Information for Schools

Programme Overview

  • The world’s only teacher training programme exclusively for those who have completed a doctorate
  • An opportunity to train and employ subject experts in secondary school EBacc subject areas for a three-year programme
  • The Researchers in Schools (RIS) programme provides specific training that enables participants to add value to their schools in the following areas
    • Delivery of an impactful Pupil Premium intervention for most-able pupils
    • Engagement with and promotion of evidence-informed teaching practice
    • Dissemination of subject expertise within the school context
    • Championing of university access for pupils from non-selective state schools


Benefits to Schools

Tailored training for PhD graduates. As career-changers, RIS participants demonstrate high levels of professionalism and are reflective and collaborative practitioners. We provide specific training through a team of experienced teachers and school leaders in order to support transition into the secondary school environment and capitalise on the skills PhD graduates have to offer.
University Access. Placement schools receive a small group, targeted intervention for Pupil Premium students. Uni Pathways develops students’ knowledge, skills and ambition to progress to highly-selective universities. It is based on the successful Brilliant Club model which has been shown to have a statistically significant positive impact for pupils’ likelihood to apply and progress to higher education.
Education Research. Throughout the programme RIS training is tailored to adapt participants’ research skills to an education setting. From engaging with evidence-informed practice to conducting an education research project specific to the school’s context, participants actively contribute to curriculum and pedagogical development.
High-quality trainees. Using The Brilliant Club’s experience of the PhD marketplace we recruit passionate subject specialists who are committed to improving outcomes for young people. Researchers in Schools delivers the Department for Education’s Maths and Physics Chairs programme, attracting talented Maths and Physics subject experts into secondary school teaching.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the programme structured?

The Brilliant Club works in partnership with ITE providers in Year 1, enabling participants to achieve QTS through either the School Direct fee or salaried routes. In Years 2 and 3 participants are employed by their placement schools as NQTs and RQTs respectively. Throughout the programme participants have one full day off-timetable each week to work towards the wider aims of the programme.

How many hours do participants teach?

In Year 1 participants increase their teaching load in line with the ITE provider’s guidance for their fee and salaried routes. For fee trainees it is anticipated that this will be a supernumerary position with no unsupervised teaching for at least the first term. For salaried trainees it is anticipated that this will include significant independent teaching from the beginning of the year.

In Years 2 and 3 participants will teach a typical NQT and RQT timetable, pro rata over four days.

How much will it cost schools?

In the Year 1 the cost to schools is the same as for a typical School Direct fee or salaried trainee through the ITE provider*. In Years 2 and 3 the schools pays the participant as a full time NQT and RQT. In addition, there is an annual per participant fee paid to The Brilliant Club of £3,000 for maths and physics and £2,000 for all other EBacc subjects**.

* There are some additional on costs for maths and physics salaried participants as a result of DfE bonus payments.
** Waived in Year 1 for salaried English and History participants.

What is the length of commitment for schools?

For participants on the fee route the school will provide a place for the training year, with the expectation that they will then employ the participant for their NQT and RQT years, from July of Year 1. If the school is unable to commit to employing the participant for two years from Year 2, they will need to notify their ITE provider by Easter of Year 1, so an alternative school can be found for the participant.

For participants on the salaried route the school will employ them for the full three years from the outset, subject to them achieving QTS, NQT status and meeting the professional requirements of their school.

Supporting a participant for the three-year duration of the programme allows the school to develop an early career teacher and research leader who is aligned to the school ethos and has built relationships with pupils and colleagues.

Which schools are eligible?

Participants may only be placed in non-selective state secondary schools, including academies and free schools. Participants can be placed in University Technical Colleges, and sixth form colleges that teach A-level courses providing they can get sufficient experience of another Key Stage in line with the ITE provider’s requirements. Participants cannot be placed in schools in special measures.

How does a school become a RIS placement school?

Please contact our School Partnerships Manager via the details below to express your interest in the programme. We will put you in touch with one of our partner ITE providers in your area, who will confirm your suitability to be a placement school. As candidates who match your requests become available, the ITE provider will discuss how you can engage with their assessment of these candidates.

If you currently work with an ITE provider for School Direct, and the provider is interested in placing a number of RIS participants within their network, please ask them to contact the School Partnerships Manager to find out about becoming a partner ITE provider.

“I was talking to one of our Year 12 students and his mum at parents evening. Following the sixth form trip to CERN in Geneva (which was led by our RIS teacher) this student is committed to a career in science or engineering. For this student, the RIS trainee’s teaching and leadership has changed their life”
James Malley

Head Teacher, Therfield School

“Over the past four years it has become increasingly difficult to recruit good quality science teachers in secondary schools; we were really struggling to build a team of qualified and committed science teachers until RIS were introduced to us. Our science department has been completely transformed with the addition of our RIS trainee teachers”
Jenni Tyler-Mayher

Executive Headteacher, Cleeve Park School

“The Researchers in Schools have been fantastic and have fitted in so well, adding capacity and using their expertise to help in so many ways. The current trainees are leading on the Students as Researchers project with Year 9, training students to carry out high level research on topics that the schools wants to develop, providing them with the skills they will need for the EPQ and university applications”
Joy Morgan

Professional Tutor, Parliament Hill School

Next Steps


Our Charity

RIS is a programme run by The Brilliant Club, an award-winning charity that works to increase the number of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds that progress to highly selective universities. For more information visit


The Brilliant Club

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Get in Touch

For more information about the programme contact the RIS School Partnerships Manager, Amy Emery, via email at or by phone on 0207 939 1947

Email Amy