Small Grants

Small Grants Scheme 2024

The Society for Educational Studies invites bids from researchers interested in making an original contribution to knowledge in the field of educational studies on the theme: Religion, Spirituality and Moral Education: informal and formal contexts in dialogue. Applicants applying for these grants must be affiliated with a British university and will be asked to become members of the SES if they are not already members. (Membership fee for 2024 is currently £30 [£20 students]). Small Grants are awarded with the purpose of stimulating new and insightful research in education. 

In this 2024 round, the Society is looking to award a maximum of two grants of up to £10,000 each and a maximum of two grants of up to £20,000 each. Each award will be for one year (1st July 2024-30th June 2025). 


The place of religion, spirituality and moral formation and education (RSME) in the lives of children and young are perennially vexed, their form and legitimacy continually the subject of heated debate. Seemingly never resolved, is it possible to define and delineate a form of religious, spiritual and moral education apt for the cultural conditions of the present that is at one and the same time pleasing to all faith communities, as well as to those for whom religion is no longer meaningful or relevant? Does the place of RSME in schools, churches, madrasa and so on, have equal standing and legitimacy? Moreover, even though RSME occurs in formal school contexts of various kinds, and in informal ones, e.g. churches, madrasa, homes etc, rarely do these settings, and the questions surrounding their work, come into dialogue with one another. This symposium invites such conversations between practice and research across these contexts and domains, and that common issues and questions around their respective work be addressed. 

Research is invited that examines how educational studies can illuminate issues in RSME in the UK today in a way that:

  1. Expresses how the disciplines of educational studies can be brought to bear upon debate and illuminate the issues;
  2. Bridges the divide between formal and informal educational contexts and shows how educational studies can illuminate both;
  3. Fosters debate between research on informal and formal contexts of learning and education; 
  4. Provides the opportunity to foster new visions for RSME based upon rigorous qualitative or quantitative research, historical perspectives and/or social and cultural analysis. 

Core questions the research might seek to respond to include:

  • What are the differences between formation and education in the religious, spiritual and moral spheres?
  • What forms if any of RSME are legitimate in formal and informal contexts?
  • What pedagogies are appropriate and operational in RSME and what is their effectiveness?
  • What is the history of RSME in different contexts and times?
  • What is the agency of children and the rights of parents in religious, spiritual and moral education and formation?
  • What media are used in RSME, what is their content and use?
  • What is the impact of digital media on religious, spiritual and moral education?
  • What does RSME in differing national contexts look like, and in what ways might the UK context draw upon these differences?

2024 Awards especially encourage new research in the area, with fresh perspectives and themes. We encourage applications from early career academics. Successful applicants will be expected to present on a relevant theme of their award at the Society for Educational Studies’ 2024 Annual Colloquium to be held at Oriel College, Oxford, 5-6 September 2024. 


Application forms are available electronically below

Applications failing to adhere to the submission guidelines will not be considered. Applicants should ensure that the bids have appropriate and clear research aims and objectives. These should be realistic given the size of the grants offered through the scheme. 

Please note that in relation to costings, the SES is not able to meet full economic costing on account of its charitable status. Non-FEC salary costs of up to a total of 50% of the total award will be considered in relation to an application. This may include payment for research-based activities which can be carried out by any person rather than a specific individual, e.g. when undertaking interviews or preparing transcriptions. The Society will not pay costs for open access publishing. 

Completed application forms should be sent as a single pdf email attachment clearly headed ‘SES 2024 Awards application’ to Prof. Stephen Parker ([email protected]), Prof. Lynn Revell (l[email protected]), and to Aidan Thompson ([email protected]). The deadline for applications is 17:00 hours on Tuesday 30th April 2024. Late applications will not be considered.

Applicants are required to provide:

  • the names of two academic referees; and
  • a letter of support from their educational institution. 

Applicants are required to acknowledge the support of the SES in any publications resulting from their research.  

Successful awards will be expected to begin on 1st July 2024.  Recipients are required to submit a progress report on their research within six months of the award being made. In addition, a final report should be submitted to the Secretary of SES no later than six months after completion. Appropriate publications in academic and / or professional journals will also be expected. 

Applications will first be considered by the Society’s Awards Committee, who will, then, make recommendations to the Executive Committee.  

Applications cannot be considered for the following expenses:  

  • Salary costs at full economic costing; 
  • Supply cover for teachers or other educational workers involved in the project;  
  • Any administrative overheads charged by educational institutions;  
  • Equipment such as computers, tape or video recorders;  
  • Conference fees or membership fees;  
  • Registration, tuition or examination fees for diplomas or degrees;  

Travel, subsistence and accommodation costs can only be considered for visits to educational institutions or settings directly connected with the research and should be clearly specified and costed. 

The decision of the Executive Committee is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding unsuccessful applications.


Previous Schemes

2023: Teachers, Teaching and Teacher Education: Trajectories, Threats and Transformations

The Society for Educational Studies invested in 5 small grants on the theme: Teachers, Teaching and Teacher Education: Trajectories, Threats and Transformations. Reports will be available to read below when projects are completed.


Details of previously awarded Small Grants are accessible below.

Final Report Downloads

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