Apply for the Research Mark

Register your interest in the NFER Research Mark by completing the simple form below. We will then send you an email containing your welcome pack with guidance on how to complete your online application.




The Research Mark application process
Once you have read your welcome email and confirmed you wish to apply for the Research Mark, we will send you the application form and login details to a secure portal for you to upload supporting evidence.

There are eight questions for you to answer on the application form, each addressing a different element of your engagement with research and in enquiry. They reflect the eight statements in the free NFER Self-Review Tool and have been developed by specialists and practitioners.

For each question there is an explanation of what the moderators will be looking for in your answer, and why it is important. There are also examples of the types of evidence you could include to build a good picture of your research practice.  Soon after submitting your application you will receive an invoice for the cost of the Research Mark, which is £800+VAT.

Host visit from NFER research associate
A member of the NFER team will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient date for the NFER research associate to visit your school. Ideally this will be within four weeks of your completed application.

The research associate will be with you for approximately half a day. They will have read your application and be prepared for the visit. A typical agenda will include:

  • Arrival and introductions
  • Review of evidence provided in application
  • Interview with selected practitioners
  • Break
  • Interview with pupils (accompanied)
  • Interview with Headteacher/Principal and other members of SLT
  • Discussion and verbal feedback on application
  • The research associate will give recommendations on possible next steps, examples from other schools and advice on sharing findings.

Although you will not be given the result of your application during the visit, you will be left with a clear indication of how you are doing. This visit will be supportive and non-judgemental and we hope everyone involved will enjoy the process.

Report from NFER
You will be sent an email to tell you when your report is available. NFER will not share this report with others. Your report will state overall what stage (emerging, established or extended) of research engagement you are working within. Activity that has been done well will be highlighted, as well as recommendations on how to develop further.

Logo and certificate awarded
If you have been successful, you will be sent the NFER Research Mark certificate and logo. We hope you will use this in your publicity to celebrate your achievement. It is valid for three years from the date of issue.

  • The Research Mark is a means to get recognition for your achievements in research engagement.
    Use your logo and certificate to publicise your effort.
  • It acknowledges your use of research to improve teaching and learning.
    The criteria are all based around improved standards.
  • It includes valuable face-to-face feedback and a report from a professional NFER research associate.
    The consultancy will add value to your plans and you can quote from the report.
  • It develops your practice through shared learning.
    You learn from the work and results others have achieved.
  • It gives structure to your research programme
    Particularly useful if you are a Teaching School, investing in R&D.
  • It presents your school or college as forward thinking and striving for improvement.
    Create the right impression for prospective students and parents.

The NFER Research Mark is open to all education settings in England. This includes:

  • early years settings
  • primary schools
  • secondary schools
  • sixth form colleges
  • FE colleges
  • independent schools
  • free schools
  • special needs schools
  • PRUs.

If you are a Welsh school please contact us for further information.

If you have any questions on this, please call 01753 637007 or email