Information for schools

Deciding to take part in research

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Schools and nurseries play a vital role in our research. We collaborate closely with a large number of schools, nurseries and other organisations all over the UK, and hope that you are interested in being involved in our research. However, before you decide if you want to take part in any of our projects, it is important to understand why the research is being done and what it would involve for you. For each of our studies, we provide schools, nurseries and other organisations with detailed information about the project, what the aims are, what is involved and the criteria for taking part. Please feel free to ask us if there is anything that is not clear, or if you would like more information before making your decision.

What happens during the research?

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If you agree to take part, we will seek permission from parents for their child to take part. We will only include children if their parents agree and if children are happy to join the tester and try the activities. We will provide you with information sheets to give to parents, along with a consent form for them to fill in, providing written consent for their child’s participation. Parents and children do not have to take part in this study if they do not want to, and even if they do agree to take part, they can change their mind and pull out of the assessments at any time without having to give a reason.

Depending on the study, we may ask to see some information from the children’s school records. We may also ask parents to complete a short questionnaire about their child’s hearing and medical history, and interest in reading. If there are any children in your school who you feel are unable to take these tests, we will not use the tests with them.

We will visit your school to carry out some tests focusing on language, literacy or reading skills and liaise with class teachers and make sure that our visits fit in with your children’s classes, keeping any disruption to a minimum. We will write down children’s responses on record sheets and may also video record them doing some of the tests so we can check their scores later on. In these instances, permission for filming and audio recording will be sought from the parents prior to the start of the study.

What happens when the research is finished?

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When the research has finished, all information about children and staff in your school will be kept confidential and stored safely for 10 years. Only staff in the research team will watch the children’s videos unless parents specifically say that we can show it to other people. All records and video recordings will be labelled only with a number that we give to your school, teachers and children. No names of schools or individuals will ever be used. An anonymised dataset will be placed on the Open Science Framework.

We will tell you, other teachers and the wider research community about the results of our research. We will write reports to publish the result and your school/teacher/children’s identities will remain anonymous at all times. Results will be presented in terms of groups of individuals and will not mention individual children. A summary of the results will be provided to schools and parents of children who participated. Frequently, the results of studies may be written up for publication in an academic journal, a copy of which will be sent to school.

Who can I contact if I have questions about the research?

If you have any problems, concerns or questions about a study your child is involved in, you can speak to a member of the research team at any time. The researcher in charge of each study will provide you with their contact details before the research begins, however, you can also contact us with any queries here.