Our aim is to improve educational outcomes for young people and equip them for life and work. We fund secondary education research and interventions that help to understand the factors affecting educational opportunity and identify how educational disadvantage can be addressed.
Our work in secondary education (ages 12-16) explores the acquisition of skills and capabilities, such as quantitative and digital skills, analytical thinking, transferable skills and social and emotional development.
We also fund research designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning, and on the factors that affect young people’s decisions at key points in their education, such as pre-16 subject choices.
We want to help address the shortage of teachers through funding research that examines the factors affecting recruitment, retention and professional development.
Educational disadvantage is a theme across all our work – we want to understand the prevalence of different forms of disadvantage faced by children at risk of falling behind in their learning or being locked into trajectories of low achievement.
Our impact in secondary education
The Department for Education has prioritised teacher retention in its Teacher Retention and Recruitment Strategy as a result of our research with NFER on how and why teachers leave the profession and what motivates them to stay. The research includes primary as well as secondary teachers.
Findings from Dr Jake Anders’ research on post-14 pathways have been used by the government in its Facebook advertising aimed at parents. The researchers found that pupils, particularly girls, taking EBacc subjects for GCSE were more likely to stay in education after 16.
Professor Judy Sebba’s research on the educational progress of children in care has led to impact in three key areas: the DfE has expanded its reporting on children in need, Ofsted has modified its inspection process to increase collaboration between education and social care inspectors, and local authorities have updated their practice.