How to apply?



Register online

Registration for the research mark is completely free of charge. To proceed, please complete the online registration form to gain access to the secure site. View the Terms and conditions.

Downloadable welcome pack

Shortly after registering, you will receive a welcome email including your login details. Please visit our secure site and download your welcome pack online. This includes guidance on how to complete your application, a guide for senior leaders, Research Mark school case studies and more.

Apply online

If you would like support in your Research Mark application, please call 01753 637007.

There are eight questions for you to answer online, 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.

You can save your application as you go along. Your saved answers will be able to be amended and added to each time you log in.

When you are happy with your answers, click ‘submit’. Soon after submitting your application you will receive an invoice of £800 (+VAT).

Part of NFER's charitable purpose is to help build capacity for schools to engaged with research and in enquiry. The £800 application cost covers the administrative cost of the programme, including the moderator’s time.

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, college or early years setting. 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 prepared for the visit. A typical agenda will include:

The research associate will give recommendations on possible next steps, organisations worth contacting, 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.

Report from NFER

You will be sent an email to tell you when your report is available to download from this secure site. 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.


You are welcome to re-apply for the Research Mark any time you feel you can show progress in your research journey (ie you’ve moved from emerging to established, or established to extended). At the end of three years, we hope you will apply for the NFER Research Mark again so that you can continue to celebrate your research achievements.

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