Enquire, innovate, explore!

The National Academy for Educational Leadership (the Leadership Academy) is inviting applications for funding of up to £10k as part of a pilot programme to support school leaders in Wales to encourage the effective use of research and enquiry within their organisations.

Enquire, innovate, explore! will support school leaders to:

  • develop research and enquiry-led approaches to addressing identified school development needs; and
  • establish a whole-school culture of enquiry, innovation and exploration

Funded projects will provide leaders with new tools to support participating schools’ development as learning organisations. They will also support leaders to plan for the additional INSET days in 2020, 2021 and 2022 and make effective use of the Leading Professional Learning guidance the Leadership Academy will be publishing in spring 2020.

Projects funded through Enquire, innovate, explore! will provide all professionals in participating schools with new opportunities to develop in the context of the Professional Standards for teaching and leadership and to record and reflect on their professional learning using the Professional Learning Passport.

Who can apply?

We are inviting applications from any maintained school setting in Wales, including Pupil Referral Units.

The lead applicant, who must be in a formal leadership role, will be responsible for overall management of projects, for reporting and monitoring requirements and for producing project outputs. Lead applicants must have the necessary authority to deliver the project before applying.

All professionals within participating schools will be eligible to participate in projects, subject to funding.

What kind of activity will be funded?

Successful applications will describe a very clear project idea and demonstrate how it will support school leaders to:

  • develop a research and enquiry-led approach to addressing one or more school development needs; and
  • establish a whole-school culture of enquiry, innovation and exploration that extends beyond the lifespan of the funded project

We are open to any research and enquiry-led project that can demonstrate how it can contribute in these ways.

Applicants to Enquire, innovate, explore! may wish to apply for funding to support projects that explore the impact of innovative approaches to teaching and learning on pupils, particularly in the context of the new curriculum. Others may propose projects that support staff to engage with cutting-edge international research as part of their professional learning. Others could trial innovative ways of addressing specific additional learning needs, or forms of challenging behaviour, or attendance patterns, and so on, through carefully evaluated interventions. But these examples are for illustration only – we are encouraging applicants to think creatively!

The Leadership Academy does not expect to see sophisticated approaches to research design in applications and no previous experience of using research and enquiry will be necessary. Successful applicants will be supported to engage with professional researchers to ensure the design of the project is robust and fit for purpose, that the evidence-gathering and data collection aspects are effectively and ethically managed and that analysis of evidence and data produces reliable and useful findings.

What does the funding cover?

Up to £10k per project is available to successful applicants to support staff replacement costs, attendance at conferences and other relevant external meetings, professional researcher supervision and, where appropriate, some direct costs, such as additional and/or specialist equipment, room hire, transcription services etc.

Professional researcher supervision is a non-negotiable part of project funding and the Leadership Academy will support participating schools to engage with universities and/or private research consultancies to access suitable advice and expertise.

The Leadership Academy will work with our partners to provide opportunities for project findings and outputs to be disseminated locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, but applicants are encouraged to consider their plans for dissemination and identify resource needs at the application stage.

What is the deadline?

Applications should be submitted as an attachment to an email to post@agaa.cymru before 5pm on Thursday 28th November 2019.

Decisions on funding will be made in early December 2019 and successful applicants will be required to sign a grant agreement with the Leadership Academy no later than 15th December  2019.

A project inception meeting with the Leadership Academy will take place in January 2020.

How long will projects run?

The planning and design of the project will begin in spring term 2020. Evidence gathering and analysis phases must have been concluded by 31st January 2021, with project outputs complete by 31st March 2021.