Current Participants

Research Leader in Education Award


The Research Leader in Education Award is a fully-funded, year-long programme of professional development for teachers qualified through the RIS programme. It is designed to encompass two strands: to develop participants’ leadership skills, and their ability to design, run and evaluate Research and Development Projects in schools.

The below framework is for participants completing the award in the 2017/18 academic year, as part of Year Three of the programme for 2015 cohort participants. This framework is subject to final confirmation with external providers.

Context and need

The RLE Award responds to a need for schools to connect with rigorous research and evidence, as well as contribute to a self-improving system. There is a demand for teachers who can draw on evidence, run projects in schools to evaluate the impact of teacher practice in their own contexts, and disseminate best practice. This aligns with the stated aim of Researchers in Schools and The Brilliant Club to promote research. RIS has worked with sector-leading partners to establish this award which will support participants in their career progression and professional development, including developing as leaders of research in school.

The RLE Award has two aims, and one key output:


  1. To develop RIS participants’ ability to use evidence to inform practice.
  2. To develop RIS participants’ leadership skills and equip them to take on increased leadership responsibility in placement schools.


  1. To undertake a Research and Development project designed to improve pupil outcomes or practice. The project should align with school improvement priorities and the research interest of the participant. It will be designed and delivered over the course of the award, alongside training detailed below.

Award overview

Professional development for the award will be provided through two strands: Research and Development, and Leadership.  The provisional outline for the award is set out below.

The Research and Development strand will consist of regular sessions at Summer Training and Development Days throughout the year which will equip participants with the methods, practical skills and support to design and deliver their in-school Research and Development Project. The training will be led by experienced teacher trainers, with extensive experience in supporting research projects in schools, and will also provide an opportunity for participants to network and draw on each other’s experiences.

The Leadership strand will also consist of termly sessions structured on Leadership development which will be drawn from the OLEVI Outstanding Leader in Education Award. Participants will develop a personal action plan designed to help them overcome individual leadership challenges they may experience when leading research projects and engagement with evidence-based practice. Through facilitated sessions with experienced school leaders, participants will gain every opportunity to develop their own leadership skillset, often by reflecting on their experience of running the in-school Research and Development Project.


There will be a written assessment equivalent to 6,000 words which will carry Masters credits.

Accreditation 30 Masters credits awarded by Sheffield Hallam University. Outstanding Leadership in Education Award accredited by OLEVI.

Outcomes and activities

Curriculum Objectives

Indicative Content


Delivery partners

Sheffield Hallam University is a national centre of education, recognised for excellence and innovation in Teaching and Learning. The Institute’s work is informed by broad, cutting-edge research by leading academics and expert practitioners, across many related disciplines. Sheffield Hallam has worked as an ITT provider with Researchers in Schools.

The OLEVI Teaching and Learning syllabus has been developed by teachers for teachers. The ground-breaking programmes that make up the OLEVI Teaching and Learning Syllabus have become a key part of the portfolio of school-to-school support and have made a significant impact on raising the standards of teaching throughout the UK and worldwide.


In-school leadership opportunity

RIS participants are encouraged to work collaboratively with colleagues in their own school and, if appropriate, school network, to undertake their Research and Development Project. We expect that participants will seek support from a senior colleague who can act as a sounding board for their project ideas. Participants will be asked to collect feedback from colleagues on their leadership skills.

Impact on pupils or practice

The Research and Development Projects will focus on a pupil need or area of teaching practice. This can contribute significantly to school improvement.

Career development

Many schools and school networks are actively promoting the use of evidence to improve practice. Participants will be able to demonstrate that they are doing so in a rigorous and collaborative way, which will set them up well for future leadership responsibility. Many RIS participants have a research interest that is linked to education or the teaching of their subject. The RLE Award could offer them relevant professional development to pursue this, while making a difference to their school community.


The RLE Award will create a network of Research Leaders in Education across English schools aligned to the mission of the RIS programme. RIS will continue to provide opportunities for Research Leaders in Education to contribute to training of colleagues in placement schools, development days for newer cohorts, and dissemination of their research.

Next steps

Further information

If you have any context specific questions, please e-mail your Programme Manager who will be able to offer support.