Having studied Educational Science for my undergraduate degree in Germany, I chose the MA in Child Studies at King’s College in order to further my knowledge of child-related issues. I felt that in order to work with children successfully I needed to understand the different factors which contribute to a child’s welfare.
Courses in Child Studies were taught by university staff members as well as external lecturers, which enabled us to study current research and policy developments, as well as problems in practice settings. I particularly felt that the mixture of full- and part-time students was beneficial to the MA, as both groups were able to learn from each other’s experiences. The course work was demanding, but continuous supervision offered me the necessary support in order to reach a high academic standard.
After graduating from King’s College I returned to Germany in order to begin a training programme in child and adolescent psychotherapy. Already in my first week of work at a psychiatric unit I have had to draw upon the multidisciplinary knowledge which I had gained during my year in London. My studies at King’s College benefited me in so many ways and I can highly recommend this programme to anyone interested in a child-related career.
Before working at King’s, I studied for a BA in History and Sociology, an ESRC-funded Masters in Social Research and PhD (Department of Sociology, University of Warwick). My PhD was a sociological study examining children’s (age 8-10 years) understandings of family and close relationships, in particular, the meaning children give to relationships and connectedness in contemporary society. Building upon the data generated for my doctoral research, I have undertaken postdoctoral research at King’s College (Keeping each other safe) which examined the extent to which children perceive themselves, and children more generally, to be able to help and provide emotional and practical support for one another. Asking children to identify those they turn to for support, and the people that they provide support for enabled an exploration of the people at the centre of children’s personal lives. Both projects form the basis of a book about children’s personal lives, which I am currently working on.
This research informs my teaching on the MA Child Studies and the MA International Child Studies. A sociological approach to child studies encourage students to examine children’s experiences of childhood internationally, the ways in which childhood is socially and culturally constructed, and to reflect upon how such constructions manifest in policy and practice, which in turn shapes aspects of childhood experience.
The relatively small cohort of MA Child Studies students allows students and staff to get to know one another well, and makes teaching on, and studying for this MA a rich and rewarding experience. Staff teaching on this programme work hard to ensure that there are opportunities to socialise with those studying on and contributing to the Masters programmes through end of term parties and post-presentation drinks and nibbles. Whilst the primary aim of such get togethers is social, the network of international contacts that students develop and foster throughout these programmes will be invaluable to a future child-related career.
- Listen to Hayley on BBC Radio 4 - Thinking Allowed, Surnames - War, Politics and comic strip Superheroes
I practised at the Family Law bar for over a decade, specialising in child protection cases before moving to work at King’s in 2005. I was a trustee of The Children’s Society from 2003-2011, and was a member of the Good Childhood Inquiry steering committee. As a graduate of the MA Child Studies myself, I am convinced of the value of a multi-disciplinary approach to childhood issues, the importance of evidence-based research to professional practice, and also the stimulation and excitement of learning with and from others from different disciplinary and cultural backgrounds.
I’m interested in all aspects of the child protection system, particularly the state’s responsibility for children in state care, and the apparent tensions between children’s rights and their welfare. My current research is concerned with the educational transitions of care leavers and has led to my interest in ethical issues arising from research with vulnerable children and young people.
If you would like further information about the either of the programmes, or to discuss their suitability for you, you are very welcome to contact me directly at email@example.com.