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Year 3 to 9 pupils are invited to join in a TESNFER competition. Dorothy Lepkowska reports

Pupils as young as five are being urged to grab their clipboards and embark on some serious research in the latest competition co-sponsored by The TES.

Year 1 pupils from Colmore first school, in Birmingham (see right) already are interviewing pupils and teachers, recording information and analysing data, all for a project on their school grounds.

Now all schools are being encouraged to develop their pupils' investigative skills in a competition to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the National Foundation for Educational Research. Schools are invited to bid to take part in a piece of original research.

The NFER, launched in 1946 as an independent organisation, was responsible for developing the 11-plus exam in the 1950s and Sats in the 1980s. It has appraised and implemented some of the most important developments in the education system.

Now, with The TES, it is launching a scheme based around the theme of enquiry and investigation, for children in Years 3 to 9.

All competition entries must include new ways of harnessing opinion and information, rather than just surfing the internet or using books and other publications. Each entry should include details of the pupils' objectives, what they wanted to find out, how they went about it and what they learned.

Sue Rossiter, the NFER's director, said: "Our mission is to improve education and training. Helping teachers to develop their pupils'

research and enquiry skills, and have fun in the process, is a fitting way for us to be celebrating our 60th year. We hope that lots of young people will take part in the competition and get great satisfaction from finding out more about a subject that really matters to them."

Entries, which will be divided into key stages 2 and 3, can be in any format and may include posters, short films and photography.

Prizes, which will include computers and MP3 players, will be awarded to the winning classes and their schools, and have been donated by Disney, Puffin Books, Yamaha, Codemasters and Oxford University Press.

The closing date is June 16. For more information go to www.nfer.ac.ukresearch-challenge and see page 32

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