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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 grant, awarded biennially, is worth up to £5,000. 

The BCF Curriculum Investigation Grant is intended to support research led by schools and colleges’ with a focus on curriculum inquiry and investigation. The grant is worth up to £5,000 for the winner, with £3,500 for two other grants, for a total of £12,000. The amount of grants awarded is dependent on the number and quality of applications received. We would expect the grant work to be carried out in the 2020/21 academic year with the final report being submitted by September 2021.

This prize, awarded biennially, acknowledges the importance of research led by schools and colleges.

The BCF Curriculum Investigation Grant is for applicants who are based within schools and colleges. Applications must make clear how the grant will enable applicants to do the following:

  • Identify an issue impacting on the development of an aspect of the curriculum in their school/college;
  • 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;

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 will be 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

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 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.
  • A possible article for BERA’s magazine Research Intelligence

BERA and BCF will support and opportunities:

  • Complimentary BERA membership 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 and be available for the duration of the project
  • Copy-edit, design, publish and market the public facing final
  • 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
  • Opportunities to attend future BCF events
  • Opportunity to write for the BERA Blog

Before submitting this application form, 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.



Full reports from all three winners

Local language, school and community: curricular innovation towards closing the attainment gap.
Banff Academy, Aberdeenshire
RI article

What is ‘Variation’ in Early Years Mathematics?
Great Torrington Bluecoat C of E Primary School, Devon
RI article 

Exploring task design as an enabler of leading teaching in secondary schools: practical curriculum development through the use of theory
Icknield Community School, Oxfordshire
RI article


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

About the BCF

The British Curriculum Forum aims to bring together all those with an interest in collaborative curriculum, research and development. Through events, awards and grants, the BCF supports communication and collaboration in the study and practical implementation of the curriculum in schools, colleges and wider educational settings. Connecting schools, colleges, universities and others, our work promotes the study of theoretical, innovative and practical aspects of the curriculum, drawing on a rich history, spanning more than 40 years, and continuing the tradition of research and development founded by Laurence Stenhouse.

Click here to find out more about the BCF

First place - 2020/2021

Play at the Heart of Scottish Early Years’ Family Learning

Charlotte Bowes

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)...

Second Place Commendation - 2020/2021

A holistic approach to learning for children who have not been successful in mainstream education: what can we learn from EYFS and Forest School practice?

Gawain Little

Teacher at Locksley School

Gawain Little has worked in education for the past 19 years, as a teacher, member of support staff and maths specialist. He is editor of Education for Tomorrow, a member of the FORUM editorial board and of the Reclaiming Schools steering group,...

Donna Lees

I have had a varied career in education. After gaining my BA(Hons) in Literature and Psychology, I went on to gain my PGCE. During my career, I have taught all years within primary, from reception to year 6. I have worked as a SENCo and spent a...

Mollie Potter

Molly Potter is a part time teacher in a PRU, a trainer in many things relating to PSHE and well-being, and author of best selling books in the same field.

Lucy Whatrup

Having studied a degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex (with a year at the University of Rochester in New York State), I went on to get a teaching qualification (PGCE post-compulsory) in 2003. This followed working with young people...

Ben Simon

I am very much looking forward to starting teaching in a new setting. I have previously taught in mainstream KS2 classes, at a British School in Spain and I have carried out some supply work whilst completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Ecology and...

Second Place Commendation - 2020/2021

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

Joe Smith

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...