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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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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

Amy is a DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship.

Her doctoral research focuses on the educational provision for separated asylum-seeking and refugee children within the UK context. Alongside her DPhil, she also works for a London local authority’s Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, as an ‘Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Advisory Teacher/Caseworker’.

Prior to starting the DPhil, she completed an (ESRC funded) MSc in Sociology at Oxford University, a MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development and Portuguese at Leeds University. She also spent a year studying Social Work at Rio de Janeiro’s PUC University.

Supervisors

David Mills and Ellie Ott

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.

 

Publications

Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.

Lucy is a fourth year DPhil student, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Lucy’s doctoral research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research seeks to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on her DPhil at Oxford, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her DPhil work, Lucy is a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET) – a grant-giving charity for service children – and a volunteer for the Oxford based charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Research/other:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygbrobinson
X/Twitter: @LucyGBRobinson (1) Lucy Robinson (@LucyGBRobinson) 

Ellen’s background is in Psychology and Education with 15+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, IBDP & undergraduate and graduate lecturer for international institutions in Greece.

Her passion for engaging adolescents and young adults in experiential community projects for positive youth development prompted her to initiate the non-profit organization, EIMAI-Center for Emerging Young Leaders. As director of EIMAI and PeaceJam Greece, Ellen provides programs for youth leadership development by bringing together university mentors and vulnerable youth with Nobel Peace Laureates to empower their self-concept and purpose in self, school, society and transition to adulthood. Ellen has served on the executive board of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Athens and the Greek Adlerian Psychological Association, where she has been trained as an Adlerian therapist. Her service- learning work with youth has been awarded by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas schools, the Nobel Peace Laureate initiative- Billion Acts of Peace, the Loukoumi-Make a Difference Foundation and best practices in character education by Character.Org.

As a scholar practitioner, Ellen has supported research projects at the Rees Centre, Department of Education and others on trauma- informed practices in UK schools.

Ellen’s research interests include: participatory action research, adolescent purpose, student voice, youth trauma, transition to adulthood, and trauma-informed and restorative educational practices with youth in social care and unaccompanied refugee minors.

Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, a Master’s of Education—Special Emphasis School Counseling from University of La Verne, California and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Supervisors

Dr Ian Thompson and Dr Neil Harrison (former)

Dr Lisa Cherry is the Director of Trauma Informed Consultancy Services Ltd leading a dynamic and creative organisation that provides a ‘one stop’ approach to delivering on research, consultancy and learning and development. Lisa is an author, researcher, leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools, services and systems to create systemic change to the way that we work with those experiencing and living with, the legacy of trauma. Lisa has been working in and around Education and Children’s Services for over 30 years and combines academic knowledge and research with professional expertise and personal experience. Lisa has worked extensively with Social workers, Educators, Probation Workers and those in Adult Services, training and speaking to over 30,000 people around the world including in the US, Australia and Pakistan and across the whole of the UK.

Lisa has produced multiple pieces of research for various settings and Lisa’s own MA research looked at the impact on education and employment for care experienced adults who experienced school exclusion as children in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Currently, Lisa is coming to the end of her DPhil research at The University of Oxford in the Department of Education, asking the research question “How do care experienced adults who were also excluded from school make sense of belonging?”

Lisa is the author of the hugely successful book ‘Conversations that make a difference for Children and Young People’ (2021)and ‘The Brightness of Stars’ 3rd Edition published in June 2022. A new book contract has been signed for publication in 2024/2025 on cultivating belonging.

Publications
  • The Brightness of Stars; Stories of adults who came through the care system, 2016 KCA Publishing
  • Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline, 2021 Routledge

Vânia is a Doctoral Candidate in Education at the Rees Centre, Department of Education, conducting research in the field of foster care placement success.

Her Doctoral research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about successful placements, through analysing the associations between parenting and professional skills of foster carers and emotional, social, and behavioural outcomes of looked after children. The analysis will also compare findings between the English and the Portuguese foster care systems.

Her academic pathway started with a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from ISPA – University Institute. Following these degrees with two postgraduate diplomas: one in “Protection of Minors” from the Faculty of Law – University of Coimbra, and the other in “Data Analysis in the Social Sciences” from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. She also gained professional experience in the Portuguese child protection system by working as a Clinical Psychologist in vulnerable communities.

Currently she is a research collaborator at the InEd-Center for Research and Innovation in Education, School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a Board member of various networks, such as: the EUSARF Academy, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and the Centro de Estudos Comparados da Criança em Família. She has several publications in the field of child protection systems, decision-making processes, foster care, and indicators of placement success.

Publications
  • Delgado, P., Pinto, V. S., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Gilligan, R. (2018). Contact in Foster Care in Portugal. The views of children in foster care and other key actors. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V. S., & Oliveira, J. (2017). Carers and Professionals’ Perspectives on Foster Care Outcomes: The Role of Contact. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(5), 533-546.
  • Carvalho, J. M. S., Delgado, P., Benbenishty, R., Davidson-Arad, B., & Pinto, V. S.  (2017). Professional Judgments and Decisions on Placement in Foster Care and Reunification in Portugal. European Journal of Social Work, 21(2), 296-310.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., Pinto, V.S., & Martins, T. (2016). Decision, Risk and Uncertainty Withdrawal or Reunification of Children and Young People In Danger? Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 28(2), 217-228.
  • Delgado, P., Carvalho, J. M. S., & Pinto, V. S. (2014). Growing-up in Family: The Permanence in Foster Care. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria, 23(1), 123-150.
  • Delgado, P., & Pinto, V. S. (2011). Criteria for the selection of foster families and monitoring of placements. Comparative study of the application of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory-Applicant Version (CFAI-A). Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1031-1038.

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