For several years, the ETF delivered the Practitioner Research Programme in partnership with SUNCETT at the University of Sunderland. The programme started in 2018 and will conclude with its final MPhil year 2 cohort in 2023. Practitioners were offered the 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, participants were guided to refine and develop their research idea. Participants engaged in the programme came from a wide background, including practitioners with previous experience of research and those with none.
The programme offered two pathways, a one-year MA Short Course and two year MPhil programme and was open to practitioners employed in the Further Education and Training sector. Across four years of delivery over 190 participants took part in the programme, investigating a wide range of topics that impacted their students including investigating topics as diverse as well-being and mental health and barriers to achievement in GCSE re-sits.
In 2021, the ETF commissioned SQW to undertake a process and impact evaluation of its practitioner research programmes, including the PRP which is delivered on the ETF’s behalf by the University of Sunderland Centre for Excellence in Teaching Training (SUNCETT). The aim of the evaluation was to assess impact on participants’ professional practice, provider performance and learner outcomes, compare the effectiveness of activity delivered through the programmes, recommend improvements to strengthen programme quality and maximise impact, and finally, inform the ETF’s future investment and design decisions.
A summary of the main findings is presented at the beginning of the report.