Press Releases

Press release: Neville Butler - 85 and still hard at work

5 July 2005

Neville Butler, director of Bristol’s International Centre for Child Studies (ICCS), celebrated his 85th birthday on 6 July. But far from being retired, he is involved, practically full time, in researching child health in Britain at the Institute of Education’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies, where he is a visiting professor.

Neville Butler, director of Bristol’s International Centre for Child Studies (ICCS), celebrated his 85th birthday on 6 July. But far from being retired, he is involved, practically full time, in researching child health in Britain at the Institute of Education’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies, where he is a visiting professor.

Professor Butler, who started his career as a paediatrician at Great Ormond Street Hospital before becoming Professor of Child Health at the University of Bristol, founded the 1958 and 1970 British birth cohort studies, which have followed two generations of people born in these years from birth to the present time. The studies have painted a detailed picture of how life in Britain has changed over the past 50 years and have been used by policymakers to assess the impact of government policies.

In 1982 he founded the charity ICCS to raise funds to finance research into the health, education and well-being of disadvantaged families. He is currently involved in the Millennium Cohort Study, which will keep track of over 18,000 babies born throughout Britain between September 2000 and December 2001.

Though based in Bristol, he spends a good deal of time in London at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies coding data gathered from the surveys and raising funds to research topics such as dyslexia in children.

“Why should I retire?” says Professor Butler, “There’s work to be done, data to be analysed – and as long as I can, I’ll do it.”

Ends

For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Butler, please contact Jessica Henniker-Major, 020 7612 6861, j.henniker-major@ioe.ac.uk

Notes for editors

The 1958 study, now the National Child Development Study (NCDS), encompassed all the births in a single week in March 1958 and followed up people at ages 7, 11, 16, 23, 33, 42 and 46. The later 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) covered all the births in a week in April 1970 and collected information on its members’ lives at ages 5, 10, 16, 26, 30 and 34. Professor Butler is unique in having been continuously involved in these studies for nearly 50 years.

NCDS, BCS70 and the Millennium Cohort Study are funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and based in the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute of Education, a college of the University of London, specialising in teaching, research and consultancy in education and related areas of social science and professional practice.