Thursday, 14 May 2009

Reliance on a worker

One of the consequences of the development of Family Outreach Workers as single point of call for mothers in deprived areas seems to be their often total reliance on a specific individuals for their information seeking.   Again I was visiting a meeting run by a children’s centre in Leeds the other day and got talking to an outreach working about my observations.    She agreed that this was sometimes a problem, reciting an incident the other day where a vulnerable mother had a crisis—but would only work with a specific worker.  She speculated that had they not been able to contact the worker and get hold of her this mother may have gone without help.

So what are the implications for working with the vulnerable mothers?   Is it the role of the worker to be the single gatekeeper to be a single point of call, or should a less dependent relationship based on personal responsibility some hoe be fostered… if so how should this be done?    That is the eternal question…

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

False Starts

It is the 12th of May, so I am now a week over, from the point I said that I would start chapter 2 and also start refining my data.   Worry has started to set in, this week we (my supervisors) and I have agreed which examiners I might like to have for my final viva.   This is now exactly a year away, and that is very very worrying. 

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Chapter 4 – off, off and away

A milestone achieved today, I have sent my fist “very” draft chapter off to my supervisors just another five chapters to write.    In reality I know that I should have sent if off a month ago, but there is that need to make it as complete as it can be.

A second set of eyes

I had an opportunity today to have have a fellow PhD studded to look through one of my transcripts.    The premise here is that I can then see what they have suggested as preliminary codes and than check my work.   

I was a very useful time and provided some great feedback.  One of the main problems I am finding is that of isolation,.  You put you head down and work away—you need that fresh set of eyes on your work.  My question is why hadn’t I done it earlier?

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

LILAC 2009

Wow what a LILAC the organisation was fantastic.   The two evening events great, especially the conference dinner at the National Museum of Cardiff, well worth a visit if you are in the Cardiff area.

Well back to the conference.  I suppose my one single criticism of LILAC is that it is still very much grounded in the developments and experiences of practitioners—rather new and pioneering research.   That sill they gave me 45 minutes to present my preliminary findings, which was fantastic.    The session was very useful, not only because it gave me some confidence in what I am doing but also I have some positive feedback and areas that I could do to look at.  Anyone out there experts on the satisficing literature?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Improving Children's Services

From Sure Start to Children's Centres

Speakers: Professor Angela Anning and Mog Ball

Centre for Research into Childhood (CRinCh)

This was a very seminar that I attended yesterday. The two speakers where launching their new book

Improving Services for Young Children: From Sure Start to Children's Centres

The seminar was very enlightening and certainly for me, a novice in this field, helped to fill out many of the blanks in my knowledge especially regarding the socio-political background underpinning the radical policy shift and investment into early years during the past 10 years. The two speakers have both played important roles in reviewing the effectiveness of Sure Start. Both were in the lead steering body and each commissioned elements of the National Evaluation of Sure Start, one of the most expensive and largest social science reviews undertaken in the UK by the government.

So what did I take away from the seminar? Well I now have a much better understanding of the policy decisions leading up to the £500 million investment by the government in 1997. I had not fully realising how far the UK had fallen behind other leading industrial countries at the time in the provision and support for very young children and their parents or to quote Mog Ball "the government saw it as a private matter as to what happened between children and parents in the 80s and 90s." Consequently this had lead to great swaths of inequality and poverty throughout the country with essentially little support for those parents and families most in need leading to a cycle of poverty, ill health and unemployment. Regardless of one’s political colours you cannot help marvel at the socio-cultural shift that has happened in the past 10 years since New Labour fresh from their general election campaign raise the this area as a major focus for investment and policy. Only this week we have Labour and the Conservatives during their part conference in Birmingham trying to outdo each her with family policies!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Gender Divide

A predominant issues that needs careful reflection is the reality that although my research deals with parents the reality of my work to date means that it is mothers who form my sample. It is interesting to note that even today, women seem to be, by far the primary care givers for children. An example of this is with the Bingo 'n' Butties group that I attend on Wednesday mornings, not one man attends the session bar me. This also goes to all of the support staff. Across the service and outreach workers that I have met not one of them is male. Does this matter? Certainly there has been a lot written in but the subject with Sure Start guidance suggesting that there should be "a male Father's outreach post" although I have yet to come across one.

This question can be asked on two levels: a) how it relates to me as a researcher and b) sociologically. Dealing with the first point how does it affect my research? Certainly many feminist researcher talk about women interviewing women.

Dealing with the sociological question -- this is something I don't have any ready answer to. In an attempt to find out a little more I am reading Diane Reay's Class Work : Mother's Involvement in their Children's Primary Schooling. Perhaps it should be no real surprised that mothers take the predominate role in dealing with children, yet my thoughts were that in our current world men would take a bigger role. Then again reflect against the growing feminisation of say education, especially primary schools, or the near total feminisation of any kind of early years provision should we be surprised where men are absent from child care?