University of Chester

Programme Specification
Childhood and Youth Professional Studies BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2015 - 2016

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)

Childhood and Youth Professional Studies

Childhood and Youth Professional Studies (named pathways in Early Childhood Practice; Working with Young People; Working with Families; Managing Services; Supporting Teaching and Learning; Specialist Support)

University of Chester

 University of Chester

Riverside, Chester Campus; Warrington Campus; University Centre Shrewsbury.

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

4-6 years

7 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Education & Children's Services Academic and Professional Programmes

QA Subject Benchmarking - Early Childhood Studies; Education Studies; Youth and Community Work

National Occupational Standards - Teachers, Higher Level Teaching Assistants, Learning and Development Support Services

Childhood and Youth Professional Studies Board

Tuesday 27th January 2015

The BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Professional Studies programme has been devised with stakeholder organisations to value and reflect work-based learning in professional contexts. The University of Chester acknowledges the importance of improving outcomes for children and families at the centre of policy making and service delivery at national and local level. As such, this programme reflects a set of beliefs, values, morals and ethical principles for practitioners seeking qualifications and employment in the child, young people and families sector, and promotes equality, respect for diversity and challenges prejudices and stereotypes.  To this end, the programme seeks to:

  • Produce reflective practitioners able to take responsibility for their own learning, equipped with a theorised understanding of practice and an ability to use research and reflection to inform their practice. Students' educational practice will be underpinned by values that they can articulate and for which they can provide a professional rationale;
  • Reflect the view that children and young people are at the heart of the work of Education and Children's Services;
  • Reflect the Faculty of Education and Children's Services' principles of Pedagogy in that it will:

- Promote open minded systematic enquiry and reflective practice;

- Encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning and teachers/tutors to take responsibility for facilitating that learning;

- Enable the expansion of opportunity and the removal of unnecessary barriers to learning;

- Facilitate the development of learning that will equip students as lifelong learners;

- Seek to ensure that all learning and teaching is underpinned by a rationale for equity, diversity and inclusion;

- Take account of relevant legislation concerning the development and well-being of children and young people and any subsequent or consequent legislation;

- Reflect national initiatives and reflect changing contexts in relation to, for example, international - dimensions and global issues;

  • Adopt creative and innovative elements reflecting and responding to national initiatives and changing agendas;
  • Enable students to develop an enhanced understanding of children's development and learning in the early years and factors which impact in later childhood and adolescence.
  • Develop students' critical understanding of appropriate pedagogical approaches to work with children and families
  • Enable students to understand the development and learning needs and experience of all children in a diverse society without prejudice or discrimination

Thus, this programme  aims to:

  • Provide access to learning opportunities which promote personal and professional development undertaken for academic credit and/or personal need;
  • Enhance students' workplace practice through application of the knowledge and skills gained through their degree programme and elsewhere;
  • Deliver a coherent, meaningful, study route which gives participants the opportunity to negotiate their focus of assignments to support learning and development relevant to their current and desired job role(s);
  • Facilitate reflective practice and develop knowledge and understanding of its underpinning theory;
  • Develop the skills and knowledge appropriate to the field(s) of learning within the scope of this programme and reflect on academic development in those fields;
  • Work with businesses and organisations who seek staff development  and CPD opportunities through higher education;
  • Make use of the widest learning resources available, as appropriate to support academic achievement.

At the end of Level 4, students will have:

  • Developed their understanding of children's development and learning in the early years and factors which impact in later childhood and adolescence (ED4905);
  • Identified the needs of children and young people; articulated the roles of professionals when working with children and young people, and developed their knowledge of the underlying principles a concepts (ED4102, ED4013; ED4111);
  • Identified, evaluated and interpreted research and theory related to the learning and development of children and young people, and the role of practitioners working with them relating it to their own and others' practice (all modules).

At the end of Level 5, students will have:

  • Further developed critical evaluation of policy, practice and theory in relation to Inclusion and Diversity (ED5101), Risk and Resilience (ED5102) and supporting Children and Young People's Health and Wellbeing (ED5104) in their own an other practitioners' working context;
  • Developed their knowledge and understanding of Supporting and Managing People (ED5103) or Managing and Leading People (IS5119);
  • Used their knowledge and understanding to identify aspect of practice for further enquiry and carried out their own small-scale research to critically analysis and inform practice (IS5011 and IS5012; or IS5017).

At the end of Level 6, students will be able to:

  • Articulate a set of principles and beliefs underpinning their own practice, and identify and critically assess those of others (ED6102);
  • Developed a critical understanding of pedagogical approaches to working with children and families (ED6101 and ED6102);
  • Critically evaluated the roles of a range of professionals, and the ways in which they work together to support children, young people and families (ED6103 and ED6016)
  • Use their systematic understanding of key theory and concepts to develop and extend their own knowledge and understanding of children, young people and families for personal development and identify and carry out research (all modules, particularly ED6106)

Intellectual and cognitive skills will be developed through subject specific modules and those designed with subject and practice-based content specifically for the programme. Intellectual and cognitive skills will be developed through analysis and reflection on the Work-based and Work-related learning experiences which are central to the programme. Exemplar learning outcomes include the ability to:

  • Contextualise their role within the workplace and critically review their own perspective on the their own an others' area of work;
  • Demonstrate appropriate analysis and synthesis of concepts and/or protocols used in one (work-based) context and demonstrate their effective application in another;
  • Review published literature and demonstrate how current working practices might be informed and enhanced by relevant research and/or contemporary developments in best practice;
  • Evaluated their own role in light of developing knowledge, developing a critically reflective approach to learning and practice (all modules)

This programme is designed to enable students to reflect critically their own professional practices and those of the organisation in which they work. In the initial self-review module, students are asked to examine their own preferred learning styles, political compass and to reflect critically on their pre-suppositions and assumptions as a way of enhancing their learning and development. The assessment strategy of most modules includes a component in which the student is required to reflect critically on their approach to and performance in work-based tasks or initiatives as they strive to become self-reflective practitioners.

Two of the core aims of the programme are to

  • Enable students to develop and demonstrate their application of a range of transferable professional skills through work-based or work-related learning.
  • Develop students' practice that is underpinned by values that they can articulate and for which they can provide a professional rationale;
  • Develop students’ understanding of the multi-agency context in which they work and the skills and confidence to work closely with other professionals in their professional context;

Throughout the programme, students will:

  • Carry out self review
  • Identify and develop work-based skills and processes
  • Design practitioner research
  • Design, implement and evaluate projects
  • Carry out self-critical reflection

Specifically, at level 4, students will:

  • Reflect on their own learning journey, identify their existing knowledge, skills and understanding relevant to the course of study, identify their own learning goals and consider possible opportunities for claiming Accreditation for Prior Learning (APCL/APEL) (ED4110)
  • Identify the academic and personal skills needed for success in the programme; areas for development and developed identified study and academic skills to support their future studies (all modules, particularly ED4110)
  • Identify, review and evaluate aspects of working practice and service delivery for the focus of assignments (ED4905, ED4102, ED4103, IS4011, ED4111)
  • Critically review approaches, methodologies and practices used in the workplace and identify how these might be enhanced (IS4011);

At level 5, students will:

  • Critically evaluate their own and their organisation's practice in aspects of Inclusion and Diversity (ED5101), Risk and Resilience (ED5102) and supporting Children and Young People's Health and Wellbeing (ED5104);
  • Demonstrate understanding of skills and practices for Supporting and Managing People (ED5103) or Managing and Leading People (IS5119)
  • Design, conduct and/or critically review approaches, methodologies and practices used in the workplace (IS5011 & IS5012; or IS5017);

At level 6, students will:

  • Critically evaluate and justify beliefs and values that underpin their own and others' professional practice, locating it within historical, cultural, and political contexts (ED6102);
  • Critically analyse theory and research and relate it to practice within their own and others' practice and working contexts (ED6101, ED6106), as well as in relation to multi-agency working (ED6103);
  • Carry out an extended piece of research (including action research) about an aspect of the lives of children, young people and/or families and/or professional practice (ED6105).

Students will be required to demonstrate effective written and verbal communications skills. Assignments require that students engage with a variety of forms of written submission (e.g. Portfolio, Report, Essay, Position paper), as well as engaging in a variety of styles of presentation (including PowerPoint, Poster, Exhibition, Podcast). Support for the development of skills required for this variety of submissions starts with the first module Self-Review and Transition to Higher Education (ED4110), and continues throughout the programme within modules, as well as through close links with the University's Study Skills Team. At several stages, the form of the submission for assessment will be negotiated with the student as in the NELMs (IS4011, IS5011, IS5012, IS5017). For their final module, students will be expected to research and submit a dissertation on an aspect of professional working with children, young people and/or families (ED6105). By the end of the programme, students will be able to:

  • Communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • Demonstrate logical thought, through the interpretation and application of knowledge and understanding to the working context;
  • Confidently articulate theory, research findings and ideas in a variety of formats relevant to their current and continuing working context.

The programme is concerned to develop graduate skills in addition to specific programme skills. These are developed throughout the programme and there are opportunities in a range of modules for the continuing development of academic and study skills. Opportunities to develop inclusive, creative and reflective practice are a key feature of the programme. Sometimes this is explicit to students but at other times this is integral to some aspects of learning within different modules. Study skills to support transition at entry point and between levels are addressed within module sessions and through support from the Study Skills Team. The development of research skills is supported at part of the NELMs, and is a key element of Level 6 study, leading to the Dissertation module.

There are a number of core themes that are integral to the structure and content of the programme, enabling students to progressively develop their own knowledge and understanding. These provide the organising principles for the programme. There is provision within the programme for students to progressively deepen and widen their understanding of the development of children from birth until their transition to adulthood, and understand the implications of incomplete or inappropriate support from adults. The development of a critical understanding of principles underpinning practice across services for children, young people and families is interwoven across modules at each level and upwardly through all levels. This supports the study of working practices within organisations, as well as in multi-agency, and inter-professional contexts. Throughout the programme, ways of seeking and listening to the voice of children and young people are explored.

The core content includes a strong first year input on understanding and supporting the development of children and young people. This is based on psychological and educational perspectives and includes learning about child protection but this also allows the student to explore theoretical issues in the context of their own work context. An important focus in this is the teaching of observational and assessment techniques that can be used to inform planning for creative learning experiences and health and wellbeing experiences for children, young people and their families.

Children and young people's place in contemporary British society and the support from services and agencies is developed through modules at level 5. Inclusion issues, analysis of cultural, gender inequality and class issues highlighting children and young people as individuals also feature in the range of modules at level 5.  Furthermore, at this level, there is an opportunity for students to investigate aspects of their own professional practice through a negotiated experiential learning for which they will gain academic credit for their learning. The application of many of the issues raised in taught sessions, and through reading can therefore be explored in a professional context. Where a student has a particular professional interest, access to suitable sessions in modules within other programmes may be possible by negotiationas part of NELMs.

At level 6, the programme focusses on developing students as critical thinkers. The probing of current issues concerning children, young people and their families, the principles underpinning practice and the management of multi-agency relationships in the delivery of services draw together learning, practice and research - a feature of the programme. This leads to the undertaking of sustained research.

A part-time student would normally follow four 20-credit modules (or equivalent) at the appropriate level in each year, over four and half years, giving a total of 120 credits at each level (one and a half years per level of study). Only marks at Level 5 and Level 6 contribute towards the final degree classification.  There are six compulsory  modules at level 4, with a including one Negotiated Experiential Learning Module (NELM) from the Work-based Integrated Studies Framework (WBIS) (IS4011). There are three compulsory modules at level 5 - ED5101, ED5102 & ED5104, totalling 60 credits, 20 further credits must be obtained from either ED5103 or IS5119, with the remaining 40 credits at this level studied through NELMs from the WBIS framework which have a work-based focus, totalling 40 credits. The 40 credits will be made up of either two 20 credit NELM modules (IS5011 and IS5102), or one 40 credit NELM module (IS5017). All modules at level 6 are compulsory.

For students formally registered on the discontinued BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies programme who have had to transfer to the BA Childhood and Youth Professional Studies programme, module ED6701 can be taken in lieu of ED6106 and ED6705 may be taken in lieu of ED6105.

Delivery Structure

  Core Modules  
Level 4 = 120 credits

ED4110 Self-Review and Transition to Higher Education*(20 credits)

ED4905 Understanding Child and Adolescent Development (20 credits)

ED4102 Developing Positive Relationships (20 credits)

ED4103 Safeguarding & Child Protection (20 credits)

ED4111 Contexts for Learning and Development (20 credits)**

IS4011 Negotiated Experiential module (20 credits)



Level 5

= 120 credits

ED5101 Diversity & Inclusive Practice (20 credits)

ED5102 Risk & Resilience (20 credits)

ED5103 Supporting & Managing Others (20 credits) or IS5119 Managing & Leading People#

ED5104 Children & Young People's Health & Well-being (20 credits)


Students complete IS5011 NELM (20 credits) and IS5012 NELM (20 credits)


IS5017 NELM (40 credits) only



Level 6

=120 credits


ED6102 Principles Underpinning practice (20 credits)

ED6101 Children, Young People and Families: Contemporary Issues (20 credits)

ED6103 Managing Inter-agency relationships (20 credits)

ED6106 Developing Practice with Children, Young People and Families(20 credits)

ED6105 Dissertation (40 credits)


*Self-Review and Transition to Higher Education  - This is the first module a student will take on their study route, enabling them to engage in the process of reflection and planning their trajectory through the programme. This module is also used to advise students who intend to submit claims for accreditation of prior learning (APL). 

** Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) - Some students may already have achieved this before commencing the programme; others will wish to complete this as part of their level 4 studies. There is an agreement in place that provides students with 20 APCL credits for HLTA which would provide APCL against this module.

#IS5119 is available as a flexible option for students who are unable to register and complete ED5103; the Learning outcomes are comparable. Enrolment and completion of ED5103 is on occasion impossible within personal and University timetabling constraints, e.g. when a student joins part way though the course with some APL, or personal circumstances prohibit attendance when ED5103 is being taught. Delaying enrolment on ED5103 to the following academic year can also on occasion compromise student loan conditions, specifically if a student intends to complete their studies at level 5.

Negotiated Experiential Learning Modules (NELMs)

These modules give credit for work-based learning and project work. Learning is driven by workplace practice and experience. Students customise generic learning outcomes with their own, specific ones negotiated with their tutor, and also have the opportunity to negotiate appropriate module assessment.                       

Guidance will be provided regarding the focus of study for the NELMs. Module leaders will help students to identify areas of learning that would be appropriate at each level. At Level 5, students will complete either two 20-credit modules (IS5011 & IS5012) or one 40-credit module (IS5017). The decision regarding the modules to be studied will be made after discussion and agreement with the module tutor(s). 

Student contact with tutors will be arranged through a combination of group and individual activity, totalling 5 hours per students, with on-line materials available on the VLE, and on-line and face-to-face support from tutors.



Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
ED4102 4 Developing Positive Relationships 20 Comp
ED4103 4 Safeguarding & Child Protection 20 Comp
ED4104 4 Play in the Early Years 20 N/A
ED4105 4 Supporting Teaching and Learning 20 N/A
ED4106 4 Working with Young People 20 N/A
ED4107 4 Working with families 20 N/A
ED4108 4 Understanding organisations 20 N/A
ED4109 4 Aspects of Neurodiversity: Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) 20 N/A
ED4110 4 Self-Review and Transition to Higher Education 20 Comp
ED4111 4 Contexts for Learning and Development 20 Comp
ED4905 4 Understanding Child and Adolescent Development 20 Comp
IS4011 4 Negotiated Experiential Learning Module (single) 20 Comp
IS4017 4 Negotiated Experiential Learning Module (double) 40 N/A
ED5101 5 Diversity & Inclusive Practice 20 Comp
ED5102 5 Risk and Resilience 20 Comp
ED5103 5 Supporting and Managing People 20 Optional
ED5104 5 Children and Young People's Health and Well-being 20 Comp
IS5011 5 Negotiated Experiential Learning Module (single) 20 Optional
IS5012 5 Negotiated Experiential Learning Module (single) 20 Optional
IS5017 5 Negotiated Experiential Learning Module (double) 40 Optional
IS5119 5 Managing and Leading People 20 Optional
ED6101 6 Children, Young People & Families: Contemporary issues 20 Comp
ED6102 6 Principles Underpinning Practice with Children and Young People 20 Comp
ED6103 6 Managing inter-agency relationships 20 Comp
ED6105 6 Dissertation 40 Comp
ED6106 6 Developing Practice with Children, Young People and Families 20 Comp

  • Successful completion of 120 credits at Level 4 of the programme entitles a student to a Certificate of Higher Education.
  • Successful completion of 120 credits at Level 5 of the programme entitles a student to a Diploma in Higher Education.
  • Successful completion of 120 credits at Level 6 of the programme entitles a student to  a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours.

Admission of students shall be based on the University of Chester's expectation that the student will be able to achieve the standard required for the academic award.

The typical applicant will have a minimum of 200 UCAS points of which 180 points must be obtained from:

• NQF/QCF level 3 qualification in a relevant subject (e.g. Cache L3 Diploma in Childcare and Education, Level 3 Diploma or Extended Diploma for the Children & Young People’s workforce); or

• Two subjects at GCE Advanced Level or a pass in one GCE Advanced Level Double Award; or

• BTEC National Award; and

• English and Mathematics GCSE grade C or above (or equivalent).

Students will be expected to demonstrate all or some of the following:

• Working with children and /or young people in a paid or voluntary capacity at least 8 hours/week;

• Committed to continue working with children and young people, with possible progression to achieve a professionally accredited qualification;

• support for their intended work-based learning demonstrated through a reference from their employer.

Applications are filtered through the admission systems. After an initial screening, suitable applicants are invited to an information session/ interview session to ascertain the extent of their experience and their suitability for this programme. This ensures that applicants with atypical backgrounds, who may not meet all the entry criteria set out above, are considered. As work-based learning is an integral part of the programme, discussions include assessment of the appropriateness of any current work experience and level of support available.

As part of the application process applicants may be required to provide a written statement of no more than 500 words, which will be used to make an initial assessment of their basic skills and any learning support needs. The applicants’ experience, aspirations, motivation, work history, maturity and commitment will be discussed and used, along with the application form, to inform the guidance given, and ultimately whether a place on the programme is offered.

Within the admissions process the University seeks to give advanced standing/credit for prior learning appropriate to specified learning outcomes. For example, an applicant who has met the entry requirements and who has acquired level 4 credits through the completion of a course or courses at another HEI may apply for exemption as appropriate from modules within level 4.

The Level 6 Childhood and Youth Professional Studies modules are also available as a part-time option to students who have completed a Foundation Degree in a relevant subject (e.g. Early Years Practice; Managing Services; Teaching Assistance) and wish to gain full honours.

Consistent with the University's commitment to widening access and participation, the Faculty of Education and Children's Services encourages applications from mature students and from groups normally under-represented in higher education. The general policy is to look for a good level of literacy, together with proven interest and/or experience in an appropriate subject. Prospective candidates can take advantage of the University 'Open' and 'Applicant Days' that take place across the year where they can meet with programme team members and wider university staff and have specific questions answered.

It is essential for engagement with, and completion of the programme that students will be required to be employed in either paid or voluntary capacity for two days per week or equivalent in a relevant context. Such employment will normally be working within and/or managing services for children, young people and/or families. The University will not be responsible for arranging work experience, however programme personnel will provide advice and support where possible. Students are responsible for ensuring that they hold a current and valid criminal record check through the Disclosure and Barring Service applicable to the context in which they work.

There are no benchmark characteristics specific to this programme. However the programme is designed to embrace subject benchmark statements or relevant occupational standards or equivalents which delineate specialist practice areas where appropriate. However, relevant National Occupational Standards were used to develop programme and module aims for this programme.  The following informed the development of this programme:

Youth work

Working with parents

Higher Level Teaching Assistants


Leadership and management in care - service standards

The content, delivery and assessment of modules have been designed in such a way to maximise the opportunity for students to use and reflect on the work-based experience. A range of learning and teaching approaches take account of best practice, particularly those which maximise active learning and take account of the learning styles of students. Examples of learning and teaching strategies will include:
  • group lectures with students encouraged to question and discuss
  • seminars as a whole group; small groups, pairs as appropriate
  • project work in learner groups
  • student led discussions, seminars and presentations
  • individual and small group tutorials
  • use of audio-visual and eLearning material

The semi-negotiated nature of the programme requires that tutorial staff adopt flexible strategies for teaching and learning. A range of approaches will thus be used depending on the focus of the module and the mode of delivery appropriate to the client group. Some examples are listed below:

  • Individual face-to-face tuition plus support and guidance via e-mail and telephone (e.g. Self-Review and Exit Review and Progression, Negotiated Experiential Learning modules)
  • Blended Learning predominantly using a web-based VLE but with additional e-mail/ telephone tutorial support
  • Group Workshops plus online and e-mail support
  • Role play activities and analysis of case studies
  • The use of online discussion groups

Students are supported and their progress monitored by:-

i. e-mail, phone and where feasible, face-to-face contact.

ii. Formative feedback during class-based activities and on assignments.

iii. Contact by their PAT three times per year

In general terms, students are assessed on their ability to:
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding, in breadth and in depth, of the subject matter studied;
  • Discuss, interpret and critically analyse a range of literature;
  • Utilise the transferable communication and rhetorical skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing and arguing;
  • Conduct independent and collaborative research, using relevant skills and methods.

The assessment methods used in each module correlate with the learning outcomes for that module. A range of assessment approaches is used to provide evidence of learning for the specified outcomes for each module. Where feasible, assessment should be used to inform planning to ensure that subsequent teaching addresses the identified needs of the students. Students are kept informed about the assessment requirements of each element of their programme. The formal assessment requirements are described in each module descriptor and outlined in each module handbook. As well as the generic assessment criteria, students may be provided with assignment specific criteria: this is provided in module handbooks, available to students at the beginning of each module. Module handbooks and learning outcomes are also accessible on-line. Reassessment generally takes the same form as the original. Where this differs this is made clear in each module handbook, (based on information showing in each approved module descriptor). QAA national level descriptors for levels 4, 5 and 6 also show in the Programme Learning Toolkit (on-line) for reference.

In the spirit of work-based learning, the focus of the assessment, and/or the assessment method within this programme is often negotiable within set parameters outlined in the module descriptors, allowing participants to present workplace artefacts (where appropriate), and negotiate the focus and forms of assessment that will also have relevance to the workplace. Assessment and learning are seen as complementary and interdependent. Where modules allow students to negotiate individual assignments, these will be designed to assess all or some of the learning outcomes.

Following successful completion of this programme, students may progress to a range of careers and/or further study and professional training. It is also anticipated that some students will go on to work in areas which require non-specialist degree qualifications. Students may, therefore, consider employment or further study aligned to health, social service or other children's services related disciplines. Some will seek postgraduate study which would enable them to teach. Other may opt to continue their studies to to Post-graduate level. The Faculty of Education and Children's Services offers a range of options appropriate for graduates of this programme, e.g. PGCE, MA Early Childhood, MA Marginalisation & Inclusion, MA Creativity in the Professions, MA Educational Leadership, MA Dyslexia Research and Practice and MA in Teaching & Learning. Other Faculties provide other possible exit routes, e.g. MA Social Work, or entry to Nursing Programmes.

Other possible exit routes include Early Years Teacher Status, JNC accredited programmes for Youth Workers.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.



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