module specification

SE5001 - Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
159 hours Guided independent study
60 hours Placement / study abroad
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Essay
Coursework 50%   Investigation
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year LMET Distance Learning - -
Year North Wednesday Morning
Year North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

This module considers issues of identity development and diversity and their implications for the care and education of babies and young children. Equality issues, including the legislation surrounding special educational needs, children’s curricular entitlement and developing a listening culture will be explored.

Prior learning requirements

It is expected that students will be in a work placement providing for children in the birth to six age range for a minimum of 2 hours each week throughout the module, normally in a group setting.

Module aims

This core module addresses a key aspect of professional knowledge in the early years field and aims to enable students to:
• Study relevant legislation, curriculum frameworks, codes of practice and official guidance in all areas of social inequalities
• Understand the development of diverse identities in babies and young children and explore issues of stigmatisation, labelling, stereotyping and discrimination
• Consider that the experience of early childhood care and education will be mediated by class, race, gender, culture, language, sexual orientation, age and disability through reflecting on their own identities and experiences
• Develop an understanding of the concepts of inclusion and diversity as they relate to both children and adults in their sphere of work and to critically reflect on their own practice in seeking to address inequalities
• Consider the baby and young child as active in shaping their own childhood and how practitioners can develop a listening culture in settings


This module will study the legal framework in relation to in/equalities and consider writing and research on the construction of identity and difference in relation to; class, race, gender, culture/ religion / language / sexual orientation / age / dis/ability and special educational needs, and their implications for early childhood provision.  Current early childhood policy contexts will be considered, with regards to children’s rights, equity and discrimination and the role of early years settings in both perpetuating and resisting inequalities and in working with children to develop positive views of diversity will be explored. The philosophical and political underpinning of definitions of disability and special educational need will be a particular focus and a range of types of need, including challenging behaviour and young children’s social and emotional difficulties will be examined.
The module will also explore the role children take in shaping their childhoods and how practitioners can elicit their perspectives and develop a listening culture in their settings and thereby act as an informed advocate for children from birth to six, for their families and for early years provision.

Learning and teaching

For taught course students theoretical input will be through lectures and seminars. Distance Learning students will receive the same theoretical input through bespoke on-line module materials with access to an allocated tutor who is available to support them either face-to-face, by e-mail or by telephone. All students will benefit from a blended learning approach through the use of WebLearn for supplementary materials, links to E-books, on-line discussions and self assessment exercises such as quizzes and reflective tasks.

Reflection and discussion are key to teaching for all students – for taught students this will be in the context of tutor-led sessions while for distance learning students reflection will be promoted by the exercises incorporated into the web-based materials.  For all students experiential learning promotes their growing ability to act as a reflective practitioner.

Teaching and learning strategies and methods also focus on workplace skills and professionalism. All students undertake and reflect on observations in the workplace and weekly tasks and reflective exercises support increased knowledge and understanding. Observations, action research, work-related tasks and the use of development planning tools support the growth of practitioners’ professional competence. 

The development of transferable skills in presenting evidence, arguments and points of view to a range of audiences, through a range of media, including the use of ICT also supports individual learning.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of legislation and official guidance in the area of equalities and special educational needs and identify how these relate to ethical practice in early childhood.
2. Describe, analyse and constructively critique theoretical perspectives on identity development and discuss the ways in which children’s identities and family and social context impact on their experience of early childhood care and education.
3. Examine and evaluate their own practice in addressing inequalities and ensuring access to the full curriculum for all children.
4. Identify the roles children take in shaping their childhoods and how practitioners can develop a listening culture in their workplace

Assessment strategy

The module is designed to ensure that students studying in both taught course and distance learning mode receive formative assessment throughout their studies. Students will receive written tutor feedback on one written observation.  Students will be encouraged to access on-line self diagnostic, quizzes and short answer questions.

All students for both taught and distance learning modes will be invited to attend a face to face tutorial to discuss their summative assessment in advance of submission deadlines and to receive detailed formative feedback.  Where a personal meeting is not possible, (for example, students living abroad and studying in distance learning mode) this will take place by telephone or e-mail.  Students will receive detailed formative written feedback following these tutorials.

All students will receive written feedback against the learning outcomes following the publication of marks. This will be the most comprehensive in cases of failure, where this will support learning for reassessment.
Formative assessment will be through a weekly case study to analyse and reflect on. Each weekly task will reflect a different aspect of bias and be analysed from the point of view of the child, staff, parents and managers. Students will receive written tutor feedback on one written observation. Students will also receive an individual tutorial at the end of the module where feedback will be given verbally to a draft assignment or outline.

Comprehensive written summative feedback against all criteria will be given following publication of marks.


Alderson P. (2nd Edition) (2008) Young Children's Rights: Exploring Beliefs, Principles and Practice, London: Jessica Kingsley
Clark, A., and Moss P., (2011) Listening To Young Children, The Mosaic Approach,  NCB
Connolly, P. (2004) Boys and Schooling in the Early Years. London: Routledge Falmer
Dickins, M and Donziloe, J. (2004) All together; How to Create Inclusive Services for Disabled Children and their Families, A Practical handbook for Early Years Workers. London: NCB 
Jones N., Sumner A., (2011) Child Poverty, Evidence and Policy: Mainstreaming Children in International Development.  Bristol: Policy Press
Lane, J. (2008) Young Children and Racial Justice. NCB: London
MacNaughton, G. (2000) Rethinking Gender in the Early Childhood Education. London: Allen Unwin
Millam, R. (2002) Anti-discriminatory Practice: A Guide for Workers in Childcare and Education. London: Continuum
Nutbrown, C and Clough, P. (2006) Inclusion in the Early Years. London: Sage
Robinson, K and Jones-Diaz C. (2006) Diversity and Difference in Early Childhood Education. Maidenhead: OUP
Warnock, M., Norwich, B and Terzi, L. (2010) Special Educational Needs: A New Look.  London: Continuum
Wilkinson, R. and Pickett, K. (2010) The Spirit Level - Why Equality is Better for Everyone. London: Penguin

Husband, T. (2011) “I Don’t See Color”: Challenging Assumptions about Discussing Race with Young Children. Early Childhood Education Journal.  DOI: 10.1007/s10643-011-0458-9. Aug 2011
Wedell, K. (2010) Points from the SENCo-Forum. British Journal of Special Education. Volume 37, Issue 4, page 209, December 2010

Websites (Commission for Racial Equality) The Alliance for Inclusive Education