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Making a difference: working with children and young people

The wellbeing of children and young people is a concern to all, but what do we mean by wellbeing? You will explore this through studying a range of interconnected themes such as relationships, health, identity and safety, as well the broader influences of society, culture, rights and learning. With reference to research, the module will focus on how day to day practice in a range of roles and settings can make a difference to children and young people’s lives (aged 0-18) and what skills this might require. This level 2 module will also enhance your study and employment-related skills.

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Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
2 9 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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What you will study

During your studies on KE206 you will examine a number of interlinked themes relevant to working with and supporting children, young people and their families. In the first few weeks you will be introduced to themes which are essential components of children and young people’s wellbeing. The module is practice focussed and so explores how, within each of these themes, there are opportunities for those who work with children, in formal and informal roles, to make a difference to children’s lives. This in turn also means analysing and discussing what kind of skills and values are needed to underpin good practice.

Each of these interconnected themes will be explored using case studies from the UK and beyond, audio-visual material, interactive activities and a newly produced book. Learning guides will include the following themes:

  • Health - look at why health is an important theme for children and young people’s wellbeing including both physical and mental health.
  • Relationships - study cross cultural, comparative examples of ‘family’ and ‘parenting’ including; families affected by migration and looked after children and young people. Learning You will study different types of formal and informal learning, including in the home, pre-school, community and neighbourhood, and formal education in school. You will reflect on why learning is important for children and young people’s wellbeing and the ways in which children and young people learn within complex social and cultural dynamics.
  • Society - study the wider contexts of children and young people’s lives. By exploring social influences, including; economic factors, community and housing, local and global geography you will look at how practices, policies and services for children and young people and their families are shaped by political and economic forces.
  • Risk and Safety - explore what we perceive as being safe or risky for children. Although not exclusively focussing on issues of safeguarding you will examine the importance of understanding professional responsibilities for all those working with children and families. Some of the key practitioner roles will be introduced and the skills of assessment and interagency working.
  • Rights and law - learn about how children and young people’s rights and participation within society have changed over time and are different around the world. This theme will also consider how law and policy shapes services and support. You will explore the complexity and challenges of children’s participation.
  • Identity - study and reflect on the range of influences that contribute to identity development. There will be a particular focus on gender, (dis)ability, sexuality, and ethnic identity.
  • Culture - examine how children and young people engage with and are influenced by cultural experiences from social media to music and literature.

Issues of diversity and the wide range of children’s experiences will be considered in each of the themes. The module covers the whole age range of children and young people from 0-18 but there will be some opportunities for you to focus on the age range you are most interested in.

The module will also pose the question ‘how do we know we are making a difference?’ so as you work through the learning guides you will be introduced to ideas on evaluation and how we can demonstrate whether practitioners achieve the changes they set out to make.

This is a multidisciplinary module which will emphasise that there are a range of different practitioners who need to understand and communicate with each other and a range of different perspectives on childhood and youth.

Throughout the module you will develop your academic skills in relation to searching for and assessing resources, and writing in an analytical way. You do not have to be in practice to study this module but it will highlight skills relevant to employment.

Vocational relevance

This module will be of relevance if you currently, or would like to, work with children young people and families, including within the voluntary sector and support settings.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be allocated to a tutor who will provide support and guidance throughout your studies and mark all of your assignments. In addition you will be allocated to a tutor group online forum led by your tutor and comprising all students within your tutor group. You will also choose from a number of learning events to attend during your module studies. These will include face-to-face and online tutorials and will be delivered by your own tutor as well as other tutors from the module team.


There are 4 compulsory tutor marked assignments (TMAs). You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

3 TMAs will be essay based, requiring you to demonstrate your understanding of material from the module and a growing ability to think and write critically. 1 TMA will require you to write a report. Each TMA will be between 1,500-3,000 words in length.

An end-of-module assessment will cover the key themes and issues from across the module. This will be in the form of an extended piece of writing.

Future availability

Making a difference: working with children and young people starts once a year in October. This page describes the module that starts in October 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2023.


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

    Course work includes:

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

    Entry requirements

    This is an OU level 2 undergraduate module, so you will have already completed your work at OU level 1, including developing your academic and writing skills. You may not have formally studied the subject of children and young people. A genuine interest in this area, including being aware of developments in practice and policy, will be of great value.


    Start End England fee Register
    05 Oct 2019 Jun 2020 -

    Registration now closed

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2023.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a computer, 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 your module has started.

    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.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

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

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. 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 module 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 module.  

    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, Mastercard, Visa 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 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 2020. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 20/09/2019.

    What's included

    Your study materials will include an online study calendar comprising of the learning guides accessed via the module website. In addition you will receive a module text book.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying KE206 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.