Research planning and a duck roll the size of my hand: TakeOver Day at the Rees Centre

Oxfordshire Children in Care Council Deputy Oliwia came to the Rees Centre as part of the national Children’s Commisioner TakeOver Challenge.

On the 18th of January I was given the amazing opportunity of taking over the research planning at the Rees Centre for a Takeover Day. This gave me a chance to flaunt the knowledge gained during my A level in Sociology. I got to work with two awesome individuals – Nikki Luke and Sally Winiarski -at the Director’s office. I was updated on current research done by the centre and the variety of different types of research that are used to interview young people, their foster carers, teachers and social workers. All this was done whilst we sipped tea and stuffed our faces with tasty flapjacks.

I enjoyed the tasty snacks, but I also learned there were other young people with experiences similar to my own; One of these was the feeling of exclusion during respite. I’m a care leaver now, so I don’t dread going to a stranger’s house once a month, but it felt reassuring (and a bit worrying) that  others out there still feel the way I felt about it.

Furthermore, I found out that as part of the PGCE at the University of Oxford there is an optional module about children in care, which I thought should be made compulsory due to the increasing demand for foster places. Some teachers do not know how to deal with people in the position I was in. I was glad to hear Rees Centre ensures that all the new teachers complete this module. I gave some ideas on how more work could be done to help the voices of young people to be heard far and wide. Hopefully some of them will be implemented!

My lunch was spent at Lady Margaret Hall, where I got to eat a duck roll the size of my hand. I was taken on a tour with a Junior Dean, Vania Pinto, who previously interviewed me for one of her projects. It was great fun, especially when one of the principals looked like they were holding a doughnut, which was actually a very old fossil. I never knew that a fossilized doughnut has been discovered.

Back at the Rees Centre, I got to work with Dr Ellie Ott, who is setting up a studying the matching process in foster care to see how it could be improved. She had drawn up some interview questions for young people and I commented on them.

At the end day, I was given another tour, this time around the library, where all magic of thinking happens. There I got to witness University students who were working on top secret educational research and studying to be teachers.

Overall, It was an enlightening day, where I got to meet an old friend and learn so many new facts. I feel like the information I gained I will enable me to address the education section on the pledge for the children in care council better.

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