Marked disparities in early child development (e.g., oral language skills) have opened up even before compulsory schooling begins. These disparities reflect and promote social inequalities and have been shown to persist through childhood into adulthood. The „SEED“-project (Social InEquality and its Effects on Child Development: A Study of Birth Cohorts in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands) has explored the mechanisms underlying these developments by drawing on the data from a range of different countries. The project has addressed differences (especially social inequalities) in child development (specifically oral language skills and socio-emotional development) in order to explore the mechanisms by which this happens.
In particular, SEED has had two principle objectives:

  1. Identifying the mechanisms through which changing social inequalities impact on children’s oral language and socio-emotional development
  2. Identifying the implications that these evolving social disparities have for patterns of performance at school age and beyond – into adolescence and adulthood


The analyses based on the following representative longitudinal studies of these partner countries:

  • The Early Childhood Cohort Study from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS-SC1); Kindergarten Cohort Study from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS-SC2); Kindergarten Cohort Study from the research group “Educational processes, competence development and selection decisions in preschool- and school age” (BiKS-3-13) in Germany
  • The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS); Growing up in Scotland (GuS); The British Cohort study 1970 (BCS70) in the UK
  • The Generation R Study (GenR) in the Netherlands

The project team was made up of senior, mid-, and early-career researchers from the partner countries. In Bamberg, the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) closely cooperates with the Prof. Dr. Sabine Weinert’s team at Bamberg University.


Apart from the main studies from the three partner countries, more analyses has been supplemented by further cooperation with the partners from USA, Canada, and Australia.


As part of SEED, the international project partners have published a number of publications, which can be found on the SEED project page:



Selected contributions with the participation of the German project team:


  • "Parenting Behaviours and Early Child Development in Europe" (Link zu PDF)
    Wei Huang, Nathalie Tamayo, Pauline Jansen, James Law, Hans-Günther Roßbach, Jutta von Maurice, Helen Wareham, Sabine Weinert | Commentary, 2021
  • "The association of maternal education on children’s language skills and its link to social inequality, descriptive analysis from three European cohort studies" (Link zu PDF)
    Helen Wareham, Wei Huang, Lisanne Labuschagne, James Law, Manja Attig, Marie-Christine Franken, Pauline Jansen, Sabine Weinert | Working Paper, 10/2021

Project profile

  • Project term: January 2018 – June 2021
  • Funding: NORFACE Programme Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life Course: Structures and Processes (DIAL)

Lead of the German project team:

  • Dr. Jutta von Maurice & Dr. Manja Attig, Leibniz Institute for Educa<tional Trajectories (LIfBi), Bamberg
  • Prof. Dr. Sabine Weinert & Prof. Dr. Hans-Günther Roßbach, Otto Friedrich University Bamberg

Research Assistant LIfBi:

  • Wei Huang

International project website (Newcastle University)