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A new video series from the Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA) outlines key messages in assessment and provides top tips for education practitioners.

In the first film, ‘Understanding Formative Assessment & Giving Good Feedback’, Professor Gordon Stobart (UCL), Associate Professor Victoria Elliott (Oxford University), Daisy Christodoulou (No More Marking), and Natalie Usher (Oxford University) discuss the importance of formative assessment and how to give students good feedback.

In the second film, ‘Understanding marking and mark schemes’, Associate Professor Michelle Meadows (Oxford University), Dr Ed Wolfe (Pearson) and Anne Pinot de Moira (Consultant) discuss the importance of marking reliability, problems in producing it and ways of making assessment more reliable, including through good mark scheme design.

Visit the OUCEA website to see all the episodes as they become available.

The video series was funded by Oxford University’s Teaching Development and Enhancement fund.

Rees DPhil student Lucy Robinson’s snapshots on “Military life, mobility, and me: A collection of composite images by British service children” has been published in the Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health.

 The four snapshots originate from ongoing doctoral research exploring how military life shapes British service children’s identity and educational experiences. Over a series of sessions, 19 service children aged 9 to 16 years engaged with several creative activities including self-portraits and relational maps and timelines, supported by exploratory questions and group discussion. For the snapshots, Lucy used images, spoken word, and text from the data corpus to create four compositive images that reflect British service children’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences around two military lifestyle dimensions — mobility and identity.

The goal of the snapshots is threefold. First, to act as a platform for service children’s voices to be amplified and taken seriously. Second, to act as a discussion point for readers so they can engage with the snapshots to spark conversation, draw comparisons, and — where applicable — reminisce about their own experiences of military childhood. Third, to advance current understanding of the experiences of British service children, as they continue to embody the strength beside the uniform.

“I’m delighted that my snapshots have been published within a special edition – The strength beside the uniform – of the Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health. By centring the service children in my contribution, I hope to highlight the importance of listening, and responding to, their experiences of military life,” Lucy said.

The snapshots are open-access and available to view following this link: Military life, mobility, and me: A collection of composite images by British service children | Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health (

An exciting research conference with a focus on attachment-aware and trauma-informed practice in schools will be held at Harcourt Hill Campus, Oxford Brookes University on Thursday 20th June 2024.

Rees Centre will be presenting key findings from the Alex Timpson Attachment and Trauma Awareness in Schools Programme that explored the perceived impact of whole-school attachment and trauma awareness training on staff and children in over 300 schools across England.

The Conference is supported by organisations including the Mulberry Bush Organisation, SEBDA and the Attachment Research Community.

The conference will also include opportunities to network with like-minded colleagues and to choose from 4 practical and interactive workshops.

Click here for more information.

Rees DPhil student Lisa Cherry recently made it into the Big Issue Top 100 Changemakers list for 2024, as voted for by the public.

Named as an inspirational figure in the women, family and children category, Lisa is recognised for her work in assisting schools and services to create systemic change in the way that we work with those experiencing trauma. As director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services, Lisa hopes to provide accessible, scientifically grounded knowledge and information to all those working with and around trauma, resilience and recovery. With more than 30 years of experience working in and around education and children’s services, she works extensively with social workers, education providers, probation workers and those in adult services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world.

“Formed in the early 90’s, The Big Issue has been part of the soundtrack of my career. I cannot think of a publication that I would rather be aligned with than this one. I felt so proud to be on the front cover; in a publication which continues to highlight how much still needs to change in regard to homelessness, stigmatisation and marginalisation caused by inequity and systemic harms. Onwards we must go,” Lisa said.

The award-winning author is also in the midst of her new book on cultivating belonging. Her other successful books include ‘Conversations that Make a Difference to Children and Young People’ and ‘The Brightness of Stars.’

This is the first time the Big Issue has called on the public for nominations for those they believe are responsible for innovative change. The magazine received nominations for people and projects across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Changemakers marks its 5th year in 2024, and the list showcases the top 100 Changemakers across the UK in categories such as Housing and Homelessness; Food and Nutrition; Climate, Environment and Sustainability; Sport, Culture and Fashion; Education, Mentorship and Business; Communities Migrants; Refugees and Asylum Seekers; Women, Fashion and Children; and Health and Disability.

An online event to examine how our understanding of poverty and need has evolved, or not, since the time of Thomas Coram, and the impact this has on the contemporary world, will take place on Monday 29 January at 6pm. 

In a speech made to the Duke of Bedford at the first meeting of the Foundling Hospital governors in 1739, Thomas Coram spoke of his ambition to protect the ‘innocent subjects’ of King George II. The language used to refer to those in need has fluctuated, but continues to reveal important facts about how societies past and present have conceptualised themselves and the systems of wealth and welfare they create. 

Emeritus Professor Harriet Ward CBE, who is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Education’s Rees Centre, is one of the panel speakers and will be talking about the historical development of the concept of the deserving and undeserving poor, and how this legacy has affected the experiences of children in care, including those looked after by Coram’s Foundling Hospital.

Titled ‘His Innocent Subjects: A Historical Exploration of the Deserving and Undeserving Poor’, the online event will see a panel of speakers consider the historical roots and impact of a dichotomy that continues to share narratives and policy around poverty. 

To find out more and to sign-up for the event, register here

Are you a care experienced young adult aged 18-25, foster carer, residential caregiver or health or social care professional? We’re looking for volunteers to help design a new health survey to monitor and meet the health needs of young people in care and to give advice on how we might test this new survey in the future.

Those who fit the criteria will participate in online workshops over the next 3 months, lasting from 1.5 hours to 3 hours each session.

The survey will hopefully benefit other young people in care in the future. In return, those who participate will have the opportunity to learn research skills and to become a co-author on an academic article.

For more information, contact Aine Kelly at


A new documentary has uncovered the lives of 27,000 pupils who grew up at a children’s home, revealing some fascinating details that happened over a span of 200 years.

Titled No Place Like Home: The Story of the Foundling Hospital, shares the daily life, education received and upbringing of children who grew up in the Foundling Hospital, London, between 1741 and 1954, including their lives beyond the hospital, which showcased pupils who had gone on to forge successful careers in music and art, and fought in battles.

Interestingly, one of the characters in Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, gleaned inspiration from the rich stories.

Emeritus Professor Harriet Ward CBE, who is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Education’s Rees Centre, was commissioned to provide information for the timeline of the hospital and gave a historical perspective on issues such as the health of children in care, their education and employment, relationships, identity and sense of stability.

“Coram’s film about the history of the Foundling Hospital-No Place Like Home – has the power both to shock and to inspire. It is shocking to hear about the terrible destitution in 18th Century England when the charity was founded, and the appalling stigma faced by the unmarried mother and her child. It is inspiring to hear about the development of the Foundling Hospital and the opportunities it offered to children who might otherwise have died,” Professor Ward said.

She said that the film also shows not only how much has changed, but also how much has stayed the same, particularly the care system in this country that still faces many of the same issues that were evident two centuries ago.

“We cannot make sense of the present unless we can understand the past,” she added.

The film also tells the stories of desperate mothers who came to the Foundling Hospital to seek a better life for their child, and of philanthropist Thomas Coram, who was appalled by the conditions faced by abandoned children on the streets of London.

Through interviews, contemporary images and archival records, the film explores the Hospital’s unique place in the history of social care and the work of its successor, Coram, the national children’s charity that continues to create better chances for children today.

The film screening took place this week which was followed by questions to a panel of speakers, including Harriet, discussing the film’s content and creation.

Coram CEO Dr Carol Homden said that every child deserves a fair chance in life and as Coram is the champion of children, there is a need to treasure the past and change the future.

“Just as Thomas Coram did, we will change the entire system around children. We have to innovate and never give up on creating a society that cares,” Dr Homden said.

The programme was created as part of Coram’s ‘Voices Through Time: The Story of Care’ programme, and was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

A key part of the programme involved working with care-experienced young people who created their own films surrounding the theme of home, which also gave them the opportunity to learn about the Foundling Hospital’s history and gain new skills in idea generation, film shooting and editing.

Watch the documentary on Youtube  and read more about the story.


A global team of 20 social scientists, including researchers at the Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE), unveil findings that the direction of AI innovation in corporate activities is to automate and unbundle professional work, putting the very type of work that has been powering social mobility for decades at significant risk.

The researchers recommend that public and private sectors along with individuals must collaborate to ensure the AI revolution is sustainable and benefits all, necessitating human-centric digital strategies, job redesign and upskilling at all levels of work.

Professor Ewart Keep, Emeritus Professor of Education at Oxford University’s Department of Education said: “Our findings show an urgent need for new policy capacity to harness a more human-centric future of work, and to reform education and training to empower the current and future workforce to shape their work-life in fulfilling and meaningful ways.”

The most extensive study on AI and the future of work to date, the researchers for the Digital Futures of Work Research Programme drew from interviews with over 500 respondents and quantitative analyses, examining patterns of activity across more than 10 key digital hubs around the world, including Silicon Valley, Singapore, London, Seoul, Helsinki, Berlin and more.

The findings challenge conventional assumptions about AI technologies replacing less-skilled routine work to ‘free up’ people to do more high-skilled work in better-paid jobs. Rather than less skilled jobs disappearing, top-end professional jobs that involve decision-making, data analysis, and creative problem-solving are seeing more significant changes.

The findings were presented at the Digital Futures of Work Research Conference on 1 November 2023 in Singapore. Access the set of infographics and full report at

A new, open-access book was launched at the British Educational Research Association conference this week, on the state of teach education.

Professor Jo-Anne Baird‘s chapter, on policy negotations in initial teacher education addresses what is at stake, why teacher education matters and how the education sector in England tried to influence teacher education policy to build on the research evidence.  Only days after its launch, the book has had hundreds of downloads.