Frameworks for critical practice with children and young people

If you work with children or young people and want to progress both professionally and academically, then this module is for you. This masters-level module will help you to gain a deeper understanding of the ideas that influence current practice; analyse policy and organisational changes; and explore what it means to be a critical, reflective practitioner. The module is relevant to work in a wide range of services with children and young people, including childcare, education, healthcare, social work and youth work – and covers the whole age range from early years to youth.

Vocational relevance

This module is designed for those who have experience of working with children or young people, or who wish to do so, as well as those who wish to improve their understanding of services for children and young people.


E809 is a compulsory module in our:

E809 can’t be studied on its own or part of any other qualifications.


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 postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

In this module, you'll explore the conceptual, professional and personal contexts in which work with children and young people takes place. You'll be encouraged to take a critical, reflective approach: analysing the ways in which these broader contexts shape everyday practice, and assessing the implications for your own work. The first part of the module examines the ways that theories and research inform practice, as well as different policy approaches within the nations of the UK and internationally. The second part of the module takes a critical look at organisational change and its implications for professional identities. The final part explores the interplay between the personal and the professional in work with children and young people.

An online learning guide will direct your study and help you to plan your work. Resources include a module reader consisting of chapters written by experts from a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds; audio and video material containing case studies of work with children and young people; and a variety of other online resources.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You'll have a named tutor who will support your studies and mark and comment on your assignment work; you can also seek academic advice and guidance from them. Your tutor will offer support through email, telephone and online forum discussions. Additionally, there will be online tutorials. We'll advertise tutorials before the module starts; E809 tutors will take them, but depending on the tutorial, not necessarily your own named tutor. We recommend you book online to attend these tutorials.


You can find the assessment details for this module in the facts box.

Course work includes

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

Future availability

Frameworks for critical practice with children and young people (E809) 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 2027.


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.

Entry requirements

You must have the minimum of a:

  • bachelors degree (in any subject) from a UK university, or
  • professional qualification equivalent to a UK bachelors degree, or
  • qualification from a university outside the UK and equivalent to a UK bachelors degree.

You also must have passed Children and young people’s worlds (E808), have resubmitted the end-of-module assessment and are awaiting your result, or have received an award of transferred credit and are exempt from E808.

If you’ve any doubt about the suitability of the module, talk to an adviser.

Although the module is designed primarily for people working with children or young people, students without access to a practice setting will not be disadvantaged and will be able to use examples from the study materials for assessment tasks.

Outside the UK

It is available worldwide, but you should be aware that the focus is on policy and practice in the United Kingdom.

Synchronous tutorials and communications could be difficult to deliver to students outside the UK due to time differences. If you can’t attend the synchronous tutorials or make synchronous communications, you’ll have to use asynchronous alternative methods, such as watching recorded tutorials and emailing questions.


Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Oct 2025 £2645.00

Registration closes 12/09/24 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2027.

Future availability

Frameworks for critical practice with children and young people (E809) 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 2027.

Additional costs

Study costs

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

Ways to pay for this module

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

  • Access to the module study materials via the module website
  • One printed reader: Robb, M., Montgomery, H. and Thomson, R. (eds.) (2019) Critical practice with children and young people (2nd edn), Policy Press

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.

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 might not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader.

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

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