How will data be used, and will the data generated during the project be kept confidential?
All the information that we gather about individual pupils, teachers and schools will be kept completely confidential in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (2016). Pupil data collected from schools by NFER and pupil test outcomes will be securely transferred to the research teams at the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University and NatCen, and will not be made available to anyone outside of these research teams.
With parental permission, NatCen will match the pupil data collected from schools and pupil test outcomes to the National Pupil Database (NPD), to allow linkage of the primary outcome measure to prior attainment.
On conclusion of the project, the Fischer Family Trust will collate and anonymise the data for upload to the UK Data Archive. The archived data will be available in an anonymised form with restricted access for research purposes only.
No school or pupil will be identified in any report arising from the research.
What will happen to the results of the research project?
We will publish our findings in academic and non-academic journals. We will also take part in conferences and other events to tell people about our results. NatCen will also publish their Independent Evaluation report. No school or pupil will be identified in any published report arising from the research.
Data Collection and Processing
Any pupil data collected during the research will be labelled with a data-collection-identifier (DCID) code. The DCID codes, as well as the pupils’ identifiable information, will be securely stored in separate custom-made electronic databases, developed by a company called Exprodo.
As detailed in our information sheets sent out to schools and parents, to provide contextual information for the data we collect, we asked the participating schools to provide the names, dates of birth, genders, free school meal eligibility and Unique Pupil Numbers of their year 7/8 pupils, and permit us to use these numbers to access educational attainment information from the National Pupil Database.
We will only use children’s names to link their PE class information to their academic information via their UPN and we will delete all instances of their names as soon as data transfer to our secure database is complete.
Paper data, and any electronic data stored locally on computers by researchers, will be labelled with data-collection-identifer (DCID) codes rather than children’s names. The schools will have the lists of names-DCIDs for their pupils. This will allow each child to enter their DCID code into the cognitive testing/questionnaire computer software (which may prompt the child to confirm their date of birth, to verify the ID code).
Occasionally, specific items of data may be temporarily recorded against pupil’s names. For example, PE teachers will be recording fitness scores (based on the shuttle run test) in all pupils each term. During our pilot phase we explored different methods for these scores to be recorded by teachers and sent to the research team. The overwhelming preference of teachers was to record scores against pupils’ names, for example in their register, and then securely send the results to the research team. Once these lists are received by the research team, they will enter the scores in the database where they will be stored under the pupil’s DCID (not under the pupil’s name), and any lists including pupils names will be destroyed.
Paperwork that does contain the name of the participant (e.g. informed consent, sub-study screening form), will be kept in a locked filing cabinet.
All imaging and electronic data collected during participant (sub study) visits to FMRIB will be anonymised, kept on firewall and password-protected computers, and may be kept indefinitely. Paper information containing study data (such as any paper-based research questionnaires) will be stored safely in lockable cabinets in a swipe-card secured building, would only be accessed by the research team and will be destroyed after anonymised data are stored electronically. Study consent forms and MR screening forms will be stored in locked filing cabinets and may be kept indefinitely.
Concerns about the project
The ‘Fit to Study’ project is led by the University of Oxford. The University has strict ethical procedures on conducting research with young people. The ‘Fit to Study’ project has been reviewed by, and received ethical clearance through, the Central University Research Ethics Committee (Registration No: R48879/RE001), and complies with the ethical requirements of Oxford Brookes University.
If you have a concern about any aspect of the project, you should contact the Principal Investigator, Prof. Heidi Johansen-Berg, through the Project Manager Nick Beale.
If you remain unhappy or wish to make a formal complaint, please contact the chair of the Research Ethics Committee at the University of Oxford who will seek to resolve the matter in a reasonably expeditious manner:
Chair, Medical Sciences Inter-Divisional Research Ethics Committee; firstname.lastname@example.org Address: Research Services, University of Oxford, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD
 The Fischer Family Trust manage the National Pupil Database on behalf of the Department for Education.
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