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CER Current Projects

Back to the Centre for Education and Research (CER)

The work of CER features consultancy, research and development projects. Some of our current projects include:

The National Gallery Take One Picture for NPAT Schools

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation is funding The National Gallery Take One Picture for NPAT Schools (NG TOP for NPAT) programme, which includes a major research strand led by CER.

The National Gallery Take One Picture

The programme’s research aim is to investigate the views of Northampton Primary Academy Trust Partnership (NPAT) Year 4 students and teachers concerning their experiences of The National Gallery flagship TOP programme and its effects on teachers’ professional development and students’ outcomes in art, writing and non-cognitive skills acquisition and cultural capital.  The NG TOP for NPAT programme builds on a pilot project funded by The National Gallery for which the research strand was awarded the BERA/Anna Craft Creativities in Education Prize 2020.

Science Outside the Classroom

Science Outside the Classroom (SotC) is an international project led by CER partner East Hunsbury Primary School in Northampton.

Science Outside the Classroom (SotC)

School leaders and teachers from educational settings in four countries across Europe are developing materials to promote scientific enquiry skills outdoors as part of an inclusive curriculum that increases the capacity of children aged 3-11 years to problem-solve, reason, communicate and develop non-cognitive skills, including resilience and confidence. CER is providing support and training to teachers and leading the research strand of the programme.

Co-funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union

Erasmus+ logo

The project is co-funded by the European Commission Erasmus+ grant 2018-1-UK01-KA201-047940. Due to the global pandemic in 2020-21, SotC will continue through 2021.

Young Children are Researchers

The Young Children Are Researchers (YCAR) project informs new approaches to understanding how young children learn in everyday contexts, and how adults can support them.

YCAR research has established ways that children in the early years engage in higher order thinking to build knowledge, for example by conceptualising, problem solving and basing decisions on evidence. YCAR researchers are currently investigating how young children use questioning to learn.

Digital Learning Across Boundaries (#2): Developing Changemakers

DLAB2 was inspired by the Ashoka Changemaker movement, ​which seeks to build the skills and attributes for ​individuals to find innovative solutions to society’s ​challenges. ​ University of Northampton is working with partners from Denmark, Norway, Spain and Belgium for the DLAB2 Project (2019-2022).

Digital Learning Across Boundaries- Developing Changemakers


  • act upon opportunities and transform them into value for others​
  • want to look after the Earth, the arts and their communities​
  • are driven by partnering with others, getting creative and developing solutions​
  • are comfortable out of their comfort zone and understand the value in being proactive

Two related key themes are Developing Changemakers and Social Innovation Education. ​Another theme is the Use of Innovative Digital Learning Environments including virtual and artificial reality technologies to blend physical and digital learning environments and provide powerful opportunities for international collaboration. ​The project therefore brings together two aspects of the Maker movement: ​Digital Making and Change Making​.

Over three years we adopt three types of ‘learning across boundaries’ challenges:

  1. Crossing physical boundaries (what my body can do): learning through physical experiences (skills). ​
  2. Crossing personal boundaries (my aspirations and confidence): learning through performance, public speaking, or gaining new skills (attitudes).
  3. Crossing environmental boundaries (changes to where I am in space): learning taking place in unusual or different places (knowledge).

The DLAB2 project is co-funded by the European Commission Erasmus+ grant 2019-1-DK01-KA201-060283.

Erasmus+ logo Co-funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union

The Value of a Maintained Nursery School

During 2021, CER is conducting research with Ronald Tree Nursery School to identify evidence for the social impact nursery provision has on the young children who attend the nursery school.

The Value of a Maintained Nursery School

The ‘Value of a Maintained Nursery School’ research project is funded by a University of Northampton competitive Business Innovation Grant.

CHILD UP – Children Hybrid Integration: Learning Dialogue as a way of Upgrading Policies of Participation

Child Up logo

The CHILD UP project is funded by EU Framework Programme for Research Horizon2020 for the period 2018-2022.

Given the unprecedented increase in migration over the past few years, it is no surprise we are in what some commentators have called the ‘decade of the migrant child’. Despite gains to support the integration of adult migrants, for instance helping them to better integrate into employment, comparatively there is much less in terms of policies and practice to help children who find themselves in alien education systems. CHILD-UP researches into the level of integration of migrant children in Europe and their social condition, with the primary aim of proposing an innovative approach to improve such conditions. In this shifting of perspective, children’s agency – a specific form of participation – represents the real keystone to improve children’s psychosocial wellbeing and set the child at the centre of his/her self-empowerment.

Agency means that individuals, in particular children, may choose their way of acting, thus contributing to the construction of their social and cultural context. Agency does not mean absolute freedom of choice, since the possibility of choosing is always influenced by social relation

CHILD-UP highlights the importance of the relationship between children’s agency on the one hand, and dialogic interactions between children, and children and adults on the other. In particular, CHILD-UP aims to show that adults’ facilitation of this dialogic interaction offers migrant children the opportunity to change their own social condition through their exercise of agency.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research And Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 822400.

Horizon 2020 European Union Funding for Research and Innovation