New parent and pupil panel to aid Covid-19 policymaking

The government is setting up a new online panel of 5,000 pupils and parents who will complete fortnightly surveys to inform coronavirus policymaking.

The Department for Education is looking for a contractor to set up the “parent and pupil panel” to “help monitor the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on children and young people”.

The panel will consist of around 2,500 primary school parents and 2,500 secondary school pupils and their parents.

The department wants the first survey to go out in August, with the possibility for “appropriate incentives” to “boost response rates”. Surveys will be run once or twice a month until mid-January.

Ares of interest include the types of learning activities children are engaging with outside of school, support for vulnerable children; the effect of the pandemic on future education plans and parents’ awareness of communications around school opening.

The DfE is inviting expression of interests from companies to recruit and run the panel.

The tender document states the panel will be selected using a “stratified random probability sample” of pupils from the national pupil database (NPD).

However, as the NPD doesn’t include emails or phone numbers, recruitment to the panel would have to be achieved via post.

An initial letter would be sent to selected pupils and parents inviting them to take part in a 12 to 15-minute online survey, with those respondents then asked if they’d like to join the panel, with the option for telephone interviews.

The document adds: “Given the fast-moving nature of the current situation, the contractor will need to work flexibly and at pace.”