module specification

SH7058 - Children and Families: Policy and Practice (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Children and Families: Policy and Practice
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 200
0 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Research report
Coursework 70%   Essay
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Summer studies North Week -

Module summary

 To explain and evaluate contemporary research about children and families
To develop an understanding and awareness of the policy and professional debates on the family and childhood
To explore the concept of childism and promote the rights of the child to protection from harm


 This course begins with an overview of current government policy in relation to children and families.  The module focus is on children's rights and key policy initiatives relating to children and families including current definitions of childhood. Childism is examined throughout.  Inter-professional working to safeguard children is considered as well as children's involvement in social care processes. Professional issues relating to safe care and child protection are studied as well as the complex abuse of children. All LO1-3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching is delivered through 11 weekly lectures followed by seminar activities. Outside speakers contribute to this module. Students are encouraged to contribute to the sessions.

The module teaching is based on weekly lectures and seminar classes, where specific group-work exercises have been developed to provide students with an opportunity to examine in more detail some of the main conceptual and methodological issues covered in lectures.

The approach to teaching is based on facilitating the application of concepts, methods and principles to practice-related contexts, and students’ integration of learning in relation to real world scenarios. This approach to teaching aims to develop students’ ability to think critically about data and evidence, and to draw appropriate inferences in accordance with the stated learning outcomes.

The above teaching methods will be complemented by students’ independent study on the module. Students will be required to read, on a weekly basis, recommended chapters in the core textbook, or to access other relevant educational material.

The module will be using WebLearn - guidance will be given during the module about how to best use this. It is designed to support students learning providing access to wider reading and resources to help to prepare for each session e.g. websites, policy documents and articles and or to revise and deepen knowledge after sessions e.g. lecture notes. Students are encouraged to use other learning resources such as the Library and Academic Mentors and WebLearn.

Learning outcomes

 By the end of this module you should be able to:
1.    Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of contemporary research relating to children and families - noting any associated methodological or inter-professional issues
2.    Critically analyse and evaluate contemporary public policy and professional debates on children and families
3.    Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of children's rights and the concept of childism

Assessment strategy

 A research report of 1,500 words identifying the implications of one or more pieces of research for both welfare professionals and broader public debate. Students will need to demonstrate awareness of methodology and be able to critically analyse public policy and professional debate in the light of research evidence.

An essay of 2,500- 3,000 words, requiring students to examine in depth a recent development in child and family policy or practice. Students will be expected to demonstrate familiarity with relevant literature and to draw on course content and weblearn resources in analysing the material presented. The essay should relate to the research report topic and demonstrate critical analysis of that topic.

Formative assessment is included through a presentation of a profile for the report and essay project in week 5 and a presentation of 15 minutes in week 9 summarising key aspects of the assignments.


 Brandon, M Belderson, P Warren, C Howe, D Gardner, R Dodsworth, J Black, J (2008) Analysing child deaths and serious injury through abuse and neglect: what can we learn? A biennial analysis of serious case reviews 2003-5. London: DCSF
Calder M and Hackett S (2013) Assessment in Child Care. 2nd ed, Dorset. Russell House
Corby B (2006) Child abuse Towards a Knowledge base. 3rd ed, Berkshire. OUP
Davies L and Duckett N (2008) Proactive child protection – the social work task. Exeter. Learning Matters
Department for Education (2010) Working Together to Safeguard Children. London. TSO
Fawcett B, Featherstone B and Goddard J (2004) Contemporary child care policy and practice. Hampshire. Palgrave
James A and Prout A (2015) Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood. 3rd ed, London. Routledge (e-book)
Munro E (2008) Effective Child Protection. 2nd ed, London. Sage
Parton N (2006) Safeguarding childhood. Early intervention and surveillance in a late modern society. Hampshire. Palgrave.