Practitioner Research programme

If you are interested in applying for the Practitioner Research Programme (PRP) then now is the time to start to take this forward. We are currently taking expressions of interest for the PRP 2019-20 with the formal application process opening on Monday 1 July at the ETF Annual Research Conference. To register your interest please email Daniel Gregson with your name, role and name of your employer. We will get back to you as soon as the formal process opens.

Join us at the ETF Annual Research Conference in London on Monday 1 July to find out:

  • what it means to be part of a vibrant network of practitioner researchers from across the country
  • more about the ways in which practitioners just like you are improving teaching, learning and assessment through practice focused research
  • more about the Practitioner Research Programme and how you can apply
  • how you can extend your professional networks.

Find out more and book your place at the conference.


ETF MPhil and MA short course research programme

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 by conducting research into your own practice? Do you want to develop your research skills or deepen your understanding of the relationship between educational research, theory and practice? Do you want to become a part of a growing community of research active practitioners bringing about change and improvement across the sector? If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, then the ETF Practitioner Research Programme could be for you!

We are committed to seeking opportunities to give sector 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.

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 £500 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.