Records of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies

Scope and Content

This collection is primarily made up of the administrative archives of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, rather than the data gathered from the studies. The collection consists of:

- Minutes of meetings (CLS/1)

- Papers relating to the management of datasets (CLS/2)

- Questionnaires (CLS/3)

- Papers on funding for research projects (CLS/4)

- Papers on publicity, both external and within cohorts (CLS/5)

- Publications, by CLS and using CLS data (CLS/6)

- Documents explaining coding in relation to data sets (CLS/7)

- Cohort communication (CLS/8)

- Papers relating to data access and policies on data management (CLS/9)

- Papers relating to international links (CLS/10)

- Papers of other surveys and individuals involved in the Centre and studies (CLS/11)

Administrative / Biographical History

The Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and is based at the UCL Institute of Education. Longitudinal studies follow the same group of participants (or 'cohort') over a long period, possibly their whole lives, gathering data on each individual participant in that cohort at regular intervals. In this way, longitudinal studies are particularly useful for highlighting the factors that influence people's health and development throughout life, particularly with regard to socioeconomic factors. CLS has grown around the management of, and research resulting from, four internationally renowned cohort studies:

The 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS) is following the lives of around 17,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week in 1958. The study began as the Perinatal Mortality Survey, designed to examine why there were so many stillbirths, so many babies dying within weeks of being born, and the social and obstetric factors involved. The initial survey had a sample of 17,415 babies, and it has been followed by several further attempts to trace the cohort members in order to monitor their health, development and social circumstances. The NCDS has been run by different organisations over the years, but the study's management was transferred to CLS in 1998. Significant research using this study includes: effects of mothers' smoking during pregnancy; mental health problems; inherited economic inequalities across generations; and the childhood origins of health inequalities in middle age. The government, and health and educational professionals have used this data to inform services and policy making.

The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) is following the lives of around 17,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week in 1970. The study began as the British Births Survey, to investigate whether there had been any change in the perinatal mortality rate since the 1958 study, and how socioeconomic factors influenced outcomes. The initial survey had a sample of 17,196 babies, and it has been followed by several further sweeps to monitor the participants' health and development. In 1998 the management of BCS70 was transferred to CLS. Research based on BCS70 has highlighted the importance of reading for pleasure for cognitive development; and that people who attended grammar schools were no more likely to attain a university degree than those who went to comprehensive schools.

The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), known as 'Child of the New Century' to cohort members and their families, is following the lives of around 19,000 young people born across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland between September 2000 and January 2002. The study began with an original sample of 18,818 cohort members. It prioritised the inclusion of people living in disadvantaged circumstances, and people from ethnic minorities. It was also the first national cohort study to survey fathers from the start (as well as mothers). Research using this study has included: the relation between birth date in the academic year and subsequent performance; mental ill-health; obesity; and the effects of class and inequality on child development in the pre-school years.

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. This study has been instrumental in educational policy including raising the school leaving age, investment in vocational education, and guidance on bullying, particularly given research conducted on bullying of disabled and sexual minority people. The study has also examined participants' experiences of the labour market 2010-2020, and the impact of zero-hour contracts and shift work on mental health.

Most of the data in these studies can be accessed through the UK Data Service website:

The Centre for Longitudinal Studies' website can be found here:


The files were sorted by archivists, and arranged into series as shown in the catalogue.

Access Information


Some files are either closed or restricted in-line with data protection legislation. Please see file level descriptions for full access conditions. This collection is partially catalogued. The catalogued material will all have access status defined. For further information please contact the archive.

Conditions Governing Use

A reader wishing to publish any quotation of information, including pictorial, derived from any archive material must apply in writing for prior permission from the Archivist or other appropriate person(s) as indicated by the Archivist. A limited number of photocopies may be supplied at the discretion of the Archivist.

Appraisal Information

The following kinds of material were weeded out, and either destroyed or returned to CLS: duplicates; circulars; recruitment papers; ephemera; day-to-day admin and finance; publications with no reference to the studies; and personnel papers. Material identified as research data was returned to CLS.

Custodial History

These records had been accumulated at CLS since they took over the management of the NCDS and BCS70 in 1998, before being transferred to the IOE archive.


As the studies are ongoing, additional material from CLS will be desposited at regular intervals as part of this collection.