Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, visits researchers at UCL

She met with researchers from the IOE and Faculty of Brain Sciences to discuss their ‘landmark early years study’

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, has shown her support for the “landmark” birth cohort study “Children of the 2020s” by visiting UCL to discuss plans with early years researchers.

She met with members of the study, which is “hosted by UCL’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies and funded by the Department of Education”, and aims to follow 8000 families, tracking children “from the age of nine months to five years”.

After 10 years of work by the Duchess, and her formal launch of The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood at UCL earlier this year, the visit shows her commitment to “greater in-depth research in this vital area”.

Speaking about the study, the Duchess of Cambridge said: “The landmark “Children of the 2020s” study will illustrate the importance of the first five years and provide insights into the most critical aspects of early childhood, as well as the factors which support or hinder positive lifelong outcomes.

“Knowing more about what impacts this critical time is fundamental to understanding what we as a society can do to improve our future health and happiness.

“I’m delighted to be meeting all those behind the study at this early stage.”

Researchers from UCL’s Institute of Education and Faculty of Brain Sciences will be examining children’s “family circumstances and experiences as they grow up, as well as the role of formal and informal childcare and preschool education in their learning and development”.

The study has already been granted five years of funding to “enable the researchers to answer important scientific and policy questions regarding the determinants of early school success”. The researchers also aim to follow participants “for many further years to come”.

Professor Pasco Fearon, who belongs to the Anna Freud Centre and is leading the study, said: “We are extremely excited to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cambridge to UCL to talk and hear more about our Children of the 2020s study today and as it develops over the coming years.

“We share with Her Royal Highness a commitment to improving children’s development and life chances through high quality research and good early years policy.”

Professor Alissa Goodman, who directs the Centre for Longitudinal Studies and is also working on the study, said: “Some of the most important sources of evidence we have on the early years are the UK’s unique collection of birth cohort studies.

“We’re delighted HRH, The Duchess of Cambridge, will be able to follow the Children of the 2020s study from its infancy. It is the latest in a proud tradition of cohort studies.”

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