School Choices: EEF funding round 2 (closed)

The second round of School Choices funding is now open for applications. The deadline for applications is Friday 14th February 2020 at 5pm.

Detailed information about this funding can be found in the application guidance notes.

What is the purpose of this funding?

There are important practices and approaches which are difficult to evaluate using programme evaluations. School leaders make many decisions about their provision without input from an externally-delivered, testable intervention. For example, schools might themselves decide to set by prior attainment but no widespread, testable “setting intervention” exists. Moreover, schools are often resistant to making some decisions, like whether they use setting, in response to random allocation to an experimental group. These decisions often relate to whole-school decisions and policies.

The School Choices fund supports studies that look at how the different choices schools make lead to different outcomes. These studies examine the natural variation in the school system and use quasi-experimental designs to estimate the impact of different approaches. They will be funded when research questions are relevant to schools and experimental impact evaluations are not feasible. Previous EEF studies of this type include:

The findings from these studies will inform the EEF’s messages to schools and policy makers, and the design of testable interventions in the future. In this funding stream, we seek proposals from research teams who can conduct the studies themselves. Applicants seeking funding to scale up a programme or intervention so that it can be independently evaluated should apply to the EEF’s next general funding round, opening in Spring 2020. More information about this general funding round, including detailed application guidance, will be provided when it opens. 

Funding priorities

Below are nine strategic priorities that are particularly interesting to the EEF. These were developed through consultation with the EEF’s network of Research Schools.

We are also open to applications focused on questions not on this list. All applicants should demonstrate that their research question is salient to teachers and addresses a gap in the evidence base.

Early years

1. What is the impact of different training routes/qualifications in the early years?


2. How does the length of the school day or breaktimes relate to pupils’ attainment, motivation and wellbeing?

3. How does the total amount of teaching time in different subjects affect outcomes?

Teacher retention and quality

4. How does the amount of time and money spent on CPD relate to outcomes?

5. What is the impact of different schools’ approaches to teacher retention?

6. How does the level of teachers’ subject-specific qualification relate to pupil outcomes?

7. What is the impact of subject specialist teaching in key stage 2, where teachers with subject expertise take responsibility for that subject?

8. Does the amount of time that senior teachers spend teaching compared to the time spent on non-teaching roles have an impact on pupil outcomes?


9. What is the impact of different whole-school approaches to behaviour?

How to apply

To apply, please register via the EEF grants portal and complete the online form. Guidance on completing the form can be found in the application guidance notes.

For more information, consult the application guidance notes or get in touch via

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The deadline for initial applications is 5pm on the 14th February 2020. Shortlisted applications will be invited to present their proposal to the EEF Grants Committee. Applicants will then work with the EEF and a project Steering Group to finalise a full proposal. The EEF Grants Committee will give projects final approval in September 2020.


Deadline for applications 14th February 2020, 5pm
The EEF will review applications and recommend a shortlist to the EEF Grants Committee February – April 2020
EEF Grants Committee will interview shortlisted applicants. At this stage the Grants Committee will grant initial approval. The EEF will tell applicants that they have been unsuccessful at this point. Late April 2020
The applicant will create a full project proposal. May – September 2020
Final Grants Committee decision September 2020