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Why choose the School of Applied Social Sciences


Over 95% of our Health and Social Care graduates are in employment or further study 15 months after graduating (HESA Graduate Outcomes, 2023)

Our Health and Social Care courses rank 1st in their subject table for graduation prospects – outcomes (CUG, 2024)

With our Change Maker programme we ask you to take an active role in bringing about change and working towards social justice

About the course

This course is aimed specifically for those wanting to work with children and/or families giving you the skills and knowledge to pursue or develop your career across a range of associated work settings. It runs alongside our MA Childhood Youth and Family Studies: Youth Work Pathway

The course provides a broad level of understanding relevant to areas such as early years; nursery worker or manager; family support worker or manager; child protection; and pastoral support roles in primary education.

You start by studying core areas looking at the range of experiences children young people and families may have; how professionals involved may be best placed to respond; effective and ethical practice; and the relevant theoretical frameworks that underpin practice. You can then follow your interests with a choice of optional units while building your research skills in preparation for your final research project.

Why choose this course?

  • Explore the theory practice research and policy that underpins children’s youth and family services
  • Build your evidence-based knowledge and skills and learn to apply them to changing childhood contexts
  • Explore the cultural and social constructions of childhood youth and families and the impact they have on children and young people’s everyday lives
  • Develop your understanding of children’s rights; the ideologies of welfare; the responsibilities for welfare; and their practical application
  • Challenge yourself by undertaking an independent research project in a subject area of interest
  • Learn from research-active academics who publish frequently including books and articles in world-leading academic journals and also feature regularly in local and national media

Course Leader - Dr Tina Salter

I have been teaching youth and community work in a number of educational settings since 2004. I qualified as a youth and community worker in 1994 and have gone on to be awarded a Masters and Professional Doctorate in Coaching and Mentoring from Oxford Brookes University. I developed a keen interest in mentoring and coaching as this was an area I specialised when working as a youth work and manager in the area of youth inclusion. Part of my doctoral research looked at comparing different mentoring and coaching disciplines and more recent research suggest that greater opportunities to coach young people using strengths-based approaches might be more effective than depending on older, deficit mentoring models.

Course Leader - Dr Tina Salter

I have been teaching youth and community work in a number of educational settings since 2004. I qualified as a youth and community worker in 1994 and have gone on to be awarded a Masters and Professional Doctorate in Coaching and Mentoring from Oxford Brookes University. I developed a keen interest in mentoring and coaching as this was an area I specialised when working as a youth work and manager in the area of youth inclusion. Part of my doctoral research looked at comparing different mentoring and coaching disciplines and more recent research suggest that greater opportunities to coach young people using strengths-based approaches might be more effective than depending on older, deficit mentoring models.

What will you study?


Dissertation In Childhood, Youth And Family Studies

In this unit you will actively engage in researching a question of organisational or practice importance that is relevant to the discipline of childhood, youth and family studies and your own area of interest. The research may be based on primary or secondary data but must present original analysis.

In consultation with an allocated dissertation supervisor, you will draw on the skills and knowledge developed in the research methods units to provide an in depth study of their topic, aligning the work to appropriate theoretical framework(s) gained through engagement in core units in semester 1 and 2. You will provide extended critical appraisal of the literature, and of the findings from their own investigation, and applying this learning to policy and/or practice in the discipline of childhood, youth and family studies and practice.

The unit aims therefore to support you in honing your specific subject knowledge and in gaining experience of conducting original research applied to the broad field of childhood, youth and family studies.

Young People Group Offending And Violent Crime

This unit draws upon and critically examines comparative evidence and research from a range of European and North American settings and sociological and criminological theory to explore the nature, extent and impact of violent group offending by young people and how we might respond effectively to it.  In doing so, the unit examines the social, economic, political and cultural forces that have shaped both violent group offending, and it will address questions of policy strategy and intervention and consider the evidence base of current practice in the UK and elsewhere.  

 

The unit will provide students with the opportunity to analyse the implications and complexities of researching group offending and the ‘gang’.  It will also equip students with the conceptual tools and knowledge base to critically analyse policy and practice in relation to group offending amongst ‘socially excluded’ young people and will enable students to link the study of youth group violence to broader themes explored in the core units.  

Dimensions Of Childhood, Youth And Families

Two key questions frame the development of this unit. First, how has research helped to shape contemporary biological, cognitive, social and cultural explanations of childhood and youth?  Second, what are the contemporary practice issues and challenges which face professionals working with children, young people and families today?

On this basis, the primary aims of the unit are to:

1)      Provide you with a solid conceptual and methodological grounding in contemporary theoretical perspectives of childhood, youth and families, so that you can effectively apply theory and evidence to your practice.

2)      Equip you with the tools to safeguard children and young people, manage risk and be dynamic professionals so that you can effectively work in the best interests of children, young people and families.

The unit is highly relevant to contemporary practice, drawing on the most up-to-date research, practice and policy.  

Contextual Safeguarding: Theoretical Foundations And Practical Implications

This unit will draw on contemporary research to increase students’ understanding of, and ability to critically engage with, the Contextual Safeguarding framework and its application in response to extra-familial harm. It will also enable them to understand the theoretical underpinnings of contextual approaches, and examine the extent to which such foundations are evident in local, national and international child protection systems.

Since the inclusion of Contextual Safeguarding in England’s statutory child protection guidelines in 2018, and the multiple references made to the idea by policymakers since, understanding the intention and use of the approach in practice is a critical component of contemporary child safeguarding practice. Given this, the unit will identify current academic debates within the field of child protection and adolescent development, and explore the current and potential future implications of Contextual Safeguarding theory for policy and practice within the UK.  Students will be encouraged to critically engage with debates around: the conceptualisation and assessment of risk and safety; contextual and individual intervention; the role of social work in responding to harm beyond families, and the potential intersection of Contextual Safeguarding with broader multi-agency approaches to place-based support and intervention.

The Conceptual Framework: Theories Shaping Public Policy For Children And Young People's Services

This unit offers a critical analysis of theories and ideas that inform public policy pertaining to children, young people, their families and communities. It aims to engage students in addressing the conflicts and synergies between theoretical perspectives that address child protection, life span development, criminality etc. Students are expected to locate debates and controversies, which enliven these fields of study, in their historical, social, economic, political and cultural context. In particular these theories are explored against the framework of structural inequality and disadvantage.

Student learning will draw on ideas of classical sociology and psychology, mediated through the lens of recent research, policy and practice evidence.  

Coaching And Mentoring Practice

Coaching and mentoring take place in a variety of professional and private settings, often leading to a confusion about how these interventions might be applied or relevant to each context. The aim of this unit is to examine how best to define coaching and mentoring in a range of settings and explore how they can be appropriate applied by developing key skills. You will relate your theoretical learning to your own working context and consider how to develop your practice during and after your study of the unit.

Effective And Ethical Practice When Working With Children, Young People And Families

What skills, knowledge and values underpin they ways in which front line practitioners engage children, young people and their families using their services in practice? This unit will enable you to develop the skills and knowledge that form the basis of relationship-building with service users across youth work, health, social care, criminal justice and educational settings. 

The unit will cover four key areas: theories of working with people, methods of intervention and practical communication, interpersonal and assessment skills. It will also explore the tensions and challenges in working with those who do not welcome the intervention of professionals. The unit will also ask you to reflect on the ways in which structural inequality and discrimination can affect the ways in which service users engage with professionals and techniques to work with conflict, ambivalence and reluctance. Finally, the unit will enhance your understanding of working in an anti-oppressive way and how to adopt ethical practice principles in your day-to-day engagement with service users, by practicing within an ethical framework which forefronts the rights of service users. 

Research Methods 1 : Setting Deep Foundations

The core aim of this unit is to enable students to combine existing policy and data with research evidence to develop a critical appreciation of their chosen topic. Students will be able to critically appraise and evaluate the existing evidence base and summarise this learning in the form of a scoping report.

These skills are increasingly considered essential for practitioners in the human services, particularly those in leadership roles where service outcomes need to be evidenced and approaches to practice justified. This unit will enable students to inform decision making with a wide range of evidence, evaluate and thus prioritise organisational objectives, and influence the development, and evaluate the impact, of organisational strategy.

Research Methods 2 : Design, Data Collection And Ethics

The core aim of this unit is to enable student to propose research which is grounded in the existing evidence, robustly designed, makes appropriate use of data collection methods and is ethically sound. Students will be able to design robust and appropriate research which, when undertaken, would provide a valuable contribution to the existing evidence base.

The ability to design research which influences the development of policy and practice is a valuable skill in the human services. This unit offers students the opportunity to become familiar with the tools and practice of social research.

Critical Considerations For Relationship And Sex Education

Relationship and sex education (RSE) is now a statutory subject in the UK. There has long been strong evidence of the positive effects of school-based sex education on preventing teenage pregnancy and reducing STI transmission. However, a systematic literature review, carried out in 2021, of three decades of research of school-based programmes, returned strong evidence of the wider benefits of comprehensive RSE. These include, developing healthy relationships; prevention of relationship abuse; prevention of child sexual abuse; improved media literacy and an appreciation of sexual diversity.

In April 2021, the government instructed Ofsted to carry out a rapid review of sexual harassment and violence in schools, following the revelations in the media of the Everyone’s Invited website campaign. The importance of implementing a whole school approach to comprehensive RSE was highlighted as a key factor in preventing sexual harassment and harmful sexualised behaviours in school.

However, studies show professionals lack confidence and the skills to deliver inclusive RSE. Professionals (teachers, social workers and Youth workers) rarely receive any specific training regarding working with children and young people around issues of RSE. 

Unfortunately, social conditions persist where attitudes to teenage sex are seen as problematic and adults refuse to acknowledge young people’s right to sexual citizenship. This is especially true for young women. Young people have repeatedly asked for non-judgemental information to help them navigate their relationships, both online and in the real world. 

This unit is designed to introduce students to the key concepts in policy and practice for delivering inclusive, rights-based comprehensive Relationship Education to children and young people.

Social Enterprise

This unit aim to introduce students to social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. The unit is organised around three main themes that will help students understand the various dimensions of social entrepreneurship. First, the history, growth and politics of social entrepreneurship. Second, the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that underpins social entrepreneurship, social innovation and social change. Third, the ‘how’ of social entrepreneurship, e.g. designing and setting up social enterprise project/ venture. The underlining premise  of the unit is for students to understand and appreciate the transformative power of citizens in tackling, addressing and advancing solutions to myriad of problems in the society such as poverty, human rights abuse, unemployment, homelessness, destruction of the environment, health inequalities, social and political conflicts, sustainable energy, sanitation, education, human trafficking and disabilities. 

 

The unit will introduce students to the contributions of civil society sector, and successful social enterprises. Hence, case examples would be drawn from different social enterprise ventures across the world, as this would give students an appreciation of ‘context’ and understanding of global issues. The relevance of this unit hinges on the need for students to appreciate and understand the importance of social entrepreneurship and the role of social enterprises in the 21st century, in particular seeing themselves as active participants, pattern breaking individuals, and change agents. 

How will you be assessed?


Assessment aims to enhance the learning experience rather than simply provide academic hurdles to be surmounted. Nonetheless it must offer a reliable test of the student's level of academic attainment. To achieve this the assessment methods used must relate closely to the intended unit learning outcomes as evidenced in the UIFs whilst allowing the student maximum scope for creativity in fulfilling them. The assessment strategy is intended to enable students to: 1. Show originality in the application of knowledge and understand how the boundaries are advanced through research. 2. Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively and show originality in tackling and solving problems. 3. Have the qualities needed for employment in circumstances requiring sound judgement personal responsibility and initiative in complex and unpredictable professional environments. The range of assessment methods to be used will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their competence in a variety of ways reflective of different learning styles and will ensure the focus upon a critical awareness of the literature and the application of knowledge into practice with regard to the current social and political frameworks. Formative assessment is integrated at the start to allow for a level of reflection. A focus upon the application of theory to policy and practice would be expected within such an award and students will be expected as part of the assessment process to consider the impact of such knowledge on both policy and practice especially via the critical appraisal of case studies and the identification of best practice. Focus is placed on professional skills and assessing students ability to apply learning to practice. Feedback on assessments and the reflections gained through the portfolio will enable students to critically assess their learning and develop where necessary. A range of appropriate and effective assessments will enable students to demonstrate their acquisition of knowledge and skills. The assessment methods used across the course include: - Written essay assignments - these may vary from concise reviews of current research analysis of case studies to more in depth synthesis and evaluation of broader topics and demonstrate your ability to provide written evaluation and synthesis of - current scholarship. - Oral presentations that demonstrate verbal and presentational skills in communicating complex and challenging tasks to others. - A portfolio which captures learning in the placement setting will be used for students on the youth work pathway to evidence - students application of the national occupational standards for youth work - The Dissertation allowing you to undertake a complex research project and communicate knowledge findings and recommendations demonstrating your ability to implement and deliver a self directed complex and solution focused professional task. The assessments will develop incrementally across the course and allow students to gain skills and acquire knowledge receive feedback on their performance thus allowing students to implement knowledge and feedback into subsequent assessments. There is a progression point with an exam board to confirm students can progress from PG Dip to dissertation stage. At the end of the course the assessments will demonstrate students ability to analyse evaluate and syntheses current knowledge and communicate this knowledge in both written and presentational formats and to demonstrate a range of high level transferable skills attractive to prospective employers and as evidenced in the course learning outcomes.

Careers


This course is designed to enable you to enhance your career prospects across professional boundaries by broadening and deepening your knowledge and understanding of lives of children and young people and the services available to them. Students often go on to work in areas such as youth work; social welfare; and education specialising either in children young people or family work. This course also helps students to progress into more senior positions further develop their practice or go on to become policy-makers.

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements

Fees for this course

UK 2022/23

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2022/23 is £8,500 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees and living costs. Visit www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email admission@beds.ac.uk

International 2022/23

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2022/23 is available at www.beds.ac.uk/intfees

If you have any questions around fees and funding, please email international@beds.ac.uk

UK 2023/24

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2023/24 is £9,350 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees and living costs. Visit www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email admission@beds.ac.uk

International 2023/24

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2023/24 is £14,600

If you have any questions around fees and funding, please email international@beds.ac.uk

Fees for this course

UK 2022/23

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2022/23 is £8,500 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees and living costs. Visit www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email admission@beds.ac.uk

International 2022/23

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2022/23 is available at www.beds.ac.uk/intfees

If you have any questions around fees and funding, please email international@beds.ac.uk

UK 2023/24

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2023/24 is £9,350 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees and living costs. Visit www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email admission@beds.ac.uk

International 2023/24

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2023/24 is £14,600

If you have any questions around fees and funding, please email international@beds.ac.uk

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