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Equality, participation and inclusion: learning from each other

This module is for anyone interested in issues of access for children and young people in diverse social and educational contexts. It supports you in engaging with differing perspectives on equality, participation and inclusion, and in developing your own perspectives. You will address the dimensions of disability, disaffection and learning difficulty in the context of wider diversity across the breadth of childhood and youth services. It asks what constitutes good participatory and inclusive practice. A range of video case studies from early years to late teens, with an emphasis on education and learning, illustrate the key themes and issues.

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OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module code
Study level
2 9 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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What you will study

“How absolutely brilliant the whole of E214 is ....”

Mark Vaughan OBE. D.Univ 
Founder of the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education and critical reader for E214.

The opening section of this module explores the conceptual basis for dealing with difference. The initial focus is on the how and why people fight for inclusion and equality. The historical construction of disability and its support in an educational and health framework is interwoven through the units. It goes on to consider how social barriers have impacted on the diversity of individuals. It will introduce the conceptual frameworks to be used throughout the module.

The second section addresses the varying perspectives on inclusion, participation and equality held by academics, those in professional roles, parents and other ‘stakeholders’. First-hand accounts from children and young people, service-users, and disability activists are also included. Students will use online and written materials to recognise that there is no unified conceptualisation of these constructs and that individuals can hold different perspectives at different times or even at the same time, related to or separate from their professional or personal roles.

The module then explores the ongoing development of services intended to deliver equity and involvement for a diverse population. It encourages the exploration and critique of changing policies at a local and national level. The policy in practice is examined through video case studies of an inclusive school and a children’s centre, and by looking towards alternative interventions to prevent social and educational exclusion. The process of creating new services for children and youth services will be examined as a political process involving policies in tension.

The fourth section considers the dilemmas that exist through our use of difference to define ourselves and others, and the kinds of support we provide for each other. It examines the experiences of a broad range of individuals as a consequence of their identified difference. Also the impact that this has had upon the support they have received, the barriers they have faced, and their notions of self and identity.

The final section discusses how individuals can lead change in the culture and practice of organisations, and other social structures linked to childhood and youth. It presents perspectives on good practice in inclusive education and childhood and youth provision, and how this might be evaluated and measured. We look at examples of collaboration, listening, reflection and learning and how they can be enacted in relationships with young people and professionals in a variety of contexts. Consideration is given to how people can overcome resistance and fight for their rights. The module concludes by looking forward to what seems possible now.

The module is delivered through a mix of written and online text, allowing it to reflect changes in policy, theory and practice. All materials will be downloadable or accessible through DVD. Throughout the module, through the assessments and the activities, you will be encouraged to develop your own views on the issues raised alongside the perspectives of others. As well as student forums you will have the option to upload video and audio clips for other students to reflect upon and respond to. If you don't have a built-in webcam on your PC/laptop we can supply a web camera on request via StudentHome shortly before the module starts. 

You will learn

The aims of this module are to enable you to:

  • understand the historical and policy context of responses to difference, with particular reference to issues of education and disability
  • explore a range of models of provision for children and young people, to consider their delivery of equality, participation and inclusion, focusing upon disability, disaffection and learning difficulty in the context of wider diversity
  • consider the perspectives and experiences of a range of children and young people, and those involved in their support, in relation to issues of equality, participation and inclusion
  • consider the values, policy and organisational dimensions inherent in delivering equality, participation and inclusion through social structures, with particular reference to education
  • develop your own position on the delivery of equality, participation and inclusion
  • develop a critical approach to writing and practice in relation to equality, participation and inclusion.

Vocational relevance

This module is relevant for students with or without a vocational interest. The emphasis on education will make the module of particular relevance to educational practitioners. However, interwoven throughout the module are the experiences and perspectives of the full range of practitioners working with children and young people.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2015. We expect it to be available once a year.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.


This is an OU level 2 module and you need some knowledge of the subject area, obtained either from OU level 1 study, or from equivalent work at another university, or from personal or practitioner experience.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 £2700.00

Registration closes 10/09/15 (places subject to availability)


You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you register.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time that is convenient to you.

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2016. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

This information was provided on 05/08/2015.

What's included

Module books, other printed and online materials, DVD, webcam, website.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend either of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

Materials to buy

Set books

  • Rix, J., et al. (ed) Equality, Participation and Inclusion 2: Diverse Contexts Routledge £24.99 - ISBN 9780415584241
  • Rix, J., et al. (ed) Equality, Participation and Inclusion 1: Diverse Perspectives Routledge £25.99 - ISBN 9780415584227

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and scientific, diagrammatic or foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Word versions of the printed study materials can be provided on request. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.

Interactive computer activities form part of this module, including the use of online forums and the opportunity to create audio-visual material, if you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in operating a computer or the internet and have any concerns about accessing this type of materials you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.