Student co-researchers

Illuminate Student Researchers

Programme: a model for deep


Bespoke Research-led Consultancy and CPD

incorporating Youth Voice

Now in its fourth year, Illuminate is in several schools and colleges across London and Kent, working on issues as diverse as how to manage and enhance community cohesion in a school in a bipartisan area; how a new international 6th form will appeal to a range of young people; how a new Health Hut can support girls who are being bullied at school; how teachers can go from good’ to ‘outstanding’; and what effects a new building can have on teachers and students in terms of its noise levels.

Illuminate will be used as part of the Critical Connections project to embed student participant research. Student researchers will be investigating the links between mainstream and community schools, and what community schools contribute to children’s learning; the relationship between school, home and community, in terms of language; and digital literacies in terms of crossing linguistic boundaries. Their work will run alongside the Critical Connections project.

How it will work:


1.Two student researchers will be selected from each Critical Connections school

2. The brief will be taken to the student researchers: they ask the questions

Probable brief (divided into three groups):

  1. Links between mainstream ad community schools
  2. School/home interaction with language and crossing linguistic boundaries
  3. Digital literacies

3. Student researchers with staff will be trained in research methods (interviews, observations, etc)

4. The development of research questions, methodology, and a research plan will be supported

5. A set of pro formas supports the project: these scaffold the development of interview questions and a research plan

6. The research teams will be supervised to carry out investigation and analysis

Schedule for Illuminate Critical Connections

23 October 1pm-4pm: Workshop to deliver brief, develop questions, and provide  interview training and research planning

November: each pair interviews three people at their school about the project, focussing on the brief they have been given

12 December 2pm-5pm (alongside teachers’ meeting): Interview findings and presentation workshop

22 January 1pm-4pm: Further training and research planning using a wider variety of methods: participant observation; journaling; visual methods

27 February 1pm-4pm: Research supervision workshop

27 March 2pm-5pm (alongside teachers’ meeting): Research findings and presentation workshop

April: Final PowerPoint presentations to be sent to Anna

May: Anna to write research report; student researchers to practice their presentation of findings at school

12 July: London Youth Speaks event: films to be shown in Cinema and PowerPoint presentations of findings to be made

Aims of the model

l  To offer students opportunities to develop skills of articulacy, and evidence to strengthen voice: linguistic, cultural and social capital

l  To develop self-advocacy and critical thinking skills to address life/ECM/barriers to learning

l  To encourage non-traditional routes to university amongst both Aim Higher-targeted and other pupils

l  To challenge the deficit model

l  To embed student voice meaningfully into research project management and decision-making

l  To increase engagement in education by offering control over an area of work

l  To develop rigorous and research methods which challenges the objectification of research respondents

l  To challenge the ‘ivory tower’ argument: research with, not on people

Further Opportunities

Staff participating in this section of the project will be able to use the model to deliver further student researcher projects in their school. The model can be used to enhance student voice.

Contact: Dr Anna Carlile:

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