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Making a difference: working with children and young people

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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.

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.

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.

What's included

Your study materials will include a module text book and module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • assignment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

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.


There are 4 compulsory 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.

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.

Future availability

Making a difference: working with children and young people (KE206) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2024.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

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