UP to one million pupils are to tell Government statisticians about their habits and hobbies as part of the first-ever children's census.
This snapshot of the school population will include questions about mobile phones and pet ownership, favourite school subjects and football teams.
Responses to questions on children's access to computers and the Internet will also be collected to give an indication of the level of technology awareness in schools.
Seven to 16-year-olds who choose to participate must answer a short, anonymous Internet questionnaire on, or as near as possible to, October 29.
The data will give a snapshot of the school population, just as the national census, which will be held six months lter, will create a general view of the country.
The children's responses will form part of a national database for teachers and pupils to use in lessons.
The project aims to raise awareness of the UK National Census to be held in April 2001, improve pupils' data-handling ability within all relevant subjects and involve children in collecting data about themselves and their contemporaries.
More than 700 schools have already signed up but organisers hope that around 2,000 will eventually take part.
The project is managed by the Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education based at Nottingham Trent University.
Teachers can sign up for the project at www.CensusAtSchool.ntu.ac.uk