The National Teacher Research Panel was set up in 1999 by its then sponsors, the Teacher Training Agency and the Department for Education and Skills, to promote teacher involvement in research. The DfES remains a sponsor, through its innovation unit, but the TTA has been replaced by the General Teaching Council for England and the National College for School Leadership.
Its three main aims are: to ensure that all research in education takes account of the teacher's point of view; to ensure education policy and practice are based on evidence; and to increase the number of teachers who use others' findings to improve their teaching as well as the number conducting their own research. "The research required to get on to the panel is of a very high standard," says Tony Cuthbert, an elected teacher-representative on the GTCE and an ex officio member of the panel.
"I tend to sit back in awe."
Its 12 members are teachers committed to research. They are selected by rigorous interviews (applicants are wanted for the next selection process later this year). Members serve for three years and roughly one third rotate on and off each year. The panel meets once a term but members exercise influence through belonging to other bodies. The DfES invites a panel member to join each steering group. Criteria for research and code of practice is set out on its website: www.standards.dfes.gov.ukntrp.