Pupil Premium Awards 2015: Schools Minister announces new £800,000 Research Schools initiative

The winners of the 2015 Pupil Premium awards were announced today at a ceremony in London. The judging panel for the primary awards was chaired by Dr Kevan Collins, the Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

At the event the Schools Minister, David Laws, also announced new funding of up to £800,000 for the Research Schools programme. The funding will be used to develop a group of high-performing schools that can bridge the gap between research and teaching practice, and help raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils in their regions. The EEF will jointly fund the pilot initiative with the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).

Commenting on the Research Schools programme, Dr Kevan Collins, said:

“As a judge for this year’s Pupil Premium Awards, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some great schools across the country and see first-hand how they are using their pupil premium funding in innovative and effective ways. One factor that was common to the most successful schools we visited was an engagement with research and a desire to use evidence to inform teaching practice.

“We’re delighted to be part of the Research Schools initiative. The winners of this year’s Pupil Premium Awards show that using evidence effectively helps narrow the attainment gap between the richest and poorest pupils. Understanding how to embed evidence is challenging, but the potential rewards of doing so are huge. This pilot programme is about ensuring that the key messages from research get to the places where they can make a difference, in a form that helps teachers every day.

“The network of schools will also influence educational research across the country, including research funded by the EEF. It’s essential to ensure that new studies are based on the top priorities of schools. As well as supporting other schools to adopt evidence-informed approaches in their contexts, research schools will act as a crucial link between schools and the academic community.”

Notes to editors

1. The Education Endowment Foundation is a charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust, with a Department for Education grant of £125m. It is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £53 million to 94 projects working with over 600,000 pupils in over 4,800 schools across England.

2. The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) is an executive agency of the Department for Education. It works to improve the quality of the education and early years workforce and to help schools help each other improve. NCTL works with schools to develop an education system supported locally by partnerships and led by the best headteachers. NCTL is responsible for developing the national network of teaching schools, and supporting teaching schools with their alliances and partnerships.

3. The Research Schools programme will provide funding of £60,000-£80,000 for up to 10 successful schools in three regions during 2015-16, with funding expected to be available for the full academic year 2015-16. Support for each research school in developing their approach will be available directly from the NCTL and the EEF.

4. Details of how schools can apply for funding are available at https://www.gov.uk/education-endowment-foundation-eef-research-schools-funding. The closing date for applications is 1700 on Friday 15 May 2015.