Frequently Asked Questions

I work with disadvantaged children, but I’m not based in the North

We are interested in hearing from applicants in England who have ideas for projects that can address the attainment gaps for disadvantaged children particularly in the North of England. We want to work with teachers who are committed to delivering an intervention which they can convince us will be able have impact on disadvantaged children in the North. If your intervention is successful you are committed to growing at least part of the project in the North of England.

I work at a private school / in a school with very little disadvantage, can I still apply?

We welcome applications from teachers especially those based in the North and all types of schools. Our only stipulation is that the children targeted have some indicator of economic disadvantage. For example, two previous winners were from private schools, but ran their projects for disadvantaged children from other schools in the local area.

Can I make a joint application with another teacher?

We understand that these types of projects are often time consuming and best split up, so there is no problem in applying with another teacher. For simplicity of correspondence though, we ask to be provided with the details of just one person to be the main contact for the project. This will be the teacher accountable for the project.

I work in a Pupil Referral Unit, can I still apply?

As long as you are a qualified and currently practising teacher and your project targets disadvantaged students, you can apply.

I am Teaching Assistant / Learning Support Assistant. Can I apply?

A qualified teacher needs to lead the application, but often delivery of the project is supported by Teaching Assistants and Learning Support Assistants.

I have my own educational company. Can I apply?

We are only interested in funding qualified, practising teachers based in England. If you are successful, we will pay the grant via a school, so please ensure you have an agreement from a school to receive the grant on your behalf.

I’m not sure exactly how long my project will run for or how many hours it will be. Is it OK if I provide an estimate, as it may be subject to change?

We understand that scheduling and contact hours can be subject to change, but please plan as accurately as possible. This also applies to your budget.

What data should I use to report on the outcomes of the project? Does it have to be data from standardised tests? Can I use questionnaires?

SHINE supports grantees to develop a Theory of Change for their intervention. Further support will be given if you are awarded a grant.

SHINE uses an approach to evidence set out in the table below. Projects approaching us for initial funding should be at the very early stage or early stage level, and we would expect projects to attain at least one further level of development within the first phase of SHINE funding.

We encourage you to use the data your school already collects from standardised tests e.g. progress measures of word descriptors or levels; optional SATS or SATS, GCSEs, A-Levels etc. For any other outcomes not covered by existing data from questionnaires or other evaluation tools are fine.

Stage of idea (funding per year – these are indicative amounts) Quality of evidence in evaluation of grant
Very early stage idea, initial small grant (c. £5K) Grantee can clearly articulate a theory for how their project will work in different settings to achieve its anticipated outcomes.
Early stage idea, fairly small grant (c. £10-20K) Grantee collects data which shows positive change in relation to planned outcomes, but they cannot prove this was as a result of their project (attribution).
Idea has been piloted in at least one setting and is on its second or third grant (c. £20-40K) By using a control or comparison group, grantee can begin to show that change is a result of their project. Data supports the underlying theory of change for how and why change happens.

You ask for some information about my background. Is that my professional background, or academic, or personal?

Feel free to interpret this as you wish. You can tell us about any previous jobs, anything from your own personal background, or your teaching background that will be of interest and relevance to your application.

In my budget, can I charge for my own time?

Yes. We completely understand that you may have to take time out of school hours to organise, prepare, or run the project, so we are happy to accept applications with this included in the budget. We will also pay for cover should you need to take time out of the classroom to design and deliver the project.

If successful, how will the grant be paid?

The grant will get paid to your school, so it’s important that you agree that your school is happy to receive the money on your behalf.  The grant is split into chunks and one grant payment is made per term.

Can you tell me more about the additional support that SHINE offers?

SHINE offers an average of three training components a year that you are strongly encouraged to attend, these are offered to help you to plan your project and to support the delivery of your project.  The training is likely to cover evaluation, legal support, modelling, how to grow your project. There will also be the opportunity for informal networking.  You will work with a dedicated office staff member who will support you on a day-to-day basis. We also have a Communications Manager who can support you to share your stories locally and nationally.

As part of my project I want to invest in new technologies to be used in the classroom, how much equipment can I buy?

We will not fund projects where equipment costs make up more than 50% of the total budget. While we are interested in seeing innovative uses of technology, we believe it is the teaching and pedagogy that should drive the project. Moreover, if equipment costs are too high, then it will be difficult for the project to be replicated or expanded into other school.

I am developing an educational technology project. Can I apply?

Yes, however, we have funded several online maths initiatives and would only fund others if they can clearly show how they complement or add value to other grants we have made, in particular Hegarty Maths and Times Tables Rock Stars.

We recognise that technology is a promising route to scale and welcome applications where teachers are using technology to improve learning.

I’d like to apply but I’m a bit nervous about presenting my idea in front of people, what will this involve?

If you are shortlisted, you will have the opportunity to explain your idea in more detail to a small panel: comprising a SHINE staff member and one to two SHINE trustees, partners, or friends of SHINE, possibly including some past Let Teachers SHINE winners. The presentation will give you an opportunity to explain your idea and answer questions. We aim to keep the format informal and friendly. Let Teachers SHINE is as much about investing in great teachers as it is supporting great ideas, and so we feel it is really important that we have the chance to meet applicants at least virtually.

You will spend the first five to ten minutes presenting your idea, followed by an informal conversation lasting up to thirty minutes. You are welcome to present your idea with a colleague, for example someone else who is developing the idea with you or who could help explain your idea or the context for your idea. We plan to hold these presentations virtually in early March (timings will be confirmed once the shortlisting is complete).

I have a lot of evidence to support my application. Can I include this with my application?

The additional information you provide should be limited to section H. If you are shortlisted to get through to the next stage, you will be able to bring any further information with you then.

Please read our guidelines, if you have not done so already, for more information.

If you have any further questions or would like more information, please get in touch at or give us a ring on 0113 280 5872.