IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


VIRTUAL EVENT: Data, science and policy: 50 years of the 1970 British Cohort Study

09 November 2020, 1:00 pm–2:15 pm

Boys in the street. Image: David Rostance via Flickr

This online panel debate celebrates 50 years of the 1970 British Cohort Study and its huge impact on policy and society in the UK.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Richard Steele, Centre for Longitudinal Studies

The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) is a birth cohort study that has been following the lives of around 17,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week of 1970.

But how has it contributed to data, policy and society on issues as diverse as the gender pay gap, early years education provision and the benefits of reading for pleasure?

What role can it now play as policymakers look for solutions to societal problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We are joined by the authors of some of the most influential research to have come from the study, as well current policy shapers and experts.


  • Introduction by Alice Sullivan, Professor of Sociology and Head of Research for the Social Research Institute. Alice is author of influential BCS70 research on inequalities in education and society.
  • Chaired by Dr Lee Elliot Major, OBE, Professor of Social Mobility, University of Exeter.


  • Professor John Bynner, former BCS70 director, who conducted the literacy and numeracy research that informed the Skills for Life initiative (2001-2011)
  • Jenny Dibden, Head of the Government Social Research Service and Co-Director Cities and Local Growth Unit
  • Professor Leon Feinstein, University of Oxford, author of one of the most well-known BCS70 studies, which influenced New Labour policy on early years education provision
  • Dr Praveetha Patalay, Associate Professor, UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies and author of BCS70 research looking at mental health and health-related behaviours.


Image: David Rostance via Flickr