education Learning and Skills will be providing more details through our regular educational continuity newsletter and a separate email in due course.

If you are interested in this survey, please contact us to discuss.

Details about our Online surveys »  

OPS helping to understand self-harm

Gloucestershire OPS results were used as part of a study investigating the incidence of suicide and self-harm in adolescents in England - published in The Lancet 12th December 2017 - Incidence of suicide, hospital-presenting non-fatal self-harm, and community-occurring non-fatal self-harm in adolescents in England (the iceberg model of self-harm): a retrospective study Guelayov G, Casey D, McDonald K.C, Foster P, Pritchard K, Wells C, Clements C, Kapur N, Ness J, Waters K, Hawton K

More from the Oxford researchers - a new guide for parents coping with their children self-harming - you are not alone

Also developed by the researchers at the University of Oxford there is a guide for School staff: Young people who self harm: A guide for school staff

More publications:

Here's more interesting stuff »»»

Interesting stuff

Using neurodesign to influence consumer choice

As part of our collaboration with split second research, Pauline presented a very interesting talk at food matters live about how our unconscious and emotional responses to packaging influence our choice of what to buy. Her presentation can be seen here.

Building resilience

Here is a useful resource for building resilience on the Whats on your mind? site set up by the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group

Recent UK Public Health advice on promoting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing

Promoting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing guidance published September 2021 provides 8 key principles of a whole school/college approach to promoting mental health and wellbeing. One vital principle is to enable student voice - something we have been working on here for rather a long time!

OPS accuracy

For those of you who are interested in the accuracy of our results, here's some figures for Gloucestershire in 2016:

Year Group Number in database % population based on NOR (as of October 2015)
Year 4 5,257 81.4%
Year 5 (new optional yeargroup) 3,613 58.0%
Year 6 4,898 79.6%
Year 8 5,428 83.3%
Year 10 5,156 81.5%
Year 12 in schools (not colleges) 2,674 76.5%

Statistically, that’s a confident interval of 0.28 at 95% confidence level or 0.36 at the 99% confidence level (this means if we repeated the survey over the entire population we would get the same results + or – 0.36% and we can be certain of this 99% of the time).