Frequently Asked Questions for Schools

 

What are schools committing to do if they participate?

MCS Administration Checklist - For Principal or Nominated School Contact

  1. View Middle Childhood Survey (MCS) Administration Resources via the Schools menu.
  2. Arrange and facilitate a meeting with all staff involved in the MCS administration (e.g. Year 6 Teachers, School Psychologist, Stage 3 Coordinator, Wellbeing Leader, and Admin Staff).
  3. Distribute “MCS Administration Checklist – For Teachers” and provide teachers with secure login details for the MCS School Portal (provided to Principal and nominated person(s) in the email: ‘NSW-CDS: School Login Details for the myMCS Portal’).
  4. Support teachers to manage written or verbal opt-outs via the myMCS Portal.
  5. Provide computing facilities for Year 6 classes to complete the survey (during Term 3, 2015).
  6. Ensure appropriate resources are available for students requiring special assistance to complete the MCS (e.g. assistance of their usual support workers, if required), including accessing the audio-version of the MCS.
  7. Administer the online Middle Childhood Survey to all children in Year 6, within your schools nominated two-week time period, from 20 July to 11 September 2015. (For further details see MCS Administration Timeline)

MCS Administration Checklist - For Teachers

Prior to MCS Administration

  1. View the NSW-CDS Information Video
  2. Download the MCS Administration Guide: This will provide a step-by-step guide to assist you in the administration of the survey during class time.
  3. Distribute MCS “Information for Parents/Caregivers” Leaflet (opt-out forms included) to all parents/caregivers of children enrolled in Year 6. To help ensure all parents/caregivers are informed about the study, please distribute the Parent/Caregiver Information Leaflets by email to parents/caregivers and by having students take home a paper copy. This leaflet is available for download here and paper copies will be also posted to your school. An audio version of the leaflet is available and translated versions in the 10 most common languages spoken in NSW, other than English. 
  4. Log into the myMCS Portal to review and update student details (i.e., add or delete student details).
  5. Manage all written or verbal opt-outs via the myMCS Portal, by opting them out in the student records. Managing opt-outs will involve the Year 6 teacher(s) updating the School Administration Files in the school’s “myMCS Portal”. Parents may opt-out their child from the study before or after student survey administration. Teachers are required to keep all opt-out/ withdrawal paper copies until the survey closes on 30 October 2015, at which time all opt-out paper copies must be destroyed.
  6. Test the survey website and become familiar with the steps in the MCS Administration Guide before administering the MCS in class.

Administering the MCS

  1. Follow the steps provided in the MCS Administration Guide.
  2. Manage and provide alternative activities during class-time for those students who do not wish to participate in the MCS.
  3. Provide the usual support for students who may have concerns following survey completion (or in the unlikely event that a student shows signs of distress). “Help sheets” with information for teachers, students, and parents are available here or can be mailed to your school for dissemination as required.

Post MCS Administration

  1. Update student records in the myMCS Portal to indicate any students who were absent during the MCS administration period.
  2. Manage all written or verbal opt-outs via the myMCS Portal. NB. Parents may opt-out their child from the study up until the survey website closes on 30 October 2015.

 


What is the process for running the survey?

  • Principal (or authorised person) to complete the school’s online Agreement to Participate form before 13 July 2015. Ensure the name and contact details of the staff member(s) who will be coordinating the MCS at your school are included on this form. 
  • Download the MCS Administration Guide and view the NSW-CDS Information video, both accessed through the myMCS Portal using the secure login details provided. 
  • Distribute MCS “Information for Parents/Caregivers” Leaflets (opt-out forms included) to all parents/caregivers of children enrolled in Year 6 at your school by email and by having students take home a paper copy. The NSW-CDS team will mail these documents to your school and they are also available for download here.
  • Update student details in the myMCS Portal and manage all written or verbal opt-outs.  Parents may opt-out their child from the study up until the survey website closes on 30 October, 2015.
  • Provide and manage alternative activities during class-time for those students who do not wish to participate in the MCS and ensure appropriate resources are provided for students requiring special assistance to complete the MCS.
  • Administer the online MCS survey to all children in Year 6 classes, within a two-week time period selected by the school, from 20 July to 11 September 2015
  • Schools provide the usual asssistance and support for students who may have concerns following survey completion (or in the unlikely event that a student shows signs of distress). “Help sheets” with information for teachers, students, and parents are available here.

Full details of how to run the survey are available in the MCS Administration Guide.


What happens if a student needs assistance?

The survey questions ask about the student’s thoughts, feelings, actions, and experiences. The survey items have been used previously in population studies of children aged 8-12 years without causing distress. However, for some students, it is possible that distress related to circumstances operating outside of the context of the survey (e.g., existing psychological or other stress) may follow completion of the survey.

If a student indicates to you that they require assistance after completion of the MCS, we encourage you to direct the student to speak to local Chaplains or School Counsellors (according to the established procedures for your school).

For any student who indicates they would prefer to speak about their concerns with someone who doesn’t know them personally, they can be directed to Kids Helpline (1800 551 800), or to the NSW Child Development Study toll-free helpline on 1800 901 922.

For any parent who would like to speak about their concern with someone who doesn’t know them personally, they can be directed to Parentline (on 1300 301 300), to Lifeline (on 13 11 14), or to the NSW Child Development Study free helpline on 1800 901 922.

If you would like more information about the study, please contact the NSW Child Development Study free helpline on 1800 901 922.


How is the MCS completed?

Year 6 students will complete the survey in class using school computers, which takes less than 30 minutes. There is an audio-version of the survey for students who need help with reading. Responses will be recorded anonymously using survey software developed and managed by Multi-Media Concepts. There will be no researchers at schools; instead, teachers will assist students to log into the survey software, but the survey is designed to be self-administered once students have logged in.