Rachel received a BA in Geography at the University of Cambridge and went on to complete an MSc in Social Policy and Planning at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an MA in Social Work at the University of Warwick.

From 2011-2012 Rachel worked as a Graduate Trainee in Policy at Cafcass and between 2014-2015 worked at the Department for Education.

During her social work training Rachel gained experience in family support in the non-profit sector and in child protection with Solihull children’s services. Rachel currently volunteers at a children’s contact centre.

Research and scholarship

Project title: A comparative analysis of child protection decision-making in England and Finland.


This study will explore how social workers in England and Finland make child protection decisions. Despite developments in comparative research around child protection systems, few studies have considered the role of culture and politics in shaping professional judgements. Comparing practice in England and Finland will provide an insight into how national welfare context influences deliberation and the decision process.

The research design for this study is separated into two stages. Stage one includes a systematic review of empirical literature based on adapted methods from the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Coordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre). Stage two comprises a two site qualitative data collection exercise, based on interviews with social workers in England (n = 15) and Finland (n = 15), structured around case vignettes.

Supervisors: Professor Steven M. Shardlow and Dr Emma Head

Further information

  • Postgraduate Student Representative, 2015- 2016
  • Co-organiser of Keele Postgraduate Research Forum, 2015- 2016

Conference Papers:

  • 4th Biennial International Symposium on Decisions, Assessment, Risk and Evidence in Social Work, University of Ulster, 5th - 6th July 2016
  • 6th European Conference for Social Work Research, Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon, 30th March - 1st April 2016
  • PhD Pre Conference, 13th Annual International Social Work & Society Academy Conference, University of Sarajevo, August 2015
  • Social Sciences Postgraduate Symposium, Keele University, 18th June 2015
  • Social Work from a Global Perspective, International Summer School in Social Work and the Social Sciences, University of Lapland, May 2015