Practitioner Research programme

ETF MPhil and MA short course research programme – applications now open

Do you have a good research idea but need some support and some thinking time to make it happen? Do you want to develop your teaching skills or understand education practice better? Do you want to be a part of the future of teaching in your sector?

We are committed to seeking opportunities to give practitioners the time and space to reflect, experiment, apply, and generate their own research evidence in order to improve their and their colleagues’ practice and ultimately outcomes for learners.

For several years, the ETF has delivered a Practitioner Research Programme in partnership with SUNCETT at the University of Sunderland. The programme offers you time and space, as well as expert research training and support from a renowned team of FE specialists. Over a period of residential development workshops (paid for by the ETF) you will be guided to refine and develop your research idea.  If you have no previous experience of research but are willing to work towards a successful outcome, this programme is as much for you as it is for teachers with previous experience of research. We are particularly interested to support practitioners who have been part of wider ETF practitioner research projects such as our OTLA and Professional Exchange activities.

New – The MA Short Course and MPhil

There are two opportunities available to apply for (both programmes will accept applications from any region of England, any type of provider and any type of practitioner role, including those who lead curriculum development and delivery). The only criteria are that you must be employed in the education and skills sector (usually delivering education funded by the ESFA, and not in a School, Sixth form or University) and your work should normally include delivery at Levels 2 or 3. For guidance on eligibility please contact the application team at SUNCETT.

  1. The new ETF MPhil programme. Based on the hugely successful Research Development Fellowship (RDF) Programme which has been offered since 2009. This programme offers the same first year experience as its forerunner the RDF. In addition, participants now have the option to continue for a second year and gain a full MPhil research degree through the University of Sunderland. The second year is open to applicants who have undertaken the RDF in the past five years, subject to discussion with the Sunderland team. The ETF is supporting all costs on the programme as in previous years including bursary support (see below), with the exception of expecting a contribution to enrolment and graduation fees for the second year, currently charged at the subsidised rate of £400 in total.
  2. The MA Short course is intended for practitioners who would like the opportunity to initially develop their research ideas. This programme, also delivered in partnership with SUNCETT, allows practitioners the opportunity to explore research into teaching practice on a slightly smaller scale, and also attracts bursary support.

The research programmes attract an ETF bursary payable to your employer (amount to be confirmed, in 2017/18 these were £1,500 for practitioners on the MPhil Programme and £1000 for practitioners on the MA Short Course.) ETF Bursaries are intended to help employers contribute to the costs of providing remission time to engage in research; travel costs to and from residential Research Development Workshops, the costs of attending the ETF Annual Research Conference, costs of any overnight accommodation necessary to attend the ETF Conference etc).

We are keen to support development across all parts of the FE and Skills sector and will consider any research theme contained in applications, as long as the educational problem or issue has clearly been identified by the applicant(s) as being an area of educational practice in need of improvement and that this is reflected in their organisation’s improvement plan.  The ETF has however identified some priority areas for which it would particularly welcome applications:

      1. Developing learners’ maths and English abilities, or supporting the improvement of teaching, learning and assessment in these subjects
      2. Promotion and support for addressing the gender imbalance in the teaching of and uptake and engagement in STEM subjects.
      3. Working with employers and other partners in the context of Apprenticeships or preparation for T Levels
      4. Embedding equality and celebrating diversity in education and training
      5. Developing effective teaching methods; such as active learning, collaborative learning, joint curriculum planning, assessment theory and practice, curriculum design, development,  implementation and evaluation
      6. Using and evaluating new technologies and online learning and digital technologies

It is also an expectation of the programme that senior leadership backing from your employer is secured, and it is preferred that the research work being undertaken is related to development priorities for your organisation as demonstrated (for example) in quality improvement planning documentation or self-assessment reporting.

Apply for the 2018-19 programme

To apply for the ETF MPhil and MA Short Course research programme please download the application form, complete and return it to daniel.gregson@sunderland.ac.uk.  The closing date for applications is 5pm on Monday 17 September. The application team at SUNCETT will be in touch and guide you through the process once you have submitted your initial application.

If you have any queries please contact Daniel Gregson.