CSL Research Design
The transitions from pre-school to primary school and from primary school to post-primary school (secondary education) are key turning points in children's lives. The CSL study explores how children, their families and schools manage and adjust at transition periods, with a focus on wellbeing and learning outcomes.
Equality, Voice & Inclusion
We consider the impact of gender, social class, ethnicity, dis/ability and age on primary school children's lives, prioritising children's voices, and the intersection of family, community and school dynamics on learning outcomes and patterns of equality, participation and engagement with the primary school curriculum.
Wellbeing & Engagement
Children's wellbeing is emotional, psychological and social and develops within school contexts. School engagement is a core component of wellbeing and influences children's learning outcomes. In the CSL study we examine how children's wellbeing and engagement develop throughout primary schooling.
Leading and Teaching
We explore everyday experiences and insights of children, teachers, principals, parents (and grandparents!) of their primary schools, providing a rich overview of school and classroom environments in a wider context of social change, and developments in curricular, pedagogical and assessment practices.
We examine how children's literacy and numeracy attainment develops across primary school. By collecting standardised achievement data over time, we will be able to examine how a range of factors interact with learning and attainment.
Children’s School Lives is a nationally representative longitudinal cohort study conducted over 6 years. It is divided into two cohorts as we track the same group of children each year in their experience of primary school.
- Follows children starting in their pre-school year as they transition into primary school
- Tracks these children until end of 2nd class
- Wave 1 collected in Spring 2019
- 87 primary schools and 200 pre-schools representing all school types nationally
- 8 in-depth case study classes across diverse primary school settings
- Follows children in 2nd class
- Tracks these children each year until first year in Second level school (2024-2025)
- Wave 1 collected Spring 2019
- 102 primary schools representing all school types nationally
- 7 in-depth case study classes across diverse primary school settings
Children’s School Lives is a mixed methods study that involves a national study of children across 189 primary schools and more in-depth research in our case studies with 13 schools.
In the case studies, selected to represent the diversity of types of primary schools in Ireland, we spend extended time in each school/classroom interviewing and getting to know the children, their teachers, school principal and parents in the study classes. Peer, classroom and school cultures are studied using multi modal, child centred and participatory methods. Through our CSL family sub study, we also interview the parents and grandparents of our case study children.
In the national study, a repeated measures survey of children, their parents, classroom teachers and school principals is carried out. The children’s survey takes the form of a child friendly ‘workshop’ where children are guided by experienced fieldworkers through an interactive data collection booklet containing questionnaire items interspersed with games. Schools principals, teachers and parents are contributing via on-line questionnaires.