Teacher FAQs

1. When do Nuffield Research Placements take place?

2. How do I know if my student is eligible for a Full Bursary?

3. I have students interested in taking part in a placement this Summer. What should I do next?

4. What are you looking for in a reference?

5. How do I support my students?

6. Is each student that applies guaranteed a place on the scheme?

7. How many students can apply from my school/college?

8. Who holds responsibility for students on Nuffield Research Placements in terms of insurance and health and safety?

9. Who arranges student placements?

10. Can I visit my students on their placements?

11. How do I make the most of students that have taken part in the Nuffield Research Placement scheme when they return to school?

12. What is a Gold CREST award?

13. Is the programme open to independent schools?

14. I have some students who want to study medicine. Should they apply?

15. How do I provide a reference for a student through the online system?

 

1. When do Nuffield Research Placements take place?

Nuffield Research Placements are 4 - 6 weeks in length and take place in the Summer break. 

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2. How do I know if my student is eligible for a Full Bursary?

Travel expenses are available for all students. We particularly encourage students from non-privileged backgrounds to apply by offering a bursary payment of £80 per week in addition to travel expenses.  We ask teachers and parents to help us identify students in need of a Full Bursary by completing a separate section of the application form. 

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3. I have students interested in taking part in a placement this Summer. What should I do next?

Firstly, you should contact your local Nuffield Coordinator who will be able to provide you with application forms for your students and some guidance notes about the scheme.

Your students may find it useful to talk to you about the type of project that interests them before completing their application form.

Encourage students to complete an Application Form and then complete the teacher section before submitting the forms to the Nuffield Coordinator.

Each student will need to complete an application form. 

If you have a number of students applying for the scheme, you will only need to provide details about the school/college as well as supporting the students' application on one of the application forms.

You should then submit all of your forms to your local Nuffield Coordinator.

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4. What are you looking for in a reference?

In your reference you should comment on:

  • the student's motivation and enthusiasm for science and for the area of science, technology, engineering and maths in which they have expressed an interest in finding a project 
  • how the student would benefit from a research experience - for example, if they come from a family with no experience of higher education, they may benefit from exposure to a new career route
  • the student's ability to make a contribution to the project and how the project could provide particular benefit to the student’s maturity and career decisions
  • the student's ability to work as part of a team and take instructions
  • the student's ability to work on their own and take responsibility and initiative
  • any other particular skills and attributes that make the student a suitable candidate for a Nuffield Research Placement

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5. How do I support my students?

A strong written application is the most important part of the process. You can help by talking through ideas with your student, and offering them support. Our website has guidance for students on how to write a good application.

If a student is successful, the Coordinator will find them a placement (unless they are from an independent school - see question 12). You can help by passing on any contact you have who might be interested in hosting a student. Finding placements is challenging, so the more open-minded students can be about what they want to do and where they want to go, the more likely we are to be able to find them a suitable placement.

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6. Is each student that applies guaranteed a place on the scheme?

The scheme is competitive, and there are a limited number of placements for each region. Each Nuffield Coordinator has to meet a number of targets to ensure balance across the type of school and project. This means that we cannot guarantee to award a Nuffield Research Placement for every student who applies even if they have set up their own project.

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7. How many students from my school/college can take part in the scheme each Summer?

We do not usually accept any more  than four students from one school or college, in order to spread the awards fairly. However, we can sometimes make exceptions for very large schools or colleges, so talk to your coordinator if you fall into that category. 

Please bear in mind that this is a competitive programme with limited funding, and therefore it may not be possible to award all the applicants from your school a place on the programme.

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8. Who holds responsibility for students on research placements in terms of insurance and health and safety?

The primary responsibility for health and safety rests with the project provider. A separate set of guidance notes is available from your Nuffield Coordinator. However, if you are arranging your own projects you should check that the project provider has a copy of these notes and is aware of their responsibility. You should also check that the insurance scheme of the project provider covers the student while they are on their placement. Your school/college/LEA may require you to vet the host organisation for health and safety purposes.

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9. Who arranges student placements?

If the student attends a maintained state school, your local coordinator will help to match you with a project in a university or industry near you. 

Students from independent schools are asked to use their school and family links to set up their own placements.  Before speaking to your contacts it is important that you speak to your local Nuffield Coordinator. They will advise you about how the scheme is run in your area and the paperwork that needs to be completed by project providers and your students. Even if you do manage to set up a research placement for your students using your own contacts, it is not guaranteed that funding will be provided by the Nuffield Foundation due to the limited number of placements that are offered, so we recommend that independent students do not start arranging their own placements until their application has been confirmed as successful.

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10. Can I visit my students on their placements?

If you are interested in visiting your student on their placement please contact your Nuffield Coordinator.

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11. How do I make the most of students that have taken part in the Nuffield Research Placement scheme when they return to school?

Bear in mind that students may be able to use the knowledge and skills from their placement when they get back into school. They could have evidence to add to a key skills portfolio, they might have results that could feed into their coursework and they will certainly have something interesting to talk about at an interview.

The students will make a presentation, put on a display or contribute to a seminar at the Nuffield Celebration Event. This might be something that they could repeat in school or college.

Your students could: write an article for the school newsletter or local newspaper; talk to other post-16 students; take part of a lesson linked to their project; talk to the school science club; give a presentation to pupils in KS4, KS3 or a local primary school; or give a presentation to parents during a school open evening.

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12. What is a Gold CREST award? 

Your students may choose to work towards a Gold CREST (CREativity in Science and Technology) Award while they are on their Nuffield placements. This is a nationally recognised scheme to reward Science & Technology project work. To achieve a Gold CREST award the student must work on a project for 100 hours at a high level of science. Nuffield projects easily fulfil the criteria and so students are encouraged to submit their work.

See The British Science Association website for further details.

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13. Is the programme open to independent schools?

The programme is open to students from all UK schools and colleges. However, we are particularly keen to encourage students who have no family history of higher education, or who from low income families. The support from our Coordinators is therefore targeted at the maintained sector. Students from independent schools who are accepted onto the programme are expected to find their own placements. However, they should not start looking for their own placement until their application has been confirmed as successful by the coordinator.

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14. I have some students who want to study medicine. Should they apply?

We do not provide any medical placements.  Students are able to work on biomedical projects, but these must be research based rather than clinical.  The programme is designed for students interested in any area of STEM, and will give students an experience of scientific research.  For this reason, it may not be the most relevant experience for those who have decided on medicine as a career.

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15. How do I provide a reference for a student through the online system?

As part of the application process, a student must nominate a teacher referee (they will enter the teacher's name and email address). If a student has nominated you as their referee, you will receive an email with a link which will take you to the reference page for that student. Please note that if you are nominated as a referee for multiple students, you must click on the link in each individual email you receive requesting a reference.

You are not able to register yourself on the online system without following the student's reference request link.

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See also

Find out how to contact your regional coordinator for more information on Nuffield Research Placements

We also have an extensive range of free teaching and learning resources in science and other subjects

Download our student leaflet and promotional poster for display in your school or college