We are delighted to announce new funding at the Rees Centre from Diverse Care for The Hazel Project research, which builds on our work focused on teenagers in fostering placements.
The first incarnation of the Hazel Project began in the 1970s with the development and introduction of a placement project for adolescents in Kent (1974-1979). This project aimed to arrange foster placements for adolescents thought likely to benefit from a fostering environment. The Hazel Project was developed at a time when fostering for adolescents was not conceived of as a wholly viable option, with residential group care being the dominant placement type and the level of foster family breakdown at a high.
The Hazel Project research at the Rees Centre – in collaboration with Diverse Care – will explore, contemporarily, the promises and constituents of effective specialist and therapeutic fostering for adolescents. The research will also address re-emerging debates around the professionalisation of fostering and how best to meet the needs of adolescents within the family environment.
Dr Caroline Cresswell, who joined the Rees Centre in April will conduct an extensive systematic review in the area, the findings of which will be disseminated to contribute to persistent debates and the development of policy and practice concerning looked after adolescents. Caroline will be joined by a DPhil student in October 2020, whose research will contribute to the field.
The Excluded Lives Research Team has today (19 June 2020) launched the report School Exclusion Risks after Covid-19 drawn from discussions with practitioners and professionals from health, education, criminal justice, local authorities and third sector voluntary organisations in England.
The educational disruption caused by the recent Covid-19 pandemic has produced potential new and heightened risks for school exclusions. Members of the Excluded Lives Research Team talked to practitioners, policy makers and professionals in different parts of England to glean an understanding of their perceptions of the situation.
Exclusions have risen sharply in England in the last few years. Over-represented groups include children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), from particular ethnic backgrounds and those living in areas of high deprivation. The multi-disciplinary and multi-site Excluded Lives Research Team, led by Professor Harry Daniels and Associate Professor Ian Thompson from the University of Oxford, is currently conducting a four year Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded research project on the consequences of school exclusion across the UK. The recent pandemic has raised questions about how at-risk of exclusion students might be identified and what return to school support and guidance exists or can be developed to support practitioners as well as children and families. Heightened anxiety, bereavement, poverty, disconnection from schooling and the digital divide have heightening the risk for children and young people who were already struggling with aspects of schooling and produced new unexpected categories of risk.
The report is available here.
Find out more about Excluded Lives here.
This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant number 1811EP001/LH7).
The department is pleased to announce it has successfully secured an Athena SWAN Bronze award following a submission to the Equality Charters Unit of Advance HE in April 2020.
This award constitutes external, formal recognition of the positive environment within which our department currently works and our proposed further developments in this regard. Our submission was a department-wide project and consequently we are grateful to all of our colleagues and students who contributed to and supported the submission. We look forward to continuing our work on enhancing inclusion, in all its aspects, within our spheres of work and through our newly-established Inclusion committee.
The award will be valid until November 2023.
To find out more about the Athena SWAN Bronze award, see here.
The report of the International Advisory Panel on Teacher Education in Norway, “Transforming Norwegian Teacher Education”, co-authored by Professor Alis Oancea, was launched earlier this month, on Monday 18 May 2020.
The report is the culmination of three years of activity, including a programme of regular national and regional meetings and events, of the international panel chaired by Professor Marilyn Cochran-Smith (Boston College, USA). It makes two sets of recommendations: one on systemic or policy issues, addressed to the Ministry of Education and Research and to NOKUT (the Norwegian Quality Assurance Agency for Education); the other on collaboration, capacity and joint responsibility, addressed to TEIs and their school & municipality partners. The panel argues that bold and transformative change needs collaboration; active agency of all participants; building research capacity for (student) teachers & teacher educators; enhancing the practice orientation of student teachers’ experiences; and efforts to ensure the sustainability of the reforms.
NOKUT’s Director Terje Mørland welcomed the report as “useful for both the teacher education community and the Ministry of Education. The advice will also be important for NOKUT’s further work on education”, he said.
The Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher Education, Henrik Asheim, commented in the press: “I am very pleased with the knowledge base this report now gives us” and indicated ways in which the government will consider the recommendations of the report.
The report, together with video presentation by each member of the panel, is available at https://www.nokut.no/arrangementer/lansering-apt/
Men have moved further than women before and during the UK’s lockdown, according to data from the Oxford COVID-19 Impact Monitor – an online tool co-developed by the department’s Dr Adam Saunders and an interdisciplinary team of AI and big data researchers at the University. This finding potentially raises questions over whether this could have been a factor in the increased incidence of male hospitalisation and mortality rates from the virus.
The newly-launched Impact Monitor’s analysis, based on anonymised, aggregated and GDPR-compliant location data from mobile phones, provides a unique and in-depth look at life in the UK. Among revelations on life in the lockdown, the data provided by the project’s partner, CKDelta, shows that, during May alone, men moved 48% further than women.
According to the findings, men have largely travelled further from home than women since the lockdown began on 23 March.
After an initial collapse in population movement, both men and women started to become more active just one week after the lockdown began. But, in every age group, men have moved more than women of the same age – and even, in some cases, than younger women. The research has also shed light on differences in movement by age.
Dr Adam Saunders (Researcher at the department), who co-leads the Oxford COVID-19 Impact Monitor inter-disciplinary project, says, ‘To our knowledge this is the first study which shows differences in population movement not only between men and women but also across age groups during the UK’s lockdown. It clearly shows that men have tended to travel further from home – potentially coming into contact with the virus with greater frequency.’
Men in their mid-20s to early 30s have moved the most, according to the data. By 15 May, this group moved 54% further than women of a similar age.
Even more striking, men in their 50s have moved 28% further than the most active women, those aged between 23 and 24. Men in their 60s also moved 39% further than women of the same age.
As Dr Matthias Qian, co-leader of the project, points out, ‘The extent of differences in movement between men and women offers potential insight into why, in addition to the prevalence of underlying health conditions, men in the UK may have been most at risk from COVID-19. This is highlighted by evidence that many older men have been moving more than women of all age groups.’
The research shows that, in line with the Government’s recommendation for society’s most at-risk groups to shield themselves from contact, both men and women aged 65-plus have been the least active during the lockdown. But this group too began to increasingly move outside their homes by late March, with the gap between men and women in this age group widening on that count as social distancing has continued. By 15 May, pension-aged men moved 30% further outside their homes than women in the same age group.
The methodology that sits behind the Oxford COVID-19 Impact Monitor tool was developed through work undertaken in the department’s Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE). For more information, see: http://www.skope.ox.ac.uk/
Congratulations to the department’s Ashmita Randhawa (Research Officer, SKOPE Research Centre) and Ellie Suh (Postdoctoral research officer, Rees Centre) who have both won places on a new programme designed to help social scientists transform their innovative and marketable research ideas into a business or social enterprise.
The SUCCESS programme is a first-of-its-kind opportunity run by ASPECT, a growing network of organisations looking to make the most of Social Science research through business engagement, licensing and ventures. Through engagement with the programme both Ashmita and Ellie will work to turn their research outputs into innovative social enterprises.
Together with co-founder Tracey Denton Calabrese (Postdoctoral Researcher, Go_Girl: code_create, LNTRG), Ashmita will develop and scale up go_girl code+create – a research project that works with disadvantaged young women who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) by helping them to develop coding and digital skills while also addressing their social, emotional and psychological needs. Through its holistic approach go_girl_code+create helps to empower its participants, bringing them back into education, employment or training, whilst also helping local authorities reduce the high number of NEETs requiring support in the long term.
Ellie will work to establish a social enterprise that supports the development of a web-based platform for the Rees Centre’s Cost Calculator for Children’s Services (CCfCS) – a research-based data analytics tool that helps local authorities to make informed decisions by providing analysis on costs and outcomes of care provided to children in need. Moving to a web-based platform will enhance the calculator’s functionality and user-friendliness, whilst improving its power and flexibility through an intuitive user experience design.
Over the next six months Ashmita and Ellie will work to develop their research ideas through the SUCCESS programme. Keep an eye out for upcoming blog posts if you’d like to follow their progress.
Discover more about the department’s research centres:
The Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) is a multi-disciplinary research centre that examines the links between the acquisition and use of skills and knowledge, product market strategies and performance (measured in a variety of ways). Find out more about the Centre’s work and research here.
The Rees Centre produces research evidence to improve policy and practice in the areas of children’s social care and education. Its aim is to improve the life chances and particularly the educational outcomes of those who are. To find out more about the Centre’s work and research see here.
LNTRG is a research group based in the department working in the area of learning and new technologies. Go_Girl:code+create was created by Professor Niall Winters and Dr Anne Geniets from this research group. To learn more about the group see here.
An intervention programme to improve the language skills of 4-5 year olds who are falling behind in school has been found to boost their progress by +3 additional months, according to the results from an independent evaluation published by the Education Endowment Foundation today. The programme is the result of research led by the department’s Professor Charles Hulme and Professor Maggie Snowling (St John’s College), funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The programme is now fully available through Oxford University Press.
1,156 pupils in 193 schools across England took part in a randomised controlled trial of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention during 2018/19. The trial, supported by the Education Endowment Foundation, was a large-scale effectiveness trial, which tested the programme in everyday conditions. The independent evaluator found the programme to be highly effective and to improve the language skills of four- and five-year olds who are falling behind and boost their progress by three additional months. The evaluators also found that the programme was an effective way of boosting language skills for children with English as an Additional Language (EAL). The findings have a very high level of security, and consolidate the findings of an earlier, smaller trial of the programme which found similar, promising results.
Commenting on the evaluation report, Professor Charles Hulme and Professor Maggie Snowling, said: ‘Our research focuses on children’s language and literacy development with a special emphasis on how to help children who find learning language and literacy skills difficult.
‘A strong foundation in oral language is key to children’s success in education and we are delighted that this most recent EEF trial of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention has produced such strong evidence of its effectiveness.
‘We hope that schools will be encouraged to adopt the programme for the benefit of the many children whose educational progress is hindered by language difficulties.’
The Nuffield Early Language Intervention is designed to improve the spoken language ability of children as they begin primary school. Targeted at children with relatively poor spoken language skills, it is delivered to groups of two to four children, three times a week, alongside some individual sessions. Teaching Assistants are trained by Elklan, a specialist training agency focused on speech and language interventions, to run the programme, which lasts for 20 weeks during their first year of school (Reception). Sessions focus on listening, narrative and vocabulary skills. Children were selected for the trial using an innovative school-administered app-based assessment of oral language skills (LanguageScreen), developed by the project team.
Early language skills are vital for children’s long-term success in education and other areas. Research has shown that children with more advanced language skills at the age of five are more likely to have better qualifications and subsequently be employed in adulthood compared with their peers. However, disadvantaged children are more likely to have fallen behind before school starts.
With current school and nursery closures likely to widen the early language gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers, it is clear that the Nuffield Early Language Intervention, a low-cost and effective, school-based intervention will be crucial to closing the ‘disadvantage gap’ which will inevitably widen whilst schools and nurseries are closed during the COVID-19 crisis.
Details of the published programme can be found at Oxford University Press.
Congratulations to the department’s Jeyda Simren Sekhon Ataç (MSc in Education – Comparative and International Education) and fellow University students Dhruv Gupta (Blavatnik School of Government), Charlotte Notaras (Department of Social Policy and Intervention) and Sophie Sikina (Said Business School), who successfully made it to the semi-final of the 2020 Map the System Challenge for their project focused on exploring the inequality of education for refugee children in Lebanon – a country with the highest ratio of refugees in the world.
Map the System Challenge is a global competition run by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Said Business School (University of Oxford) that challenges systems-level thinking about social and environmental change, exercised through research and a report created on a global problem of choice.
An excerpt from the group’s report depicts the importance of this issue, both to Lebanon and the world:
“Globally, the number of displaced individuals is growing exponentially, with climate migrants projected to reach 1 billion by 2050. Per capita, Lebanon has the highest ratio of refugees in the world. In 2018, the United Nations estimated that one in five people living in Lebanon was a Syrian refugee. As of 2019, 58% of refugee children in Lebanon (approximately 385,000 individuals) were out of school and 48% of children (roughly 319,000) did not have access to any learning opportunities. Educating the vast numbers of refugee children in Lebanon not only constitutes a cornerstone to enable national integration, but also acts in the hope of working against promulgation of a “lost generation” and safeguarding the prosperity and security of generations to come.”
The interdisciplinary team of four students competed against over 60 submissions to secure a place in the semi-final, which involved a virtual presentation followed by a live Q&A.
This group came together through their shared passion for education and belief in its transformative potential for the world whilst on the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship’s ‘Leading for Impact’ programme – a personal development programme that aims to develop a small cohort of high potential individuals as future impact leaders.
Jeyda Simren Sekhon Ataç studies on the Masters in Education (Comparative & International Education) at the department – a full time, one year, master’s course that aims to develop students’ understanding of the factors that shape educational systems in different parts of the world and the research skills to compare policy choices and critically evaluate major debates, policies, histories and practices of education globally.
Commenting on the success of the project, Simren said: “There is no doubt that my time on the department’s Comparative & International Education programme has expanded my knowledge of the educational world and enhanced my critical thinking skills, all while exposing me to a number of perspectives. My Masters dissertation looks at the utilisation of technology for Syrian refugee education in Lebanon and so Map the System proved itself the perfect opportunity to deep dive my understanding of the context even further. I would like to thank Dr Niall Winters, Dr Yasmine El-Masri and Dr Ellie Ott in particular, who have all been extremely supportive of my research and helped connect me with people whose insights have proven all the more invaluable to both projects.”
To find out more about their project, “ Children in Crisis: The Challenge of quality education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon” contact email@example.com.
To find our more about the MSc in Education (Comparative and International Education) at the department, see here.
Photo courtesy of Al Zoubi, Saja. Lebanon 2016-2017.
In this new BERA blog, the department’s Niall Winters (Professor of Education and Technology) together with Paul Kirschner (Open University of the Netherlands) preview the content of two complementary virtual issues published by their respective journals, the British Journal of Educational Technology and the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, which focus on the role of technology in online education.
The issues have been published in light of the quick shift from traditional teaching and learning to technology-enhanced teaching and learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The papers selected address key issues in designing and implementing Online Learning to help those new to method to realise its potential for themselves and within their own learning contexts. It is hoped that these will be useful to teachers, lecturers, practitioners and researchers looking for resources that can help them design and implement online learning within their own institutions and settings.
Access the British Journal of Education Technology’s ‘COVID-19: Online Teaching and Learning Virtual Collection’ here.
Access the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning’s ‘COVID 19: JCAL online distance learning resources during emergency remote teaching’ issue here.