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Educational aims

  • to develop and enhance theoretical, practice and research skills and knowledge about working with children and families in a wide range of settings
  • to develop your interdisciplinary research, knowledge and policy base underpinning multi-agency working.

Learning outcomes

The degree provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

You will develop knowledge and understanding in the following areas:

  • the emotional, physical, intellectual, social and moral learning and development in the lives of children from birth to twelve years, and an opportunity to learn about other age groups as part of contextualising your studies
  • the principles, theories and research that underpin and inform policy and practice, and how these inform the range of complex issues that impact on effective communication with children and support transitions
  • the relevant curriculum across the UK for children from birth to eight, including observation and assessment strategies and procedures
  • the way ethnicity, religion, caste/class, gender, sexuality and disability impact on children and their development, and the implications of differentiation, inequality and exclusion ­ and strategies designed to tackle these issues. This will include safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, and understanding the importance of children’s voices and perspectives
  • interdisciplinary research, knowledge and policy, and provision relating to regulating/promoting and safeguarding children’s status, welfare and learning. This will include how these impact on children (and adults) within different contexts and an appreciation of multi-agency working
  • further develop your research skills and show how research can contribute to both academic and professional understanding of the lives of children.

Cognitive skills

You will develop your ability to:

  • analyse and evaluate concepts, theories policy and practice critically and systematically, and understand and analyse the different approaches to the study of children, childhood and families
  • identify connections and discontinuities between knowledge and its application in practical contexts, and critically analyse conditions and processes that lead to effective inter-professional collaboration and multi-agency working
  • select and critically analyse information, principles, understandings, ideas and evidence, and formulate proposals and apply them in discussions, arguments and practice
  • identify and reflect on your own and others’ values and positions, and assess these in relation to policy and practice
  • identify and reflect on your own and others’ values and positions, and how these impact on practice and show evidence of reflective practice through written case studies, assignments and projects
  • critically read and evaluate research literature, formulate projects using appropriate methodologies, and interpret and apply research findings to practice.

Practical and/or professional skills

You will develop the ability to:

  • acquire and critically apply the research, analytical and evaluative skills needed for effective practice and the promotion of equality across specialist services and work with children. This will include team work and project work, valuing other professionals and supporting and/or supervising colleagues as appropriate
  • evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to problem-solving as they relate to different employment roles. This will include managing and organising time, resources, records and information to support decision-making, and developing a skilled and ethical approach to working with children
  • demonstrate the experience, knowledge and skills that underpin good practice and apply theory to practice. This will include developing effective communication and engagement skills
  • carry out aspects of work roles in relation to children and their families to the standards expected in employment. This will include understanding the importance of information-sharing and developing critical analytical practice in listening to children, promoting children’s well-being, and multi-agency working
  • design, implement, monitor and assess programmes to support children’s development and learning. This will include critically analysing policies, practice and evidence bases for listening to children, promoting children’s well-being, and multi-agency working
  • appreciate the importance of evidence-based practice and the difficulties associated with research.

Key skills

You will develop the ability to:

  • organise, synthesise and interrogate opinions and arguments, associated with children’s development and learning and childhood. This will include taking account of appropriate conventions for academic writing
  • communicate and write accurately and clearly in styles that take account of purpose and content, including interpretation of graphical and numerical data when appropriate
  • read independently and purposefully, identifying and recording what is relevant from a range of resource material and different media, and responding sensitively to diverse viewpoints
  • participate effectively in communities of practice in face-to-face communication and through computer-mediated communication
  • develop and apply information literacy and ICT to identify, search for and critically evaluate information in complex contexts. This will include using ICT skills within work-based learning modules
  • analyse tasks and make plans to tackle them. This will include planning and managing time, reflecting on and learning from personal experience, and applying own learning to theoretical and practical issues
  • reflect on the learning process, consider your personal progress and personal experience, identify strengths and weaknesses, and apply your learning to practical issues. This will include actively seeking and learning from feedback to improve performance
  • manage research information and data, and reflect on the role of the researcher.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding of children from birth to twelve and other age groups as part of contextualising your studies, developing interdisciplinary research, knowledge and policy base underpinning multi-agency working are developed through the main teaching materials and in-text questions, tasks and activities. The main teaching material is offered through supported open learning modules and includes module texts, audiovisual material, and directed reading. Summative assessment is by written tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and by end-of-module examinations where appropriate. Tutors support your development through online and telephone support, letters, tutorials, and written feedback on assignments.

Cognitive skills are assessed by module assignments. These will allow you to demonstrate your ability to structure a clear and reasoned argument and to critically analyse module issues. The Personal Development Plan and Work-based Learning Project will offer you the opportunity to demonstrate independent thinking skills; to demonstrate your understanding of theoretical concepts and the underpinning principles for practice as it applies to children, childhood and families in a work-based context, and to show evidence of reflective practice and to use appropriate methods of enquiry.

Key skills are promoted within learning materials and as part of continuous assessment. Assessment criteria of TMAs require you to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in a variety of formats. Learning skills focusing on use of information literacy, planning, self-assessment, identifying strengths and weaknesses, setting priorities and targets, and reviewing and reflecting are a feature of the Personal Development Plan, the general approach to key skills and of the Work-based Learning components. Team work and interdisciplinary and multi-agency working are fostered through work-based projects and case studies and by encouraging students to work together electronically. Assessment may include witness testimony from colleagues on contributions to team efforts. Use of information technology will be a requirement of the delivery and support process for the Work-based Learning components. Opportunities to develop personal ICT skills are a component of the Work-based Learning modules.

Professional skills are developed as part of:

  • an increased awareness and understanding of good practice
  • understanding the importance of information-sharing and developing critical analytical practice in relation to listening to children, promoting children’s well-being, and multi-agency working
  • supporting children’s learning and development by means of teaching materials and work-based reflective practice.

The assessment of practice skills is via module work and the Work-based Learning component of the degree and through the submission of assignments. This will include developing an appropriate approach to recording your development in relation to your work-based practice.