Primary, pre-primary and secondary - Education
1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) - Major studies
Childbearing, family planning and abortion - Health
Child development and child rearing - Social stratification and groupings
The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) began in 1970 when data were collected about the births and families of babies born in the United Kingdom in one particular week in 1970. The first wave, called the British Births Survey, was carried out by the National Birthday Trust Fund in association with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Its aims were to examine the social and biological characteristics of the mother in relation to neonatal morbidity, and to compare the results with those of the National Child Development Study (NCDS), which commenced in 1958 (held separately at the UK Data Archive under GN 33004). Participants from Northern Ireland, who had been included in the birth survey, were dropped from the study in all subsequent sweeps, which only included respondents from Great Britain.
Since BCS70 began, there have been seven full data collection exercises in order to monitor the cohort members' health, education, social and economic circumstances. These took place when respondents were aged 5, in 1975 (held under SN 2699), aged 10, in 1980 (SN 3723), aged 16, in 1986 (SN 3535), aged 26, in 1996 (SN 3833), aged 30, 1999-2000 (SN 5558), and aged 34, in 2004-2005 (SN 5585). The first two sweeps (at 5 and 10 years) were carried out by the Department of Child Health at Bristol University. During these times, the survey was known as the Child Health and Education Study (CHES). The 16-year survey was carried out by the International Centre for Child Studies and named Youthscan. The Social Statistics Research Unit (SSRU) became involved with the BCS70 study at this time, and eventually changed its name to the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), based at the Institute of Education, University of London. With each successive attempt, the scope of BCS70 has broadened from a strictly medical focus at birth, to encompass physical and educational development at the age of 5, physical, educational and social development at the ages of 10 and 16, and physical, educational, social and economic development at 26 years and beyond. Further information about the BCS70 and may be found on the Centre for Longitudinal Studies website. As well as BCS70, the CLS now also conducts the NCDS series.
A separate dataset covering response to BCS70 over all seven waves is available under SN 5641, 1970 British Cohort Study Response Dataset, 1970-2005. Users are advised to order this study alongside the other waves of BCS70.
Subsample, supplementary and related studies
A range of sub-sample and supplementary surveys have also been conducted, such as the Ten-year Follow-up Special Needs Survey (held under SN 7064) and a supplementary survey of head teachers (held under SN 5225) at the time of the 16-year follow-up in 1986. A related study, Coding of Text Data from BCS70 at 10 and 16 Years: Health Care Utilisation of School Aged Children, 1970-1986, is also held under SN 4126. The aim of this project was to code text variables from BCS70 files, selected from the ten- and 16-year follow-ups to provide information about health care utilisation by the target age group.
|The 1970 British Cohort Study: Sixteen Year Follow-up, Arithmetic Test, 1986 includes data derived from an arithmetic test administrated in 1986, when cohort members were 16 years old. The test used was known as the APU Arithmetic Test and consisted of 60 questions. The test was included in the Student Test Book and cohort members recorded their answers on a machine-readable Student Score Form. Thirty minutes were allowed for completion of the test.
The data consist of the responses for each of the 60 test items for some 3,677 cases, plus an additional 60 derived variables interpreting the answers into 'wrong' or 'right', together with 4 additional variables giving details of:
- total score (number of correct items out of 60)
- total number of incorrect items
- total number of items attempted
- percentage score (i.e. total score * 100/60)
Publications based on BCS70 may be found on the Centre for Longitudinal Studies website.
Chamberlain, G., et al. (1975) British births 1970, London: Heinemann.
Crawley, H.F. (1993) 'The energy, nutrient and food intakes of teenagers 16-17 years in Britain: 1. energy, macronutrients and non-starch polysaccharides', British Journal of Nutrition, 70, pp. 15-26.
Crawley, H.F. (1993) 'The role of breakfast cereals in the diets of 16-17 year-old teenagers in Britain', Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 6, pp. 39-50.
Furlong, A. (1993) Schooling for jobs: changes in the career preparation of British secondary school children, Aldershot: Avebury.
Lewis, S., et al. (1995) 'Prospective study of risk factors for early and persistent wheezing in childhood', European Respiratory Journal, 8, pp.349-356.
Goodman, A. and Butler N. R. (1996) The 1970 British Cohort Study: the Sixteen-year Follow-up - a guide to the BCS70 16-year data available at the Economic and Social Research Council Data Archive, London: Social Statistics Research Unit, City University.
Butler, N., Despotidou, S., and Shepherd, P. (1997) 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) Ten-year Follow-up (formerly known as the Child Health and Education Study, CHES): a guide to the BCS 10-year data available at the Economic and Social Research Council Data Archive, London: Social Statistics Research Unit, City University.
Bynner, J., Ferri, E. and Shepherd, P. (1997) Twenty-something in the 1990s: getting on, getting by, getting nowhere, Aldershot: Ashgate.
Kallis, C. (2004) CLS Cohort Studies Data Note 4: BCS70 partnership histories, Centre for Multilevel Modelling, Bedford Group for Lifecourse and Statistical Studies, Institute of Education, University of London.
Steele, F., et al. (2005) 'The relationship between childbearing and transitions from marriage and cohabitation in Britain', Demography, 42.
Steele, F., et al. (2005) 'Changes in the relationship between the outcomes of cohabiting partnerships and fertility among young British women: evidence from the 1958 and 1970 Birth Cohort Studies', paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, Philadelphia, 2005.