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Dr Lisa Holmes has been appointed Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Rees Centre from October 2017.

Lisa has an international reputation for her research on fostering and child welfare and is joining us from her role as the Director of the Centre for Child and Family Research at the University of Loughborough.  Over the past seventeen years Lisa has undertaken a range of research and evaluations to inform child welfare policy and practice. She has been leading work nationally and internationally (with Chapin Hall, University of Chicago) on the cost calculator for assessing costs of children’s social care services and relating these to needs and outcomes. Lisa is also co-chair of the International Work Group for Therapeutic Residential Care. Lisa first started her career in child welfare as an outreach worker in the early 1990s, followed by two years working as a residential social worker in a local authority children’s home.

PGCE Chemistry student Faith Fordham is a Royal Navy veteran who lives in Oxfordshire.

She was medically discharged in 2011 having sustained minor physical injuries in Afghanistan and has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Faith has been successfully combining her PGCE studies with intensive training and she has now been selected to represent the United Kingdom in the Invictus Games in September 2017 in Toronto. Canadian-born Faith hopes to compete in rowing, powerlifting, athletics and swimming at the international sporting event for wounded, ill and injured military personnel and veterans. Faith said:  “When I was medically discharged it felt like my world was torn apart. The military was my life and it was all I wanted my life to be. I lost my identity. I became severely depressed, leading to periods of time where I have been unable to leave my house and at one point even attempted to take my own life.”  After a difficult few years, Faith now feels ready to face what the future holds. “My depression always clouded my future, which made it impossible to set any goals. However, having something to focus on has shown me that I do not need to be defined by my illness. Since starting training, my confidence has risen and I have found a reason to get up in the morning. I am slowly figuring out who I am and where I belong.” Faith has had to manage the demands of the PGCE alongside her Invictus training schedule which has been quite challenging but she has really enjoyed the course and has found all the tutors and placement schools to be very helpful and encouraging. From September she will be teaching in an Oxfordshire school, which has been very accommodating in allowing her time to travel to the Invictus Games.

Further information.

We’re delighted to announce that Professor Pam Sammons has won the Outstanding Graduate Supervisor Award.

She accepted her prize on 11th May at the OUSU Teaching Awards at the Town Hall in Oxford. On the night, Professor Sarah Whatmore, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) gave a short address commending the hard work of all the nominees. There were a record-breaking 895 nominations this year, in seven categories separated by Division. Pam, who was put forward by her D. Phil student Susila Davis, made it to the Social Sciences Division shortlist of five, and was surprised and honoured to win the prize.

Susila’s nomination highlighted Pam’s outstanding level of pastoral care of her students, integrity and critical engagement with their work and the fields of school effectiveness and improvement, no matter how late in the day or night. A line was also read out from the nomination: “I can’t believe my luck at having her as my supervisor and mentor.”

The nomination was prepared addressing the criteria listed here:

A full list of winners can be found here:

Professors Christopher Day, Qing Gu & Pam Sammons have been presented with this Award for a paper in the Educational Administration Quarterly, the most prestigious American journal in that area, at the Division A meeting of AERA this year.

They are the first English academics to receive it since its establishment in 1979.

The William J. Davis Award is given annually to the author(s) of the most outstanding article published in Educational Administration Quarterly (EAQ) during the preceding volume year. The article selection is made by a three-member panel chosen from the EAQ Editorial Board members who have not published in the volume being reviewed.

The award-winning paper is: Day, C; Gu, Q; & Sammons, P. (2016) The Impact of Leadership on Student Outcomes: How Successful School Leaders Use Transformational and Instructional Strategies to Make a Difference. Educational Administration Quarterly 52 (2), 221-258.

From left to right: the Proctorial team from Kellogg College – Jeremy Gibbons, Elizabeth Gemmill, Alis Oancea and Jonathan Michie. Photo: John Cairns

On Wednesday 15 March Professor Alis Oancea concluded her term as a Pro-Proctor of the University at a ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre.

The office of Proctor dates from at least 1209. Oxford’s two Proctors and the four Pro-Proctors who deputise for them are senior academic officers of the university who ensure that the University operates according to its statutes. They also help officiate University degree ceremonies and perform a range of other ceremonial functions on behalf of the University. They are elected by the colleges.

Read more here:

Professor Kathy Sylva, OBE, is one of the inspirational people who “have made enormous contributions to Oxford life and to society more widely” (Dr Rebecca Surrender, PVC for Equality and Diversity), celebrated in a series of portraits recently commissioned by the University of Oxford. Sitters were selected from over a hundred nominations.

Her portrait was created by the artist Pippa Thew. The newly commissioned works will feature in the University’s central public spaces and will be shown at an exhibition in Oxford later this year.

Kathy Sylva’s work has been key in making the University of Oxford a world-leading institution in early years research, in shaping early years policy and practice, and in transforming policy and practice nationally and internationally. Currently, she is Honorary Research Fellow and Professor of Educational Psychology at the Department of Education, University of Oxford.  She obtained her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Harvard, after which she moved to Oxford, where she became the first female senior fellow at Jesus College.  Her publications include seven books and more than 200 papers on early childhood, early literacy, and ways to support families. She was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to children and families and in 2014 the Nisbet Award for outstanding contribution to educational research, as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Gothenburg, the Open University and Oxford Brookes. She has been specialist adviser to Parliament (Commons 2000-2009, Lords 2014-2015) and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and the British Psychological Society.

Prof Sylva has been a lead researcher on several large scale studies of the effects of early childhood education on children’s development, including Europe’s largest longitudinal study focused exclusively on the effectiveness of early years education for children’s attainment, progress and development through primary and secondary school (EPPE – Effective Provision of Pre-School Education, initiated in 1997 and known, since 2007, as EPPSE – Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education 3-16).  Since 1997, this programme has tracked 3000 children (and their families and teachers) from entry to preschool (age 3) to the end of compulsory schooling (age 16). She also leads intervention studies in an attempt to understand how services for children and parents can be improved; the most recent is a parent programme aimed at supporting children’s early reading. Her work and that of the teams she has been leading has made transformative contributions to the lives of millions of children, who benefited from the policy and practice changes directly informed by their research. In the words of a former senior civil servant, anyone who has worked in Britain over the last ten years in the field of early education and care will, whether they know it or not, have been influenced by the EPPE Project. Indeed, many people currently employed in early years services owe the fact of their employment, at least in part, to the findings from this remarkable research… The landscape of early years education and care has been transformed in the last ten years. The research eloquently described in Sylva et al (2010) played a major role in that transformation, and has lessons for us in the next ten years” (Eistenstadt, 2010, pp. 427-28)

Further details on the EPPE/EPPSE project:

Further details on the newly commissioned portraits:

The British Association for Early Childhood Education has published a paper led by academics at Oxford.

They warned against basing policy on a recent paper which claims to find only a weak link between the presence of graduates in preschool provision and children’s outcomes.

Further information

Sammons, P., Sylva, K., Hall, J., Siraj, I. Melhuish, E., Taggart, B. & Mathers, S. (2017) Establishing the Effects of Quality in Early Childhood: Comparing evidence from England , Early Childhood Occasional Paper March 2017

The University is seeking to appoint a scholar with a social science background in a relevant discipline and with an international reputation in the field of education.

Applications are encouraged from candidates who have an outstanding record of contributing to one or more of the following areas:

  • Teacher professional practice
  • Education policy
  • Sociology and/or economics of education
  • Learning analytics

Click here for details and application information.

The Department’s Go_girl: code+create project, funded in its first year by a University’s IT Innovation Challenges award, has received funding from Goldman Sachs Gives.

The interdisciplinary research project complements existing programmes aimed at widening access to the University of Oxford and is run in partnership with the Oxfordshire County Council, through youth worker Mel Jewell.

The generous donation from Goldman Sachs Gives will allow the GoGirl research project to progress, enabling the scheme to extend to a second cohort of participants and work to commence on producing a model to be rolled out across the UK.

Jo Hannaford, Partner at Goldman Sachs, said: ‘Providing young women from disadvantaged backgrounds with technical skills is an important mission and one that serves to level the playing field. Through taking part in the programme, these young women will gain highly sought after technical skills which we hope will empower them and open doors to greater opportunities.’