CIRCLE’s Research in Education


We are proven and innovative thought leaders in education.

We are committed to engaging with educators and their communities internationally to build and share a 21C knowledge architecture. As such, CIRCLE is committed to continuing to design and run large international collaborative research projects that generate collegial awareness of and professional capacity in our knowledge architecture with what we call warranted practice – the evidence-based body of work that illustrates a rationale and methodology for improved outcomes, strengthens culture, and supports the people in schools who are serving the rapidly changing world of their own communities.

We collaborate in reciprocal partnerships with dynamic and innovative tertiary institutions, professional associations, and leading schools to further shared educational goals and the long-term interests of our enterprises and organisations. In doing so, we are building the tools with our partners to help educators to relate, connect, and achieve in their schools.

As a result, we look forward to the long-term future of schools and education with hope. We help people to align their work in designing and delivering whole education for whole people who are fit for purpose to a distinctive research-based knowledge architecture and framework for education.

This is expressed through six corridors of 21C learning that direct the strategic infrastructure of educational culture to graduate outcomes for students as good people, future builders, continuous learners and unlearners, solution architects, citizens of local, regional, and global communities, and team creators. We help educators to shape a curriculum for 21C character and competencies linked to these outcomes and informed by abiding values of meaning – “for good”, authenticity – “for real”, transformation – “for change”, sustainability – “for life”, service – “for others”, and relationships – “for each other”.

Our rigorous, analytical framework of knowledge, skills, character and reflective capacity takes us beyond anecdote and idiosyncrasy to a grounded, purpose-driven, and meaningful approach that is sensitive to both specific needs and general cultural requirements. It is derived from, enriched through, and validated by shared values, experiences, and learning relationships. At the same time, we feel that the learning must be reciprocated; we need to learn as much from our clients as they learn from us.

These six corridors are articulated fully in a set of standards that we use to help schools aspire to become great 21C schools – schools of character:


View the Six Corridors of 21C Learning

CIRCLE/IBSC Report on Character Education in Schools for Boys

We are pleased to announce the recent publication of CIRCLE’s report on Character Education in Schools for Boys, sponsored by the International Boys’ Schools Coalition. From 2016 to 2018, CIRCLE conducted a series of research exercises in 48 project schools world-wide.  The research also draws on our network of “schools for character” committed to excellence in 21C education. The final report is an extensive analysis of the major body of work that has emerged in the single largest project if its kind in the world to date. In addition to project findings, the report details a framework for character education.  This is a set of guidelines and processes for schools to engage in review of their character education practices, evaluate their performance against a set of standards, plan for improvement, and demonstrate accountability to outcomes.

Download the report by completing the form below

High-performance culture in a whole education: the CIRCLE ABSNZ Excellence in Boys’ Education Project: Report, 2019

Formally published in June, this report is the culmination of two years of research commissioned by the Association of Boys’ Schools of New Zealand (ABSNZ). This research project followed on extensive longitudinal research, commissioned by the ABSNZ and conducted by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER). This earlier research demonstrated that, over a period of seven years leading up to 2017, boys in boys’ schools performed more strongly on all measures tested by the NZCER than boys in coeducational schools. The ABSNZ wanted to know why this is so and asked CIRCLE to undertake a major study to find out. Over 2017 to 2019, CIRCLE conducted a series of surveys and questionnaires, involving teachers, school leaders, staff, parents, trustees/governors and alumni and students, that probed for the teaching and learning conditions that contributed to these levels of boys’ achievement. The resulting data analysis revealed five especially salient school performance dimensions: school character, climate and culture; leadership of the educational program; teacher effectiveness in growing the “whole person”; student educational experience and outcomes; strategic and operational alignment; and teacher professionalism in a community of inquiry and practice. The report unlocks the approaches, competencies, and program designs within and across these performance dimensions that fuel boys’ sense of belonging, focus, motivation, and drive for success within a holistic education. We are pleased that the ABSNZ has commissioned CIRCLE to conduct a series of annual research projects, beginning in 2019, to probe still deeper into these performance dimensions, and to equip member school with the knowledge, expertise and tools for continuing growth on this trajectory of high performance in boys’ education.

Download the report by completing the form below