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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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk

 

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

One of our DPhil students, Lucy Robinson has had one of her research methods – the self portrait and relational map – published by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The publication includes details on the method, a step-by-step guide and a recommended reading list. Creative data generation methods like the ones used by Lucy are a valuable tool for qualitative researchers studying complex social phenomena. They can also support more inclusive research practice and offer the researcher the opportunity to explore an individual’s experiences more deeply than through speech alone.

“It’s been a brilliant experience to write for the NCRM and have the opportunity to share one of my research methods with a wider audience. I hope my tutorial will encourage and inspire others to use creative data generation methods in their own research”, said Lucy.

Find out more about Lucy’s research method here.

By Victoria Bogdanova, DPhil student

It’s always nice to receive New Year wishes but some messages are really precious. This year I got a call from Petya (name changed), one of my former students. Today, he is a confident, handsome young man. He has a brilliant sense of humour and makes a lot of jokes. I was his maths teacher and tutor five years ago. And the story was very different back then.

For over 10 years I’ve been working for a Moscow charity called Big Change which supports care-experienced children and young people in their education. Petya was the first student for whom I was also a tutor, meaning that I not only taught him maths but I was also responsible for his individual learning plan and general life issues.

He was 17. Lived in an orphanage with his younger brother. Failed most of the exams last year. Had terrible relationships at school (he could be very naughty and revengeful when needed to defend himself). As the last hope, he was brought to our charity by his social worker.

Unfortunately, it was a typical situation. In state schools in Russia, teachers are often lacking time, resources and training to support teenagers with behavioural and educational difficulties. It’s not a secret that teenagers in care like Petya had experienced so much loss and trauma at a young age that it had led to severe gaps in learning. For example, Petya’s knowledge of maths and Russian was at the level of primary school when I first met him, even though he was supposed to pass secondary school exams in a few months. Failing these exams restricts further educational and career opportunities. Many of these young people also suffer from drug or alcohol misuse or have criminal records.

When I first met Petya, his hood covered his face, he never looked into other people’s eyes, and he said no more than a few words. What could I have talked to him about? Definitely not maths… rap was the only thing I knew he seemed to be interested in. It made me listen to rap songs at home, to have some topics in common. Surprisingly, it helped, and I celebrated a small victory when after a math class he looked around and said, “You should listen to Tupac, I think you might like it.”

Over a year of lessons with Petya, I learned a lot; how smart and quick-witted he was, how polite he tried to be (he apologised every time a swear word accidentally slipped his tongue in my presence), how deeply he loved his younger brother whom he had saved from starving when their mother had been drinking, how much he cared about his elderly grandmother who cooked her best bortsch for him every time he came to see her. Of course, I also learned a lot about teenagers’ slang and culture. Petya, in return, stopped wearing a hood, started smiling, raised his head and, hopefully, learned something about maths.

Petya passed some of his exams but not all and couldn’t continue his education. However, he now lives independently, supports his brother, has a job, and his employer appreciates him. The fact that he calls me every New Year’s eve makes me think that my work was not in vain. It’s not about maths, of course, but some trust to this world that was fostered in this once aloof young man.

In my PhD research, I’m not only trying to describe what approaches can help these young people on how they can catch up with their studies, but also find their confidence and thrive in life, and what teachers can do about it.

Pippa is a first-year DPhil student, whose research interests focus on vulnerable students’ outcomes and experiences of secondary school English education.

In 2023, Pippa completed an MSc in Learning and Teaching at the University of Oxford, researching pedagogical strategies for the teaching of emotionally challenging literature to students with experiences of trauma. Her DPhil research will build on this project, exploring looked after children’s engagement with English education, and their outcomes in the subject.

Alongside her research, Pippa continues to teach English in a secondary school; she is therefore passionate about collaborations between practice and research. Her project seeks to develop our understanding of looked after children’s experiences in English classrooms, in order to facilitate the development of strategies to support these vulnerable learners.

Supervisors

Nicole Dingwall and Julie Selwyn

by Lucy Robinson, DPhil student

On 29th November 2023, I had the pleasure of attending and delivering a workshop at the SCiP Alliance’s Annual Conference, on the theme ‘Identity Matters’. The conference sought to gather “practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to focus our collective attention, expertise and effort on the question of Service child identity, on Service children’s identities” and explore “why identity matters, broaden our understanding of the diverse expressions of what it means to be a Service child, and how, by considering identity matters in our work, we can help Service children to thrive” (SCiP Alliance, 2023).

Opening the conference was a keynote from Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance, in which he conceptualised service children’s identities as ‘distinctive, diverse and dynamic’; a thread that ran throughout the day and very much underpins my own research. The conference had a packed schedule with exhibitions, a further keynote, a panel discussion and a range of workshops to attend. As a doctoral researcher in this field (indeed, my thesis title is: How does military life shape service children’s identity and school experiences?), the annual conference is the perfect space to share my research and foster new connections. Thankfully, the schedule allowed plenty of time for networking and gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, old and new. It was particularly lovely to connect in person with three PhD students in the early stages of their respective research projects.

In the morning, I ran a workshop titled ‘Translating child-centered creative research methods into the school context’, attended by a range of stakeholders. Over the hour, I gave a brief outline of my doctoral research (including its aims and link to school practice) before going into greater detail about one of the creative research methods that I had utilised in my research – the ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. I spoke about the rationale behind my choice of this method and how it linked to my research questions before sharing some examples created by my research participants.

To highlight the transferability of the method into the school context, I invited workshop attendees to make their own ‘All about me self-portrait and relational map’. Whilst doing so, I asked attendees to think about what questions it brought up for them and how they might translate it into their own professional contexts, whether in schools or not. It was gratifying to speak to one attendee who informed me that they would be bringing the activity back to their team to use as part of their mentoring programme for vulnerable ex-prisoners, to open a discussion on their identity after leaving the prison system.

The last 25 minutes or so of the workshop was dedicated to questions and discussion. It was a pleasure to talk in greater depth about details of my recruitment process, research ethics and to discuss the nuances around the relationship between service rank and socio-economic status and the potential impact this has on service children’s living experiences.

In the afternoon, I attended a fantastic workshop by Forces Children Scotland, a charity that supports children and young people from military families (serving and veteran), by providing opportunities and “amplifying their voices to inspire change” (Forces Children Scotland, 2023). In the workshop, I heard from young people from military families about their involvement in the charity’s various projects. I was particularly struck by how thoughtfully the charity had co-produced work with these young people to ensure their voices and experiences were embedded, rather than an afterthought. It was clear from my conversations with these young people about just how much they had benefited from their involvement in terms of gaining confidence and new skills and having a continuous form of support in place as their lives continued to be shaped by the military.

To find out more about the SCiP Alliance, have a look at their website or follow them on X (formally known as Twitter), @scipalliance.

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 Aine.Kelly@education.ox.ac.uk