The 21 Centres for Excellence each run 1 or more Action Research Groups. The aim is to improve teaching, learning and assessment of GCSE and Functional Skills maths resits in FE Colleges in England. In 2020/21, each project focuses on particular aspects of four themes: mastery, engagement and motivation, technology and/or contextualisation

If you join an Action Research Group, you’ll have the opportunity to work collaboratively with peers to systematically investigate an area of your maths practice by undertaking a small-scale Action Research (AR) project.

CfeM Action Research practitionersYou’ll be supported by an Action Research lead, participate in a flexible blended Action Research professional development programme and access ongoing mentoring – all with like-minded maths teachers. We are currently starting our recruitment period for Action Research leads. Centres/Action Research leads will recruit AR teachers starting May 2021.

You’ll share your findings with each other and the wider FE sector in a series of national dissemination events in February and June/July 2022.

Action Research findings 2019/20  

Visit the CfEM Conference Live 2019/20 YouTube channel for videos of previous action research projects. We are always really inspired to hear the great discussions and ideas which stem from seeing what other Colleges have tried out and found worked well.

Also, please see the CfEMLive Conference reflections video, which sums up and celebrates this four-day conference for maths teachers:

Ways of getting involved:

Action Research Dissemination Events (400 places)CfEM Live 2021 June/July 2021
Join a community of maths teachers to celebrate and learn from their action research findings on motivation and engagement, technology and data, mastery and contextualisation.
Booking links here-
Action Research Lead (42 places)Nominations for Action Research Leads opens in March 2021.
A brilliant opportunity to lead Action Research across your network.
See guidance here If you want to submit a nomination please get in contact with a Centre lead from your nearest CfEM.
Action Research Teachers
(168 places)
Recruitment for Action Research Teachers to participate in local Action Research projects opens May 2021 – activity led by the Action Research Leads.Opening May 2021.


We are looking to recruit research mentors to support the action research on the CfEM programme. If you are interested in becoming a mentor please find more details below.

Call for Expressions of Interest for CfEM Action Research Mentors

The Centres for Excellence in Maths (CfEM) is a DfE-funded programme aimed at improving teaching, learning and assessment practices and increasing attainment for 16 to 18-year-olds taking GCSE and Level 2 Functional Skills maths resits in Further Education colleges across England. The programme is approximately halfway through and attention is turning to how colleges could sustain action research (AR) practices beyond the end of the DfE funding and ETF’s support for CfEM in March 2023. 

Therefore, ETF is recruiting a bank of mentors for up to 42 Action Research Leads. Mentors will support one or more Action Research Leads to identify and address professional development needs relating to the planning and delivery of cycles of collaborative action research. Action research has already been demonstrated to be an effective approach to CPD for many groups of FE maths resit teachers.

Purpose of the AR Mentor role

To provide tailored, confidential personal and professional support for the AR Lead so they can effectively lead and support their AR Groups, and maximise the effectiveness of the CfEM collaborative action research professional development programme and its opportunities for the long term.

If you are interested to find out more, please download Mentor Specifications and the Expression of Interest form.

Please complete and return to with the subject heading ‘Action Research Mentor EoI’ by Wednesday 30 June 2021. 

Note this Expression of Interest does not guarantee work. If successful, you will be placed on a bank of mentors and your details will be passed to Centres.