Nikki is a Research Fellow and has been at the Rees Centre since its launch in 2012.

She has a PhD in Developmental Psychology, focusing on the perceptions of self and others and how this relates to peer relationships for children in care. At the Rees Centre she has used mixed methods and systematic review techniques to explore a range of topics relating to the support of children in care and children with a social worker. She is a co-founder of the Children’s Social Care Data User Group, and was also part of the Evaluation Coordinators team on Wave 1 of the DfE’s Children’s Social Care Innovations Programme. Her recent research has fallen under three main themes:

  • Supporting the well-being of children in care and care leavers. A 3-year study funded by NIHR trialled a model of training, assessment and feedback that brought together foster carers and designated teachers to support the well-being of children in care across the home and primary school contexts. A current study funded by Become seeks to understand what ‘success’ means to care leavers, and how this might be measured.
  • Improving educational outcomes for children in care and children in need. Two studies funded by the Nuffield Foundation explored how experiences in care and education are linked to GCSE outcomes; Nikki led the analysis of national datasets. She is now part of the team evaluating the extension of Virtual School Heads’ duties and the Pupil Premium Plus.
  • Supporting local authorities to make the best use of data and other information to inform services for children and families. On the Nuffield-funded Children’s Information project Nikki is mapping how information is collected, collated, analysed and used, and works with sites to identify how this can be improved.

Research

Books
  • Coleman, J., Vellacott, J., Solari, G., Solari, M., Luke, N., & Sebba, J. (2016). Teenagers in Foster Care. Rees Centre/University of Oxford/University of Bedfordshire/University of Gothenburg.

  • Journal articles
  • Sinclair, I., Fletcher, J., O’Higgins, A., Luke, N., & Thomas, S. (2021). ‘Closing the gap’: the conditions under which children in care are most likely to catch up in mainstream schools. Oxford Review of Education, 48(2), 252-269. https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2021.1967118
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:bf7bc823-3382-4020-a134-ead4e2503e86

  • O’Higgins, A., Luke, N., & Strand, S. (2021). Children in care in education: who is entered for exams and who reaches critical thresholds of success at age 16?. British Educational Research Journal, 47(6), 1522-1539. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3736
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:a4c860f5-e101-4e64-9e43-722271856a1a

  • Sinclair, I., Luke, N., Fletcher, J., O’Higgins, A., Strand, S., Berridge, D., Sebba, J., & Thomas, S. (2020). The education of children in care and children in need: Who falls behind and when?. Child and Family Social Work, 25(3), 536-547. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12719
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:68555af1-65f0-4f67-9218-3898efa635fc

  • Sinclair, I., Luke, N., & Berridge, D. (2019). Children in care or in need: educational progress at home and in care. Oxford Review of Education, 45(4), 443-460. https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2019.1600488
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:c5e56373-913f-480a-93bc-f9baf93fde45

  • Sebba, J., & Luke, N. (2019). The educational progress and outcomes of children in care: editorial. OXFORD REVIEW OF EDUCATION, 45(4), 435-442. https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2019.1622281
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2019.1622281

  • Luke, N., & O’Higgins, A. (2018). Is the care system to blame for the poor educational outcomes of children looked after? Evidence from a systematic review and national database analysis. Children Australia, 43(2), 135-151. https://doi.org/10.1017/cha.2018.22
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:29183236-8ae3-483a-bfcd-4da26720b3f1

  • Luke, N., & Adams, P. (2018). Good practice in parent and child fostering. International Journal of Birth and Parent Education, 5(2), 27-32. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:8bf7d89c-dd4c-4e81-9338-963903a25700
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:8bf7d89c-dd4c-4e81-9338-963903a25700

  • Braithwaite, E., O’Connor, R., Degli-Esposti, M., Luke, N., & Bowes, L. (2017). Modifiable predictors of depression following childhood maltreatment: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Translational Psychiatry, 7, e1162. https://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2017.140
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:7c3bde76-f13b-45c7-9c7d-9d8c4161c20e

  • Weistra, S., & Luke, N. (2017). Adoptive parents’ experiences of social support and attitudes towards adoption. Adoption and Fostering, 41(3), 228-241. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308575917708702
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:32f56b96-aee0-4017-9712-97109536060e

  • Sebba, J., Luke, N., & Berridge, D. (2017). The educational progress of young people in out-of-home care. Developing Practice, 47, 18-35. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:f0942916-8129-4082-9c18-f8989e26c44a
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:f0942916-8129-4082-9c18-f8989e26c44a

  • Luke, N., & Banerjee, R. (2013). Situating maltreatment in the social context: Challenges for research. Developmental Review, 33(3), 279-284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2013.07.001
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2013.07.001

  • Luke, N., & Banerjee, R. (2013). Differentiated associations between childhood maltreatment experiences and social understanding: A meta-analysis and systematic review. Developmental Review, 33(1), 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2012.10.001
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2012.10.001

  • Luke, N., & Banerjee, R. (2013). Differentiated associations between childhood maltreatment experiences and social understanding: A meta-analysis and systematic review. Developmental Review, 33(1), 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2012.10.001
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2012.10.001

  • Luke, N. (2013). Teaching Psychology Online: Tips and Strategies for Success. PSYCHOLOGIST, 26(10), 766-766.

  • Luke, N., & Banerjee, R. (2013). Situating maltreatment in the social context: Challenges for research. DEVELOPMENTAL REVIEW, 33(3), 279-284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2013.07.001
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2013.07.001

  • Banerjee, R., Bennett, M., & Luke, N. (2012). Children’s reasoning about self-presentation following rule violations: the role of self-focused attention. Child Development, 83(5), 1805-1821. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01813.x
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01813.x

  • Luke, N., & Banerjee, R. (2012). Maltreated Children’s Social Understanding and Empathy: A Preliminary Exploration of Foster Carers’ Perspectives. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(2), 237-246. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-011-9468-x
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-011-9468-x

  • Luke, N., & Coyne, S. (2008). Fostering self‐esteem: exploring adult recollections on the influence of foster parents. Child & Family Social Work, 13(4), 402-410. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2008.00565.x
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2008.00565.x

  • Reports
  • Luke, N., Sinclair, I., Woolgar, M., & Sebba, J. (2018). What works in preventing and treating poor mental health in looked after children?. In Rees Centre. Rees Centre. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:b0b0c2a6-8f7b-42c0-99a6-a9f0e98dfe0b
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:b0b0c2a6-8f7b-42c0-99a6-a9f0e98dfe0b

  • Meakings, S., Sebba, J., & Luke, N. (2017). What is known about the placement and outcomes of siblings in foster care? An international literature review. In Rees Centre Publications. Rees Centre. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:47d26cc2-6714-44db-bcac-14e254c3ea13
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:47d26cc2-6714-44db-bcac-14e254c3ea13

  • Sebba, J., Luke, N., Rees, A., Plumridge, G., Rodgers, L., Hafesji, K., & Rowsome-Smith, C. (2016). Evaluation of the London Fostering Achievement Programme. In Evaluation of the London Fostering Achievement Programme. Rees Centre. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:8c5b0faf-22bc-4bce-b838-3f90994d35ab
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:8c5b0faf-22bc-4bce-b838-3f90994d35ab

  • Sebba, J., Berridge, D., Luke, N., Fletcher, J., Bell, K., Strand, S., Thomas, S., Sinclair, I., & O’Higgins, A. (2015). The educational progress of looked after children in England: linking care and educational data. In REES Centre Reports. University of Oxford Department of Education/University of Bristol. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:49b64928-4808-4898-911c-30e8981b2ffb
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:49b64928-4808-4898-911c-30e8981b2ffb

  • O’Higgins, A., Sebba, J., & Luke, N. (2015). What is the relationship of being in care on the educational outcomes of children? An international systematic review. Rees Centre. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:65cb4f5b-27af-45a2-80d7-7afb597244ab
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:65cb4f5b-27af-45a2-80d7-7afb597244ab

  • Cosis Brown, H., Sebba, J., & Luke, N. (2015). The recruitment, assessment, support and supervision of LGBT foster carers: an international literature review. In Rees Centre. Rees Centre. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:1ee392ab-772b-4bc5-b081-8fa6b2554b44
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:1ee392ab-772b-4bc5-b081-8fa6b2554b44

  • Cosis Brown, H., Sebba, J., & Luke, N. (2014). The role of the supervising social worker in foster care. In Rees Centre. Rees Centre. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:6d1fb686-125c-4c5c-8751-959c19dcebe9
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:6d1fb686-125c-4c5c-8751-959c19dcebe9

  • Luke, N., & Sebba, J. (2014). Effective parent-and-child fostering. An international literature review. In Rees Centre Research Reviews. Rees Centre. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:0c1dd19f-a659-462a-b03a-04dedd498081
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:0c1dd19f-a659-462a-b03a-04dedd498081

  • Höjer, I., Sebba, J., & Luke, N. (2013). The impact of fostering on foster carers’ children. In Rees Centre. Rees Centre. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:5c4eca59-3f43-473a-abb8-f31199b6e59a
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:5c4eca59-3f43-473a-abb8-f31199b6e59a

  • Sebba, J., & Luke, N. (2013). How are Foster Carers Selected? An international literature review of instruments used within foster care selection. In REES Centre report. Rees Centre. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:1134afb8-3c31-4647-927e-7df4b19011a5
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:1134afb8-3c31-4647-927e-7df4b19011a5

  • Sebba, J., & Luke, N. (2013). Supporting each other: an international literature review on peer contact between foster carers. In Rees Centre. Rees Centre. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:ecc8d230-2b21-4110-95b1-0474d7d38b12
    https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:ecc8d230-2b21-4110-95b1-0474d7d38b12

  • Luke, N., Sinclair, I., & O’Higgins, A. (n.d.). The Educational Progress of Looked After Children in England. Technical Report 2: Relating Care to Educational Attainment and Progress.

  • Funded Research Projects

    • The Effectiveness of an Enhanced Book-Gifting Intervention for Improving Reading Outcomes for Children in Care (CI)
      2018-2020
    • The Educational Attainment and Progress of Children in Need and Children in Care (Co-PI)
      2017-2019
    • Improving the emotional, social and psychological well-being of looked after children: testing the Shared Training and Assessment for Well-Being package (STrAWB) (PI)
      2017-2018
    • Evaluation co-ordinator for the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme (CI)
      2014-2016
    • The Evaluation of the London Schools Excellence Fund: Children in Care (CI)
      2014-2015
    • Review of Mental Health Interventions for Looked After Children (PI)
      2014