Eton College founded the Tony Little Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning (CIRL) in May 2015. CIRL aims to improve learning outcomes for young people by sharing and refining Eton’s best practices and innovations in teaching pedagogy, learning and leadership in education. Within Eton, CIRL promotes a culture of evidence-informed practice, creative innovation and disciplined enquiry in teaching and learning. The Centre also aims to play a sector-leading role in identifying and sharing best practice from across the education system, with demonstrable impact both in Eton and outside it. 

The Tony Little Centre has established itself as a highly significant reference point for developing thinking across independent schools and beyond.

Dr. William Richardson, then General Secretary of the Head Masters’ Conference


CIRL’s founding vision is to place Eton at the forefront of developments in school education by establishing a world-class school-based centre for innovation and research in learning; and by partnering with universities, schools, and researchers internationally to ensure awareness about the most promising research findings and innovations in education and translate them into practice.

Our mission has been to achieve this vision through an eight-fold approach of reflection, evaluation, research, collaboration, innovation, professional development, personalised learning, and partnerships.

Did you know?

CIRL won the 2020 TES Independent School Award for ‘Strategic Education Initiative of the Year’.

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Teaching & Learning

CIRL includes a set of outstanding teaching and learning spaces that Masters and boys use to trial innovative teaching and learning platforms and practices.

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Our Research

CIRL has a dedicated Head of Research and Impact. The Centre conducts small-scale studies at Eton and larger, cross-sector research studies at other schools on topics related to resilience and character education.

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CIRL publishes the Eton Journal for Innovation and Research in Education once a year, including articles by academics, teachers and boys on aspects of evidence-informed practice.

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CIRL hosts conferences, webinars, and other professional development events throughout the year.

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CIRL publishes a blog four times a term that summarises research findings about aspects of teaching and learning and offers advice on how these findings can be used in practice in a school setting.

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Learning Support

CIRL houses the school’s Learning Support Centre and promotes a culture of personalised learning across the school.

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Professional Development

CIRL works closely with the Deputy Head (Curriculum Staff) and the Head of Teaching Practice to provide a rich programme of ongoing training for masters in teaching and learning, including whole-staff and smaller, opt-in sessions with visiting speakers and our own expert staff.

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CIRL plays a central role in Eton’s partnerships programme by arranging and hosting free professional development opportunities for schools in the Thames Valley Learning Partnership, and by providing free online training through the EtonX platform.

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Evidence-led Innovation

Eton Connect Local Partnerships