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FAQs about the trial

Here you'll find the answers to many of the questions you may have about getting involved in the trial. For ease of reference you may want to download this school information sheet.

If you don't see your question answered below, do get in touch.

An overview for schools is available to download. 

Click here to download it

Privacy notice's for the trial can be read here.

Privacy notice for schools and Children's Universities:

Privacy notice for parents: 

To speak to Children’s University about participating or find out more about what could be involved, email

All schools that take part in this trial will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with their local Children's University. You can view an example MOU here.

Schools in the intervention group will be expected to pay £300 as a contribution to the cost of Children’s University for students. This is a one-time payment which will cover two year’s participation in the programme. The school will receive Children’s University Passports for volunteer participants as well as use of ‘Children’s University Online’. All children will be eligible to participate in a graduation ceremony each year and the local Children’s University will be working to validate local relevant activities for students. The actual cost of the programme and associated costs is higher than the £300 - everything else being subsidised by the Education Endowment Foundation.

Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) are a type of research design used to test the impact of an intervention or a programme. Subjects are randomly allocated between intervention and control groups, meaning that the impact is measured on those receiving the intervention and those that don’t – the control group.

In this trial, the subjects are schools and are allocated to the intervention group and control group at random, to ensure that, as far as possible, there are no systematic differences between the two groups for factors that may affect pupil outcomes. This design enables us to better determine cause and effect relationships between the programme and pupil outcomes. It is essential that schools adhere to their roles, assigned through the random allocation, and participate in all evaluation activities, in order to maintain the comparability of the two groups throughout the evaluation.

For this trial, schools will be randomised based on the geography and the local Children’s University they’re working with. If you’re one of 20 schools in Peterborough, for example, there will be 10 schools who are allocated to the control group and 10 to the intervention group. No other school profile/characteristic will influence this process. Randomisation will be done purely at random using a computer programme code. At the end of the evaluation, EEF will publish the report which will include the code used to randomly allocate schools.

Randomisation will be done purely based on a local-level, ensuring 50% of schools in any one area are in each group – control or intervention. No other factors will be considered. For a randomised controlled trial to give the fairest results and the most accurate representation of the impact of the intervention, it needs to be completely fairly and truly random. No other school profile or characteristics will influence this process and randomisation will be done purely at random using a computer programme.

Yes. Each school that takes part will need to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that nominates a member of staff to coordinate Children’s University in their school. You can read more about the expectations and time commitments of schools in an example MOU here.

No – in order to effectively measure the impact of Children’s University we will be enrolling new schools only. Schools that have been part of Children’s University in the past three years are not eligible to take part.

NFER will collect student data and student surveys from both the intervention and the control groups in order to compare results at Key Stage 2, i.e. at the end of the trial. The randomisation ensures that the only difference between the two groups of schools is- one group accessed Children’s University and the other did not. This means, the control group provides vital information about the comparison, i.e. the pupil outcomes in the absence of Children’s University. This is a key criteria to the success of the evaluation.