Skip to content


BCF Curriculum Investigation Grant

The BCF Curriculum Investigation Grant is intended to support research led by schools and colleges with a focus on curriculum inquiry and investigation. The theme for the 2024-2025 grant is "Meeting the challenge of Artificial Intelligence for teaching and learning"

The BCF Curriculum Investigation Grant is intended to support research led by schools and colleges’ with a focus on curriculum inquiry and investigation. Normally, the grant is worth up to £5,000 for the winner. This prize, awarded annually, acknowledges the importance of research led by schools and colleges.

In addition to the £5,000 award, the recipient will be able to claim support to attend the BERA annual conference, if they are presenting their research.

The theme for the 2024-2025 grant is

Meeting the challenge of Artificial Intelligence for teaching and learning

The grant supports innovative projects that aim to redefine educational practices, enhance learning experiences, and improve outcomes for learners with a strong focus on AI. We are particularly interested in applications that focus on one of the following sub-themes:

  • AI literacy and accessibility in schools: this focuses on examining the significance and effects of AI literacy in educational settings. It includes assessing how AI literacy can be integrated into existing curricula, identifying obstacles to teaching AI concepts, and formulating strategies to enhance access to AI education.
  •  Leveraging AI for curriculum development: this involves exploring the use and impact of AI in designing curricula that more effectively cater to students’ learning needs. It encompasses the potential of AI in personalising learning experiences, suggesting educational resources and adapting assessments to individual needs. Additionally, it looks at supporting educators in creating content, planning lessons, and devising appropriate assessment methods.
  • Ethics and safety in AI education: this addresses the need to embed ethical and safety considerations into AI education frameworks. It entails examining current curriculum practises in teaching AI ethics and proposing ways to enhance the ethical grounding of AI education.

The BCF Curriculum Investigation Grant is for applicants who are based within schools and colleges.

While it is possible that the applications will include collaborative partnerships with HE institutions we are keen to support schools and colleges led research and therefore ask the primary applicant to be based in a school or college.

Applications are scored out of 5 in each category and weighed against:

  • Potential for impact on school/college curriculum
  • Applicability of research to others in similar educational setting/sector
  • Research quality, including rigour, transparency and validity, and conforms with BERA ethical guidelines
  • (Potential) impact for policy-makers, practitioners and other research users

Applications must also include a detailed budget of how the funds will be spent.

Rigour can be defined as the accuracy and quality of research particularly in relation to the data collection tools, analysis and interpretation of findings. This might include ensuring that data collection tools are appropriate and consistent given the aim and research question/s, that data analysis methods have been used consistently and that conclusions drawn from data are reasonable.

Transparency relates to the need for clear, complete and explicit presentation of the research design, participants, data collected, findings, and of the researcher’s beliefs and role in relation to participants. Transparency enables readers to gain a clear view of the research process and how the findings were reached.

Validity assesses the extent to which the research design and study addresses the issue that the research was intended to explore. In other words, to what extent does the research design measure what it set out to, or reflect the particular phenomena it claims to represent?    

Expected outcomes of the project and of the project team are:

  • An external public-facing final report detailing key findings from the research project and how these findings might be taken forward (maximum 5,000 words). (A template for this report can be found at the bottom of this page)
  • A short post project evaluation detailing proceedings from the project (i.e. events, studies, meetings). The template for these reports can be found at the bottom of this page.
  • An article for the BERA Blog
  • Abstract submission to present the research at a BERA Conference

    BERA and BCF support and opportunities:

  • Complimentary BERA membership will be provided for up to 3 members of the project team working in the school or college. (Colleagues in HE institutions are not eligible for free BERA memberships)
  • A member of BCF steering committee will act as a point of contact and support for the project. There is an expectation that the grant recipient will have regular meetings and updates with the assigned BCF mentor. Dates for these meetings will be outlined in an initial kick-off meeting.
  • BERA will copy-edit, design, publish and market the public facing final report.
  • BERA will lend events assistance for any key events led by the project team. The level of support may vary depending on discussions with the BERA events manager
  • Budgetary support to present at the BERA conference, if a successful abstract is submitted

Before submitting an application, please ensure that applicants are able to meet the requirements on the following eligibility checklist:

  • You must be currently employed/based at a school or college
  • You can demonstrate that the research relates directly to curriculum investigation/inquiry
  • You confirm you have read and will abide by the BERA ethical guidelines
  • Applicants have sought the approval of their head teacher/principal.

Application Details

Application for the award should consist of

  1. A submitted application on the BERA website
  2. A 1200 word proposal detailing how the grant will enable applicants to do the following:
    • Identify an issue impacting on the theme
    • Design, implement and evaluate a response to the issue identified;
    • Disseminate the processes and outcomes of the inquiry/investigation within the school/college;
    • Develop a strategy to sustain curriculum investigation/inquiry within the school/college;
    • Contribute to research and scholarship in the study of the curriculum;
  3. A budget detailing how the funds will be spent.

2022/2023: Towards Curriculum Design Coherence (CDC) in primary geography education for sustainability

Profile picture of Diane Swift
Diane Swift, Dr

Associate Lecturer, Primary Education, The Open University at The Open University

Diane has extensive experience in schools as a teacher, senior leader and an academy councillor. She has worked extensively with teacher-colleagues on a variety of projects in relation to Philosophy for Children, History and Geography. Diane is a...

2022/2023: Nature connectedness through the Arts: Co creating a curriculum to support pupil wellbeing in primary schools

Profile picture of Nasreen Majid
Nasreen Majid, Dr

Lecturer in Education at University College London

Nasreen Majid is a Lecturer in Education and teaches on the MA in Education programme at UCL. She is an Associate Fellow of UCL's Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education (CCCSE).

Profile picture of Lucy Taylor
Lucy Taylor

Teacher & Art Leader at West Lodge Primary School

Lucy Taylor is a teacher and art leader at West Lodge Primary School.

Profile picture of Jim Dees
Jim Dees, Mr

Headteacher at West Lodge Primary School

Jim Dees is the headteacher of West Lodge Primary School.

2022/23: Students as the Co-creators of the Sustainability Curriculum: Developing an Introductory Course on Climate Change, Social Justice and Sustainability

Profile picture of M. Mahruf Chowdhury Shohel
M. Mahruf Chowdhury Shohel, Dr

Group Head of Research, Innovation and Scholarship Engagement at Bedford College

Dr Mahruf Shohel is an academic researcher with special interests in education, childhood studies, international development and social science research methods. He has conducted research on education for sustainable development, learning...

2021/22 'Diversifying our narrative voices' - decolonising our curriculum on three tiers

Profile picture of Susannah Prabhu-Naik
Susannah Prabhu-Naik, Mrs

Professional Tutor, Teacher of English at Longsands College

Susannah Prabhu-Naik is a teacher of English at Longsands Academy.

2021/22 Can a whole school curriculum focus on Celebrating Diversity reduce the volume of racist incidents?

Profile picture of Siân Smith
Siân Smith, Ms

Deputy Headteacher at Llanwern High School

Siân Smith is a Deputy Headteacher at Llanwern High School in Newport, Wales. She began her teaching career in London, but also taught in Auckland before returning to the green green grass of home! She has worked within Welsh Government on...

2021/22 Sounding white, sounding right: interrogating language, race and curriculum in secondary education.

Profile picture of Claire Ellis
Claire Ellis, Mrs

Neurodiversity Support Manager at Ministry of Justice

Claire Ellis started working in education in 2014 in London before moving to Manchester where she spent five years teaching English across KS3, KS4 and KS5. In that role, her interests were centred around Curriculum Decolonisation and Critical...

Ian Cushing, Dr

Senior Lecturer in Critical Applied Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University

Ian Cushing is Senior Lecturer in Critical Applied Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

2020/2021: Play at the Heart of Scottish Early Years’ Family Learning

Profile picture of Charlotte Bowes
Charlotte Bowes, Miss

Teacher at St. Josephs RC Primary School

Charlotte Bowes has been teaching Primary 1 for six years in Edinburgh, leading the implementation of a play-based approach to the curriculum within her school. Whilst teaching, she completed a Masters of Education (Leading Learning and Teaching)...

2020/2021: An empirical evaluation of ‘Big Questions’ as an organisational framework for interdisciplinary social studies in a Scottish high school

Profile picture of Scott Doyle
Scott Doyle

Chartered Teacher at Falkirk High School

Scott Doyle is a teacher of history and social studies at Falkirk High School.

Profile picture of Joe Smith
Joe Smith, Dr

Lecturer in Education at University of Stirling

Dr Joseph Smith is a Lecturer in Education at the University of Stirling. His research interests concern the politics of the history curriculum and teachers’ identities as curriculum makers. He has published in The British Educational Research...

2018/2019: Local language, school and community: curricular innovation towards closing the attainment gap.

Profile picture of Claire Needler
Claire Needler, Ms

PhD Research Student at University of Aberdeen

Claire Needler is an ethnology PhD student in the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen. Her current research area is contemporary use of the Scots language among young people in the north east of Scotland. She is particularly interested...

Profile picture of Jamie Fairbairn
Jamie Fairbairn, Dr

PT Humanities at Banff Academy

Dr Jamie Fairbairn is principal teacher of the Faculty of Humanities at Banff Academy, leading the subject areas of geography, history, modern studies, religious, moral and philosophical studies (RMPS), Scottish studies, Scots language, travel...

2018/2019: What is ‘Variation’ in Early Years Mathematics?

Profile picture of Ruth Trundley
Ruth Trundley, Dr

Primary Maths Adviser at Babcock L D P

Dr Ruth Trundley has developed and led action-research projects, most recently ‘Supporting children to be active and influential participants in maths lesson through the use of pre-teaching and assigning competence’; this project has been...

Profile picture of Helen Williams
Helen Williams, Dr

Independent Researcher at N/A

Dr Helen Williams specialises in the teaching and learning of Early Years and KS1 mathematics. Currently she is running the Early Years work groups for the CODE Maths Hub. She was a member of the team for Brunel University’s research project...


Profile picture of Lorna Shires
Lorna Shires, Dr

Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University

Lorna Shires is senior lecturer in initial teacher education at the School of Education, Oxford Brookes University.

Profile picture of Mat Hunter
Mat Hunter

Headteacher & Governor at Icknield Community College

Mat Hunter has served as both headteacher and governor of Icknield Community College in Watlington, Oxfordshire, since September 2011.


Diversity and Resolving the Digital Skills Crisis
Project Leads: Vladlena Benson and Stylianos Hatzipanagos, University of West London 
Read about the project here