The Tony Little Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning (CIRL) has won the Strategic Education Initiative of the Year award at the TES Independent Schools Awards 2020. The award recognises the positive impact CIRL has had on teaching and learning within Eton and on the wider education community. The centre impressed judges with its impactful contribution to promoting innovation and evidence based practice.

Lead judge Julie Robinson said: “The centre leads the way in collaborative, evidence-based research and provides practical support to pupils and teachers very widely by making findings available online for free… Measured impact, careful background research and experimentation make the work of CIRL particularly valuable.”

CIRL is a set of facilities at Eton College carrying out original research to develop expertise in teaching and learning among staff and students. It has promoted a culture of creative innovation, disciplined enquiry and evidence-informed practice, helping teachers to hone their skills through self-assessment and collaboration with colleagues.

Since its establishment, teachers at the school have been more engaged with evidence-informed practices and academic publishing has increased. School-wide research has also been initiated, for example to investigate how Eton promoted students’ happiness and socioemotional skills.

The centre also offers training to teachers and students in evidence-based innovations, including spaced repetition, revision techniques, feedback and research methodologies, and it collaborates with the Chartered College of Teaching to promote research literacy among teachers.

Jonnie Noakes, Director of Teaching and Learning at Eton, said: “The team at the Tony Little Centre are completely delighted that the work of the centre has been recognised in this way at the TES awards.

“The centre works collaboratively with a wide range of schools and education organisations to promote evidence-informed practice and creative innovation in teaching and learning. We have learned a huge amount ourselves through these collaborations and have been glad to share our own research and enquiries with others.

“We hope that our contribution to the work being conducted more widely will benefit other schools as much as it benefits Eton.”