The Data

The Kids’ Environment and Health cohort will contain de-identified data from schools, hospitals and community pharmacies, on health and education histories for all children born in England from 2006 onwards – around 11 million children. This data will be linked to information about their mothers’ health during pregnancy as well as data on local environments in and around children’s homes and schools.

The Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort will be used by researchers to answer important questions regarding how the local environment in and around children’s homes and schools affect their health and education as they grow up.

What data will be used to develop the database? 

The project involves linking the following datasets:

  • ONS birth and death registration data
  • Census 2011 and 2021 data: children born within two years of each Census
  • Hospital Episode Statistics: contains data on hospital contacts
  • Maternity Services Data: holds data on maternal health during pregnancy
  • Mental Health Dataset: holds information on referrals to mental health services
  • Community Dispensing Data: information on dispensed medicines, including for asthma
  • National Pupil Database: which holds data on all children in state school, including special educational needs provision and exam results
  • Personal Demographic Service (NHS address records) and Getting Information About Schools Data (school addresses). These will be used by the ONS to link data on the local environment to children’s data.

A number of environmental datasets about small areas across England, on air pollution, energy efficiency of buildings, and proximity to major roads, will be linked to the de-identified health and education data.

The data will be linked subject to approvals from a number of committees, including the Confidentiality Advisory Group and an NHS Research Ethics Committee and agreements with each of the data providers: ONS, NHS England and the Department for Education.


Potential of the newly linked data

The newly linked data resource will open opportunities for research that can inform government departments and local councils, as well as the public at large, about how changing local environments impact children’s health and education. It will also enable new insights into how well housing, environmental and planning policies are working to improve children’s lives.

In order to demonstrate how the Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort can be used, the team will carry out a research project to examine:

  1. links between local greenspace coverage and access and mental health in young people.
  2. links between the availability and quality of local childcare provision and primary education attainment.


Key questions these newly linked datasets can address include:

  1. Do children with better access to public parks or other greenspaces have better outcomes in school?
  2. Are children with asthma who grow up in highly insulated but less ventilated homes at risk of developing worse asthma symptoms?
  3. Is exposure to extreme heat or heatwaves during pregnancy linked to babies being born prematurely?
  4. Is going to school near gambling outlets linked to worse mental health in young people?
  5. For children with complex chronic conditions such as autism, epilepsy or cystic fibrosis, does living or going to school near traffic-heavy roads increase the risk of being admitted to hospital?


Can people be identified from our dataset? 

Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort cannot be used to identify individuals. However, it can tell us about groups or characteristics of children who might benefit from modification or adaptations to their physical or social environments.

personal data security

How is the Kid’s Environment and Health Cohort kept safe? 

The Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort will be held in the will be held by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in a Trusted Research Environment. You can read about Trusted Research Environments here:  

All of the researchers accessing the Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort via the ONS will have been accredited and trained on how to handle data safely and ethically. Researchers will only be allowed to use the Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort to answer questions that will benefit the public which were agreed at the beginning of the project.