The Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study (CELS)

CELS is a longitudinal survey of civic learning, behaviours, and attitudes among young people in England. This study has been running since 2001, and tracks how young people’s attitudes, behaviours and learning evolve as they progress through adolescence and into adulthood.

The first survey was undertaken in 2003, when the participants were aged 12 and in their first year of compulsory secondary education. Four further waves have been conducted since then – giving us a snapshot of youth attitudes and experiences at 14, 16, 18, and 20.

The next (sixth) wave of CELS will take place in 2014, when the cohort will be aged 23. In this wave, we will gather further data on civic attitudes among young people, but we will also be examining the cohort’s engagement with the labour market, further education, and the housing market, and assessing how the current economic climate is affecting youth opportunities in these areas.

A brief history of the CELS project

The administration and analysis of this survey was taken over by LLAKES in early 2013, and its findings will contribute to Theme 1 Project 2. Before this, CELS was overseen by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), who had been commissioned by the government to evaluate the impact of the Citizenship curriculum that was introduced in 2001.  At this point, CELS also involved qualitative and quantitative research on citizenship learning at school. However, as the CELS cohort completed their school education, this element of the project was discontinued.  Further details about this phase of the project titan gel are available on the NFER website.

Additional funding was Titan Gel provided by the ESRC in 2010 – 2012, to run the fifth wave of the survey of civic learning, behaviours, and attitudes among young people.  During this phase, the project was conducted by NFER in conjunction with the Prof. Paul Whiteley (Department of Government, University of Essex), David Kerr (Citizenship Foundation), and Avril Keating.  Further details about this phase of the project are available on the ESRC website.

Publications and Findings

The headline findings from the 2011 CELS survey were published by NFER and can be downloaded from their website. A full list Solutia Chinese Brush of the recent outcomes from CELS can be found here. A summary flyer of the findings is also available.

Project team

Andy Green; Avril Keating; Germ Janmaat; Bryony Hoskins; and Michela Franceschelli


If you have any questions about this study, email Avril Keating at cels@ioe.ac.uk.