Press release

Merger creates new force for change in education

Two leading education charities today (9 November 2011) announce their merger, effective immediately. Futurelab Education is to merge with the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

The two charities share complementary objectives and missions with an emphasis on using research to improve the quality of teaching and learning and, as a consequence, the lives and opportunities of young people. The individual brand names will continue as the two organisations collaborate to strengthen schools’ capacity to use research evidence to impact the classroom. Futurelab services and staff will operate as an associated company of NFER, and be based at the NFER office in Slough. The growing number of Futurelab Hub schools will greatly benefit from additional support and resources this merger will provide. NFER’s established track record for reliable and authoritative world-class research and assessment combined with Futurelab’s reputation for creativity and use of technology create a unique force for driving change in education. Coming together, the charities offer unrivalled research capacity that will benefit young people, schools and educationalists in the UK and wider afield.

Sue Rossiter, chief executive of NFER, said: “Within the education sector in the UK and beyond there is an increasing appetite for independent evidence of what works and a thirst for new knowledge to support continual innovation in teaching and learning. We believe that NFER’s reputation as an authoritative independent research-based organisation combined with Futurelab’s creative and innovative approaches will create an exciting and powerful force for change in education and in the classroom.”

Lord Puttnam, chairman of Futurelab Education, said: "For the past ten years Futurelab has been one of the leading innovative and creative forces in education. We have inspired and challenged established practice and engaged young people in learning that might better equip them to face the challenges the 21st century will bring. This merger will allow us to achieve impact at a much greater scale, making the work of Futurelab accessible to many more schools and young people.”

Stephen Breslin, chief executive of Futurelab Education, said: “In addition to creating innovative resources for schools, we have been working hard to create stronger links between educational research and practice. Joining forces with NFER will allow us to extend our Futurelab Hub programme which will build further capacity in our schools to use the research evidence to inform teaching.”

NFER and Futurelab will also be founding partners in an exciting new initiative with NESTA to establish a consortium to advance the use of technology in education through research and practical programmes.

Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of NESTA, said: “As a successful spin-out from NESTA, we are delighted that Futurelab will sustain its creativity and impact through this merger with NFER. Together they will be even better placed to generate the evidence and practical insights that schools need to equip their students for the future. We are delighted to be working with them to establish a consortium of key players in the sector to advance the use of technology within education.”

Ends

For more information contact: Jane Parrack, Marketing Communications Manager at NFER on 01753 637245 / j.parrack@nfer.ac.uk

NOTE TO EDITORS:

About NFER

NFER is the UK’s leading independent education and children’s services research and assessment organisation making a difference for learners of all ages through world-class research. An independent not-for-profit organisation (registered charity number 313392), it provides evidence for a range of organisations from national governments and local authorities to schools, charities and private sector companies to improve education and the life chances of learners in the UK and beyond. NFER’s team of educational research experts is uniquely placed, working with a wide range of partners and associates, to produce authoritative evidence to support change. NFER identifies and tackles the important research questions of the future and uses its expertise to develop new products and services to make it easy for others, such as schools and teachers, to gather and use evidence to help them improve education, children’s services and classroom learning.

Whether providing research evidence for policy makers or to help improve practice in the classroom, NFER is passionate about making sure that learners are the ultimate beneficiaries of all its work. Established in 1946, it employs 150 people at its office in Slough, Swansea and York.www.nfer.ac.uk

About Futurelab

Futurelab is an independent, not-for-profit organisation (registered charity number 1113051), dedicated to driving up standards and transforming teaching and learning, making it more relevant and engaging to 21st century learners through the use of innovative technology and practice. Its world-class range of products and services include educational research, events, school development and resources. The independent authority on enabling technologies in teaching and learning, Futurelab’s cutting-edge research has been influencing policy and practice for over 10 years. Positioned firmly at the forefront of educational innovation, Futurelab proactively seeks gaps in current educational knowledge, to produce impactful research and resources that focus on improving results.

By helping educational institutions make better informed decisions to achieve academic excellence, Futurelab bridges the gap between research and practice, translating advanced knowledge into practical teaching and learning strategies and resources for the classroom and beyond. Embedding the latest educational research into teaching and learning, Futurelab provides a range of professional guidance, from teaching resources and CPD workshops for teachers, to in-depth scenario planning tools for policy makers and large organisations. In addition to its core team, Futurelab employs the services of a growing pool of associates spread across the country to support the School Hub network. www.futurelab.org.uk

About NESTA

NESTA is the UK’s foremost independent expert on how innovation can solve some of the country’s major economic and social challenges. Its work is enabled by an endowment, funded by the National Lottery, and it operates at no cost to the taxpayer. NESTA is a world leader in its field and carries out its work through a blend of experimental programmes, analytical research and investment in earlystage companies. www.nesta.org.uk

Futurelab was set-up in 2001 as part of NESTA, with start-up funding from the Department for Education and Skills. In April 2006 Futurelab spun out of NESTA to become an independent charity.