This study confirmed the feasibility of collecting information about student living arrangements using a survey of secondary school students and teachers. However this paper has outlined a range of issues in regards to the methodology used in conducting the study that would require significant improvements before a national survey could be implemented. Given the extremely low response rate using an active consent model, the consent model used for a national survey would need to be considered. In addition, the significant issue of student absenteeism would need to be addressed and an appropriate follow-up process for absent students developed to ensure coverage of students who could potentially be experiencing difficult living arrangements.
Given the lack of alignment between the teacher and student reporting, the value of collecting information about the living arrangements of school students from a teacher form in addition to the student form should also be considered. Lastly, further development and testing of the survey instruments would be required to reduce reporting error associated with question design.
Any future work to develop a nationally representative survey of school students living arrangements would also be dependent on resources being made available to undertake work on any such collection.