University of Chester

Programme Specification
Managing Services for Children and Young People FDA
2014 - 2015

Foundation Arts Degree

Managing Services for Children and Young People

Managing Services for Children and Young People

University of Chester

University of Chester

West Cheshire College

Warrington Campus

 West Cheshire College



Residential and Open,

6 semesters

5 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Education & Children's Services Academic and Professional Programmes

Foundation Degree Subject Benchmark Statements (QAA 2004).

Faculty of Education & Children’s Services FdA Subject Assessment Board

Wednesday 1st April 2009

The spirit of the Every Child Matters agenda is at the heart of Foundation Degree development in the Faculty. This was a key piece of documentation which was influential in the programme's development, the essence of which is still pertinent today. The need for inter-professional collaboration led the programme team to analyse the relevant Children and Young People's Workforce Professional Standards and, where possible, design core modules around common professional needs. In this way opportunities to develop trans-professional understanding and improved understanding of the roles within the Children and Young People's Workforce in the wider context are exploited. This FdA is one of a suite of FdAs offered by the Faculties of Education & Children's Services and Health & Social Care.  It shares common modules with the FdA Teaching Assistance, FdA Early Years Practice and the FdA Integrated working with Children Young People and families delivered by the Faculty of Health & Social Care.  This programme seeks to meet the needs of those managing services for children and young people in three key ways:

  • by being underpinned by the common core of skills for the children's workforce,
  • by addressing issues of interprofessional, integrated working both theoretically, through the content, and practically through integrated learning with other professionals in core modules
  • by a focus on specific management skills and understanding.

Specifically it aims:

  • To provide the appropriate knowledge and understanding required for the development of an effective integrated workforce in children and young people's services;
  • To deliver the professional and practical skills and competences which are required to work professionally in an integrated service provision, including strategic planning to ensure children and young people flourish in a safe environment;
  • To develop the attitudes skills and knowledge necessary for effective management of interprofessional working through providing opportunities to learn collaboratively with other sections of the Children's Workforce;
  • To ensure that students can demonstrate within their practice that they have adopted appropriate values and belief systems for integrated services, including anti-discriminatory and inclusive practice;
  • To develop students' self awareness and reflection, including their ability to evaluate their effect on other people and the environment in which they work;
  • To develop students' ability to understand and apply the principles of evidence-based practice;
  • To develop students as reflective practitioners, with an understanding of the need for and commitment to lifelong learning;

To develop the personal and transferable skills critical to professionals in Integrated Services. These skills include effective communication with children, young people, their families and other professionals, team working, IT and problem solving.

Knowledge and Understanding

(i) knowledge and critical understanding of the principles of care, learning and development, including those relating to anti-discriminatory practice and equality of opportunity; (evidenced throughout the programme)
(ii) demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the regulatory and legislative framework for early years provision; (evidenced specifically through ED4536 and ED5533)
(iii) significant current and emerging theories and principles relating to children's learning and development, the value of play and methods of assessment; (evidenced throughout but specifically ED5 533)
(iv) current theories of business and change management relevant to the sector and ; (evidenced specifically through ED5 532,FDPH5 and ED5 536)
(v) roles, norms and cultural aspects relating to the family and the role of other adults in child development and learning; (evidenced specifically through ED4 503)
(vi) ability to apply underlying concepts and principles of working with children, young people and families to their own employment context; (evidenced throughout the programme)
(vii) relationships between adult and child; adult and other professionals; Early Years worker and management and between organisation and organisation; (evidenced throughout the programme)
(viii) knowledge of the main methods of enquiry in the field of Early Years and an understanding of the limits of their knowledge and how this influences analyses and interpretations based on that knowledge; (evidenced throughout the programme)
Thinking or Cognitive Skills

(i) communicate ideas, principles and theories, arguments and analysis effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences, using written, visual, verbal and ICT media, with a sense of audience. (evidenced throughout the programme - assessments)
(ii) demonstrate appropriate critical thinking skills e.g. identify and summarise main points in an argument, develop an argument drawing upon evidence and literature, analyse and synthesise research, theories and ideas, examining issues from a range of professional perspectives and produce evaluative responses; (evidenced throughout the programme - all assessments)
(iii) use a range of established techniques to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information relating to their work situation, and to propose solutions to problems arising in their work setting; (evidenced throughout the programme - specifically ED4 501 and ED5 504)
(iv) reflect and evaluate self, including the potential effect of personal attitudes, values and behaviours on work with children, parents, colleagues and other professionals; (evidenced throughout the programme - specifically ED4 502,FDPH5 and ED5 536)
Practical Skills

(i) demonstrate skills that underpin good management practice, both evidence based and reflective; (evidenced throughout the programme)
(ii) carry out effectively the work roles expected of those managing children’s services; (evidenced specifically through ED4 503, NFDPH4 and ED5 504)
(iii) communicate effectively with peers and other professionals; (evidenced throughout the programme - specifically ED4 503 and FDPH4)
(iv) design, implement, monitor and evaluate specific activities which support the management of children’s services (evidenced specifically through ED5 504 and ED5 536)
(v) demonstrate a thorough understandingof difference and diversity, recognising individual needs as well as developing tolerance and understanding of others; (evidenced specifically through ED5 501)
(vi) demonstrate qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility e.g. to manage and organise their own time, resources, records and information to support decision making. (evidenced specifically through ED4 502, ED5 532, ED5 504 and ED5 536)
Key Skills

  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

Upon completion of the Foundation Degree, students will be able to:
(i) communicate ideas effectively in speech and writing;
(ii) use and develop their own mathematical and scientific skills to ensure the effective delivery of children’s services;
(iii) use ICT to support their own development and professional practice;
(iv) improve their own performance through critical self-reflection, the implementation of evidence-based practice, and professional development activities;
(v) work within a team to complete an agreed task; (iv) analyse and solve problems (Key skills evidenced throughout the programme)
Transferable Professional Skills

i) undertake further training, develop existing skills, and acquire new competences that will enable them to assume significant responsibility within organisations; (evidenced throughout the programme - specifically ED4 501, ED4 502, ED5 504,FDPH5 and ED5 536)

The outcomes and structure of this programme are centred on the development of the knowledge, understanding and skills that will support high level professional practice in integrated services. It is currently guided by the "Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children's Workforce (HM Government 2005). The programme structure has also been designed to embrace the vocational and work based principles of Foundation Degrees (QAA 2002) and Benchmark Statements(QAA 2004). The on-campus activities acknowledge the considerable experience the learners are bringing with them and recognise the learning that will take place in the workplace environment. As all students will be working in an integrated setting supporting and managing practice with children and young people, module assessments have been devised to be work-based. Each level of the programme includes modules entitled ‘Practice based enquiry’ (ED4501 and ED5504) which guide the students to develop their own personal skills as a professional. Students will normally attend once a week during term time (6 hours contact time - afternoon through to early evening) thus ensuring as little time as possible is required by the employer to release them from their work. The programme will be delivered over a period of two and a half years, allowing sufficient time in the students' busy work and family schedules to complete the required credits, whilst not making the programme so long that it no longer becomes an attractive proposition. Along with the taught modular sessions on campus there will be opportunities in every module to meet with their tutors to discuss work related issues. This Foundation Arts Degree is located at HE levels 4 & 5 in The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (QAA, 2008). Students who have successfully completed a programme at intermediate level will have ‘developed a sound understanding of the principles in their field of study, and will have learned to apply those principles more widely. Through this, they will have learned to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems.’ Their studies will have had ‘a vocational orientation, enabling them to perform effectively in their chosen field' and they will have ‘the qualities necessary for employment in situations requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making’. Level-related criteria Level 4 An emphasis on "knowing about" key ideas in Social Policy and Education; on acknowledging sources; on accuracy; on rational argument and the development of a questioning attitude. The study skills required to study at HE level will be made secure e.g. library and internet research skills, computer literacy, ability to articulate accurately and give presentations. The learning is predominantly tutor designed and guided with scope for individual and group initiatives within this framework. The assignment framework allows for considerable individual initiative as assessments are linked to work practice in each module. Level 5 At this level the students will be expected to demonstrate a critical approach to knowledge and evidence, to seek links between different theories and begin to develop mastery of complex skills and concepts to do with supporting and managing services which cater for children and young people. They will also be reflecting and evaluating their own practice in the workplace and making decisions about their own developmental needs, in order to carry out the role professional in the workplace. Whilst the learning design is largely tutor controlled there is learner direction in the particular focus of the work carried out.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
ED4501 4 Practice-based Enquiry 1 20 Optional
ED4502 4 Personal and Collaborative Learning 20 Optional
ED4503 4 Promoting Positive Relationships 20 Optional
ED4504 4 Safeguarding and Protection 20 Optional
ED4535 4 Effective Communication Skills 20 N/A
ED4536 4 Social Policy and Legislation 20 N/A
ED5501 5 Inclusive Practice 20 N/A
ED5504 5 Practice Based Enquiry 2 20 N/A
ED5532 5 Business Management for the Inter-professional Environment 20 N/A
ED5533 5 Changing Needs of Children and Young People 20 N/A
ED5535 5 Supporting and Managing people 20 N/A
ED5536 5 Managing Change 20 N/A
NM5108 5 Promoting Emotional Wellbeing 20 N/A
NM5113 5 Concepts of Leadership and Management 20 N/A

120 credits at Level 4 entitle the student to a Certificate of Higher Education. 240 credits, including 120 at Level 5, entitle the student to a Foundation Arts Degree.
Progression Routes Students who successfully complete the FdA will be able to apply for the BA Integrated working with Children, Young People and Families Level 6 Top Up Programme(or other related level 6 programmes) and so progress to full honours and hence to postgraduate or professional training.

A core feature of the degree is that it will offer accreditation to professional practice not previously available and will offer access to HE for students who may not normally be able to access university provision. A combination of academic qualifications, experience and motivation will be carefully considered when making admissions judgements. This degree includes a specialist vocational component, underpinned by broad based academic learning. Successful applicants would normally:

• hold a NQF level 3 qualification

• have English at GCSE (or equivalent) grade C or above (candidates without this qualification will be required to undertake an initial assessment of their written English)

• a minimum of two years experience in a setting, supporting or managing provision for children and young people.

• meet the criteria for a ‘fit person’ to work with young children

• be over 18 years of age. All people working in the sector must meet the ‘fit person’ criteria for doing so, including obtaining the necessary clearance from the Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS).

Accreditation for prior learning will be considered in line with the current policy at the University of Chester. This currently permits a maximum accreditation of 50% of the award, but is subject to change. Each candidate would be required to submit evidence of the outcomes of their previous learning, whether experiential or certified. Typical applicant backgrounds or entry profiles:

• supporting an early years setting at a supervisory level e.g. pre-school learning alliance co-ordinator, or working for a local authority as a workforce development officer

• in possession of a vocational qualification at NQF level 3

• strongly motivated to further their career within children and young people's services.

Approach to Admissions

Students wishing to undertake this part-time course apply directly to the University. Applications are filtered through the admission systems. After an initial screening, suitable applicants are invited to an information session and individual interview session to ascertain the extent of their experience and their suitability to benefit from this programme. This ensures that applicants with untypical backgrounds for an HE programme are considered. As work-based learning is an integral part of the programme, discussions regarding work based learning take place on entry together with an assessment of the appropriateness of any current work experience.

Applicants are asked to supply a reference which confirms that they have had a minimum of two years experience supporting or managing provision for children and young people. As part of the application process applicants are 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 at interview and used, along with the initial assessment, to inform the guidance given, and ultimately whether a place on the programme is to be offered.

There are currently no Benchmark Statements for programmes in this area. However, in designing this programme the team have taken into account the Foundation Degree qualification benchmark statements (QAA 2004). The programme team also took into account the subject specific requirements from the Working with Young People and Young People's Services Foundation Degree criteria (CWDC, 2008) whose work is now located within the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). In addition, the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children's Workforce (HM Gov. Nov. 2005) was an important reference.

Students will benefit from a variety of learning and teaching strategies chosen to best suit individual needs and desired outcomes. Methods employed in each module will identify and analyse the theoretical perspectives and current thinking based on research relevant to supporting and managing children and young people's integrated services. The underpinning knowledge will be delivered through a mix of lectures, presentations, group work activities, case study, guided reflection and independent study, and, as is important with a Foundation Degree, important learning will take place for each module, in the workplace. Learning and teaching strategies used reflect integrated professional working in the mode of delivery.  All tutors value diversity and equality by actively promoting and encouraging individual needs through respectful teaching and learning. 

The theoretical perspectives explored will enable students to reflect upon and share their experience at work and to relate this to current thinking. As students on this programme are already working in a setting, they will be given differentiated tasks and assessments in order for them to investigate in depth those issues that relate specifically to their work. The teaching approach will be largely activity based and participatory in nature with students expected to take a full and responsible part. Prior reading will be specified as is necessary. Students' studies will be supported by learning materials which will be available in a variety of inclusive formats including web based materials placed in module folders on SharePoint.

Throughout the programme students will be encouraged to be critically reflective; to listen carefully to the views of others; to question values and opinions; to investigate evidence and to draw their own informed conclusions. They will be encouraged to develop as independent learners and to develop the skills of collaborative and negotiated learning. The development of professional standards is a pre-requisite of this programme and is integral to all modules with students being encouraged to reflect on and evaluate their own experience of integrated provision. In common with other programmes this provision has its own intranet site on SharePoint. This will hold programme advice and guidance and module specific learning material provided by the programme team. This site is externally accessible to all registered students.

Students will also be encouraged to keep an up to date ePortfolio. The development of autonomy and a self-improving attitude is necessary for the progression to further study and the effective deployment of their professional role. During this programme students will be introduced to critically reflective strategies for personal/professional enhancement which may be further developed at Honours level.

Learner Support

Each student is assigned to a Personal Academic Tutor who contributes to the programme and has oversight of the student's progress. Tutorials with the module tutor and regular meetings with the personal tutor will provide guidance for successful completion of the modules. This academic/pastoral relationship lasts for the duration of the programme. Students who are assessed at the outset as requiring additional support for specific needs will be referred to Learning Support, or at any subsequent time during the course, if the learner and tutor feel this is appropriate. Through these support systems the learning is tailored to each student's individual needs.

Workplace Support

The work-based nature of this programme, specifically the critical reflection on work practice and the completion of assignments linking current ideas and theories to the student's work practice, means that the support of a current practising professional is vital for the students. If students do not have access to a colleague qualified to graduate level who could fulfil the mentoring role it would be covered by module tutors and professional mentors trained and supplied by the University. Work place mentors are identified early in the programme by the students in discussion with the Programme Leader. Mentors are supplied with a Mentors’ handbook and invited to undertake mentor training. Mentors are expected to discuss students’ work based tasks and provide feedback on the workplace impact to help the students to evaluate their effectiveness.

Assessment will take a variety of forms particularly appropriate to this work-based programme e.g. reflective portfolio, reflective essay, presentation, analysis of work-place scenario and case study. The form of assessment chosen for each module is the most appropriate to enable students to demonstrate their achievement of the module learning outcomes. The nature of the particular assessment tasks will recognise and encourage the synergy of work-based learning and academic study which is a distinctive feature of the Foundation Degree such that 'technical and work specific skills' are 'underpinned by rigorous and broad-based academic learning'.

Where appropriate assessment tasks will model and require the critical analysis of professional practice, e.g. the use of folio and case study material. All assessment is undertaken in accordance with the University of Chester's regulations and requirements. 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 effectively the transferable communication and rhetorical skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing and arguing; conducting independent and collaborative research, using relevant skills and methods (including ICT where appropriate). The assessment methods used in each module correlate with the learning outcomes for that module. Where feasible, assessment will be used to inform tutor planning to ensure that subsequent teaching addresses the identified needs of the students. Students are clearly informed about the assessment requirements of each element of their programme. The formal assessment requirements are described in each module descriptor. As well as generic assessment criteria that relate to the level of performance, students will be provided with assignment specific criteria that relate to the learning outcomes for that module in the module handbook.

Graduates will be committed to promoting the learning and wellbeing of children and young people through integrated service delivery. This Foundation Degree is an important pathway, which will help to raise standards in settings and give individuals the recognition they deserve. The successful graduates will be ideally placed to lead and manage as a professional in a range of settings. They will:


  • the principles of care, learning and development, including those relating to anti-discriminatory practice and equality of opportunity
  • theories and principles relating to the learning and development of children & young people
  • main methods of enquiry in the fields of public policy, education and care


  • the regulatory and legislative framework for Children and Young people’s services
  • the principles and practice of integrated working
  • current theories of business and change management relevant to the sector
  • relationships between adult and child; adult and other professionals

Be able to:

  • communicate ideas, principles and theories, arguments and analysis effectively with peers and other professionals
  • demonstrate appropriate critical thinking skills
  • use a range of established techniques to initiate and undertake critical analysis
  • improve their own performance through critical self-reflection, the implementation of evidence-based practice, and professional development activities
  • demonstrate skills that underpin good management practice     
  • carry out effectively the work roles expected of those managing children and young people’s services;
  • design, implement, monitor and evaluate specific activities which support the management of children and young people’s services
  • work within a team to complete an agreed task
  • undertake further training, develop existing skills, and acquire new competences that will enable them to assume significant responsibility within organisations

The University of Chester 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.

This qualification is also a route for those with the potential and desire to progress to a full honours degree. Other programmes within the Faculty of Education and Children's Services, for example, the BA Supporting Learning with Children and Young People (Level 6 Top Up Programme) will facilitate progression to Honours Degree and then post-graduate study which would enable students to teach.

Back - to previous page  Print - launches the print options panel