The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has launched a new funding round aimed at supporting projects that improve attainment for disadvantaged children and young people.
Round 15 of the Grants to Improve Teaching in Schools programme was launched in late February, but applicants have until mid summer to bid for a share of the funding for projects that will begin running in spring 2020.
Previous rounds of the programme have been focused on improving outcomes for specific groups of children, including closing the attainment gap in the early years; boosting outcomes for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities; and enhancing the home learning environment.
This latest round will focus on trialling innovative projects that benefit pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, rigorously evaluate their impact and, where successful, scale them up.
How much is available?
There is no minimum and maximum grant. Past EEF grants for this programme have ranged from £90,000 to £1.5m. It uses the maxim of "spending as much as we have to, but not a penny more than we need to" in order to trial "high-potential projects".
The foundation's guidance states that the amount bid for should be commensurate with "the nature and scale of the project and your capacity to ensure its successful delivery".
A detailed breakdown of costs is not required at the initial application stage as, according to EEF, the size and shape of projects often change substantially as bids are worked up alongside the EEF to be considered by its board of trustees. However, it states that it is "helpful" if bids estimate the cost per setting and/or per pupil.
What is and isn't funded?
If at an early stage, some development costs could be covered by the EEF funding to ensure it is ready to be tested to sufficient scale. For bids from more developed projects, funding might cover recruitment of settings, project management and some delivery costs such as training of teachers.
The EEF usually expects part of the delivery cost to be covered by schools as part of the market testing to show there is an appetite for the intervention being trialled.
Capital costs will only be funded when they are "clearly and directly linked" to the attainment-raising nature of the project. Capital-only projects, such as building new classrooms, will not be funded.
What projects are covered?
EEF funding is intended to achieve two key outputs:
- A well-delivered project that has the potential to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils
- A rigorous evaluation of the project, written by an independent team, which usually includes an estimate of its impact on attainment and other outcomes.
A priority for round 15 of the programme includes projects that maintain or improve disadvantaged pupils' outcomes while reducing teacher workload, as this is high on the agenda of schools, teachers and the Department for Education. Examples of this could include approaches to marking or assessment that improves efficiency of the process, and testing models of professional development that influence teacher practice.
Projects must be focused on improving outcomes for children and young people aged three to 18 in school and education settings.
Bids can also be made by councils, charities, academy chains, universities, social enterprises and businesses.
What does economically disadvantaged cover?
The EEF uses eligibility for free school meals as the best available proxy measure for economic disadvantage, although not all projects funded will work exclusively with this group.
For interventions targeted at a whole-school rather than disadvantaged groups specifically, settings should have a much higher than average proportion of children eligible for free school meals and who are underperforming academically.
What are the timescales?
Most EEF trials involve at least six months of preparation - recruiting settings, developing materials, training staff - followed by a year of delivery of the intervention itself and six months for the evaluation reporting process.
Most projects are funded for two to three years, but there is no set minimum or maximum period for the duration of grants.
Initial applications should be made by 5pm on 28 June.
- More from: educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk
- The next deadline for the DM Thomas Foundation central grant programme is 7 May. Around £200,000 is available to be bid for by projects supporting disadvantaged young people in the UK and Ireland. Bids should be working with children and young people with disabilities; who are sick in hospital; or who are life limited and require palliative care. Grants of between £5,000 and £30,000 are available.
- UK charities supporting disadvantaged or disabled children can bid for grants of £500 to £5,000 through the D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust. The trust is particularly interested in supporting projects that focus on the arts, medical welfare and the environment. The next deadline for applications is 18 June, with awards made in July. Trustees consider bids three times a year, with another round of funding due in November.
- Community groups, schools and individuals have until 1 July to apply for a grant to support music projects that offer experiences for people of all ages. The Music for All Fund considers applications three times a year, with the next round of funding aimed at projects to be delivered in the autumn. Community project funding aims to support bids that need a "helping hand" to fulfil their potential and become sustainable.
- The Kellogg's Breakfast Club Grants programme has teamed up with Forever Manchester to award grants of £1,000 to school breakfast clubs. Applications from schools in the UK can be made at any date, with bids being informed within one month. Priority is given to schools with at least 35 per cent of children eligible for the pupil premium.