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Evaluation of the COVID-19 School Infection Survey

Can you help us to evaluate the COVID-19 School Infection Survey? What was your experience of SIS? What difference did the study make? What lessons can we learn to help inform future programmes?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has asked the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) to carry out research with the headteachers from the 180 schools that took part in the COVID-19 School Infection Survey. 

About the Evaluation of the COVID-19 School Infection Survey

The COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey (SIS) was designed and delivered by the ONS to assess the role of schools in coronavirus transmission and how transmission within and from school settings can be minimised. Schools in England were invited to take part in testing for infection and antibodies to COVID-19. The aim was to detect current infections and how many school pupils developed antibodies against the virus. The data would be used to understand changes over time in order to inform policies to protect school pupils and staff. The overall aim of the survey later evolved to include collecting survey data in order to aid school recovery.

SIS-1 involved several rounds of testing for infection and antibodies of around 15,000 pupils and 7,000 staff. The project started in August 2020 and concluded in July 2021. SIS-2 (pupil antibody testing only) started in November 2021 and is expected to complete by the end of March 2022. It involves 173 schools and 12,500 pupils.

ONS has asked the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) to carry out research with headteachers on behalf of the schools who took part in the SIS. The aim is to understand school’s experiences of participating in SIS, what difference the survey made if any to schools, and lessons learnt.

To do this research, we are conducting a survey of headteachers from the participating schools. We will also speak with headteachers and deputy head teachers in case study interviews.

Why take part?

This study will help ONS to understand the contribution of SIS to the UK’s pandemic response and to identify lessons and successes to inform future programmes. Your views are key to this evaluation and we look forward to hearing about your experiences of taking part in the COVID-19 School Infection Survey.

What’s involved?

For more information on what’s involved, please have a look at the below pages: