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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. Normally, the grant is worth up to £5,000 for the winner, with £3,500 for two other grants, for a total of £12,000. This prize, awarded annually, 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.

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

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

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

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Diane Swift, Mrs

Director Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education at Seabridge Primary School

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

2021/22: Students as the Co-creators of the Sustainability Curriculum: Developing an Introductory Course on Climate Change, Social Justice and Sustainability

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M. Mahruf Chowdhury Shohel, Dr

Research and Development Manager at The Bedford College Group

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

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

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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.

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Claire Ellis, Mrs

Teacher of English at William Hulmes Grammar School

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. Her interests are centred around Curriculum Decolonisation and Critical Language...

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

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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

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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.

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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...

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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?

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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...

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Helen Williams, Dr

Independent Researcher

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...

2018/2019

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Lorna Shires, Mrs

Principal Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University

Lorna Shires is prinicipal lecturer in teacher development at the School of Education, Oxford Brookes University.

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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.

2016/2017

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