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Children, Young People & Families with Special Educational Needs & Inclusion BA (Hons)

Do you want to make a difference in the lives of children, young people and families? The Children, Young People & Families with Special Educational Needs & Inclusion (SENI) BA (Hons) programme will provide you with a strong knowledge of the barriers and problems that can affect people on a day-to-day basis; thus, giving an excellent foundation upon which you can make a real impact in terms of reducing inequality and social exclusion in the world today.  

UCAS course code
York St John University
Course fees
2019 - 2020: Home & EU students: £9,250 per annum, International (non EU) students: £12,750 per annum
3 years full-time | Part-time options available on request
Start date
September 2019
Study Abroad
Yes - see our study abroad web pages for more information

Course overview

The degree is both challenging and stimulating, particularly is it is fully responsive to complex concerns such as mental illness, abuse, human rights, crime, injustice, loss and voice.  It is imperative that you are fully prepared for the range of issues that can arise when working in such an important field.  As a part of this, it is through encouraging you to reflect on your own and others values, beliefs and perceptions that will allow you to have a much better understanding of the wider societal issues that affect children, young people and families.  In turn, the ‘with’ combination enables students to engage in debates about the contestability of Special Educational Needs and Inclusion, both conceptually and in practice; this will further contribute to your personal transformation not only as a learner, but as a future forward-thinking and autonomous professional.

100% of Children, Young People & Families students think that staff make the subject interesting.

(National Student Survey 2018)

Course structure

The programme has been designed to be highly responsive to the needs of those who have an interest in this field of enquiry and a strong desire to work in the challenging and innovative children, young people and families sector in general.  The integral SENI elements of the programme recognises that many graduates are likely to follow career pathways that will involve working with a range of people with differing educational and social needs; hence, a strong knowledge of SENI can be seen as a distinct advantage by employers.  This is particularly important in an increasingly fluid labour market.

The diversity of modules and content, together with the provision for student support, helps to ensure that all students, whatever their interests, backgrounds and aptitudes, have the best possible chance to achieve.  The programme also enhances and develops core knowledge that is pertinent for the needs of employers and organisations.    

There are no examinations. You will be assessed through a mixture of approaches including critical essays, presentations, reports, case studies, portfolios, on-line debates, reflective writing and research. 

For BA (Hons) Children, Young People & Families with Special Educational Needs & Inclusion (SENI), you will study two Children, Young People & Families modules and one SENI module each semester.

Year 1

Potential modules include:

Understanding Special Educational Needs
Special Educational Needs (SEN) is a term widely used among practitioners and in government policies for schools and educational settings; it is therefore extremely important to understand its meaning, the implications it might have for practice and the effects it can have on those who are labelled with it. This module forms one of the foundations of the SEN and Inclusion strand of the Education Studies degree programme.

What is inclusive learning?
This module critically investigates how specific groups of learners may be categorised and stereotyped within society and educational settings, leading to marginalisation and exclusion. The module offers students opportunities to explore how inclusive education might be applied in practice across a range of learning settings.

Children’s & Young People’s Development
This module enables students to think holistically and critically about children and young people’s development. It considers different developmental theories and encourages students to deconstruct some of the assumptions that these perspectives generate. 

Constructions of Childhood & Youth
This module explores what we mean by childhood and youth, and considers ways in which they are constructed and shaped by wider society.

Study for Success
Study for Success provides students with the opportunity to develop some of the fundamental skills that underpin degree success. This includes critical thinking, academic writing, referencing and reflective writing. The module also introduces students you to using the library effectively as well as using the University’s different e-platforms.

Nature & Role of the Family
This module examines a range of questions relating to family: ‘What is family?’ How is family changing?’ ‘Why is family changing?’ ‘What should we make of these changes?’

Counselling & Communication
The ability to communicate effectively and use counselling skills is key to effective practice in the wider children, young people and families’ workforce. This module helps you develop a theoretical understanding of these ideas, which you put into practice in class.

Social Policy in Action
Whether we realise it or not, social policy shapes every aspect of our lives: education, health, wellbeing, work, money, family, opportunities and more. This module provides you with the foundations to explore these issues from different perspectives, and to examine one issue related to children, young people and families in depth.

(all modules 20 credits)

Year 2

Potential modules include:

The media and Dis/ability
The media is central to twenty-first century life and as an industry has been critical in the dissemination of information, attitudes and social beliefs. This module takes a critical approach to how the media has been used to both entrench and challenge particular representations of disability and special educational needs by critically examining a range of primary media sources including film and TV, expressive arts, literature, newspapers, internet sources and charities to consider how disability and special educational needs are portrayed.

Exploring neurodiversity and learning
This module will explore the concept of neurodiversity and its implications for inclusive practice. It will investigate some of the cognitive, social and communication differences experienced by autistic learners and those with specific learning difficulties (SpLD) including dyslexia and dyspraxia; speech, language & communication difficulties; and behaviour, mental health and emotional needs. The module will locate effective pedagogical approaches and inclusive strategies to support the successful education of neurodiverse students, where potential learning difficulties are balanced against skills, strengths and capabilities. 

Learning in Practice
This module enables you to consider the purpose of different organisations working with children, young people and families, and to think about the influence of different factors on their practices. You negotiate a placement opportunity of your choice - for example, in a school, Youth Offending Team, voluntary organisation or youth and community centre. This allows you to develop and apply skills, and to reflect critically on your experience.

Risk, Trust & Safeguarding
Expressions of ‘risk’ are both common and ambiguous in contemporary society. Much of this is tied to concerns regarding children and young people, particularly in light of high profile cases including Victoria Climbie and Baby P. Ensuing safeguarding policies make everyone working with children and young people responsible for their wellbeing. This module examines the construction of risk, and considers frameworks for practice interventions within multi-disciplinary and integrated teams. The module therefore provides an effective foundation for future practitioners in relation to safeguarding concerns.

Special Educational Needs & Inclusion
This module helps you to develop a critical overview of ‘disability’; it explores its changing histories, and considers contemporary policy and ‘practice’. The module includes visits to local providers working within this sector.

Mental Health
Concerns over ‘mental health’ are growing. This module draws on different perspectives to allow students to explore these issues in depth. Key questions include: ‘What factors are influencing the rising incidence of reported mental health issues?’ ‘What are policy and practice responses?’ ‘How are social attitudes towards mental health and wellbeing changing?’ The module is assessed through a negotiated creative artefact.

Researching Children, Young People & Families
This module explores how research influences the field of childhood and youth studies, and considers the influence of research on practice. By learning about different research approaches, it helps you prepare for your Special Study/ dissertation in the third year.

Transitions: Key Moments of Change
Each of us experience a range of educational and ‘life’ transitions: from changing schools, starting work to becoming parents. Transitions also encompass a range of losses too. This module draws on different theories and perspectives in exploring these ideas.

Virtual Realities
Children and young people grow up, learn, and socialise in the ‘virtual’ world. This module draws on different perspectives and ideas to consider the significance and potential of the Internet, social media, virtual reality, gaming etc. on the experiences of children, young people and families. You are assessed through a negotiated creative artefact (many students opt to develop their own websites).

Bereavement & Loss
Bereavement and loss are an inevitable part of life. This module explores models of grief, not only in relation to the loss of loved ones, but also in respect of other losses, and focuses on the significance of these experiences for children, young people and families. Students are given the opportunity to examine the work of different organisations who support people through bereavement processes.

(All modules 20 credits)

Year 3

Potential modules include:

Critical Perspectives in SEN & Inclusion
This module seeks to provide students with an opportunity to explore contemporary issues with respect to special educational needs, dis/ability and inclusion. Informed by academic and current affairs, it will approach the topics critically, evaluating dominant discourses and examining assumptions regarding vulnerability, dependency and autonomy. In examining contemporary issues students will be expected to engage with concepts and theories which explore both the micro-social interactions of the everyday lives of young people with SEN/D, as well as the macro social structures within which they are situated.

Evaluating interventions and therapies
Interventions and therapies (for example speech therapy, Occupational Therapy and positive behaviour interventions) are used with children with SEN/D in classrooms throughout the world. Often these are adopted by teachers and practitioners with little consideration of the historical, cultural, political and medical discourses which underpin them, how they might be perceived by the recipients, or the quality of the evidence gathered to support their use.  This module will engage students in a critical evaluation of different interventions and therapies used with children with special educational needs and disabilities, building on much of the learning already established throughout the strand.

Global Perspectives
This module enables students to develop broader critical perspectives on childhood, youth and families via comparative exploration of what these terms mean and represent in different parts of the world.

Community Development
This module draws on comparative perspectives to examine the nature of ‘community’. It introduces students to Community Development as a discrete professional discipline, and enables exploration of community assets and issues. Students undertake a community profile and develop a project proposal. This is an excellent module for those considering a career in community-based work.

Vision & Change
The wider children’s workforce is a dynamic and challenging environment in which to work. This module explores the growing variety of organisational types, including the development of social enterprises, and introduces students to change management models. This module is ideal for those students with ambitions to set up their own organisations, or who see their futures in leadership and management.

Whose Values? Whose Voice?
This module is concerned with children’s rights. It enables students to develop critical perspectives on issues of values and voice by advancing analysis of childhood, rights, democracy, values, voice and participation as an interconnected set of ideas.

State Intervention & Family Life
This module critically explores the different ways that the contemporary ‘state’ (all the levers of government) shapes perspectives and practices in family life. It pays particular attention to how different forms of ‘disadvantage’ are portrayed and regulated via media, discourse and professional practice.

Gender & Sexualisation

Crime, Deviance & Youth Justice 

Special Study (40 credits)
The Special Study, or Dissertation, allows students to develop in-depth analysis of a negotiated question relating to the field of children, young people and families. This includes engaging in, and writing up ‘live’ research into a c.10000 word project, with the support of an academic supervisor.

(All modules 20 credits except Special Study)

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Disability Advice

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of disability advice services to assist students throughout their studies.

Teaching & Assessment

The Children, Young People and Families programmes include some core and optional modules that build in complexity as you progress through your studies. The second year includes a placement module which gives you opportunity to link theory with practice and develop employability skills. A dissertation module in the third year allows you to focus on an area of particular interest to you.


The programme equips you with a critical and contemporary understanding of the experiences of children, young people and families that draws upon sociological, philosophical, psychological, historical and political perspectives. In addition to compulsory modules designed to establish a foundation, there are a choice of modules within each level which allows you to build a programme that reflects your interests. During the first and second year, you will undertake three modules per semester (20 credits each). The second year includes both a placement module that helps you to explore possible career options, and a research module that equips you with the tools you will need for your dissertation in the final year. Alongside the 40 credit dissertation that runs across both semesters of your final year, you will choose two other modules per semester. 

Contact hours

Across the 12 weeks of the semester, each 20 credit module includes timetabled sessions, Supported Open Learning (which includes set reading, tasks and group work) and independent study. Timetabled hours for each level are (broadly) as follows: level 1 - 48 hours; level 2 - 42 hours; and level 3 - 36 hours per module. 

In the final year, you will be allocated a Supervisor to support you with your dissertation and can arrange one-to-one tutorials at stages in your research to suit you.

Self-study time

Outside of taught sessions, you will be expected to undertake further reading around the subjects you are studying and complete coursework assessments, reading published journal articles and preparing projects, posters or presentations for assessment.

We have extensive electronic textbooks as part of the reading lists for modules that you can access through the Information Learning Services website from anywhere. Module tutors and your Academic Librarian for your programme can also direct you to relevant sources to support your learning.


You will meet a range of tutors on the who will share their enthusiasm about particular research interests and lead you through the module content. They have teaching qualifications and/or Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. The team has a wealth of experience and teach across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes within the School of Education.


There is an opportunity to undertake a 15 day placement in the second semester of your second year within a setting linked to education in some way. You can choose where to undertake your placement including schools, education teams within venues such as York Minster, The National Rail Museum, The Jorvik Viking Centre, Libraries and Museums. at York St John University can also help you to secure additional placements alongside your studies or during semester breaks which can contribute to your developing employability. 

Assessment methods

There are no examinations on the Children, Young People & Families programmes. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed through a range of approaches including presentations, posters, artefacts, reports, reflections, commentaries essays. Your assessments will build in complexity and criticality as you progress through the degree so that by the final year, you are working with increasing independence.

Entry Requirements


The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

96-112 UCAS Tariff points

3 GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) including English Language

Calculate your tariff points

Personal Statement

Essential criteria

As well as a strong standard of written English, we also look for evidence of effective communication skills, a willingness to listen to and engage with others, and the ability to partake in group work. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example experience of volunteering, membership of school teams or clubs, or involvement in group projects whilst studying at school/college. We also look for the attitude to engage with the more challenging aspects of the course in terms of demonstrating knowledge and commitment to the subject area. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, through previous study, work in the community, personal experiences or wider reading around the lives of children, young people and families.

Valued criteria

Candidates can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include further study, general career plans/goals and further transferrable skills such as working under pressure, time management and having a mature and conscientious approach to studying at university level. It is also desirable to have an awareness of some of the wider issues and challenges that surround the lives of children, young people and families in contemporary society. Other extra-curricular activities could include conference/lecture attendance and subscribing to relevant journals. In particular we value applicants who can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for working with children, young people or families.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

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Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay will depend on whether you're a UK & EU student or an international (non-EU) student. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course.

Find out more about funding for Foundation Year and/or Placement Year by visiting the Funding Advice pages of our website.

York St John offer special reductions to students graduating from York St John University Undergraduate degrees in 2019 and continuing directly onto Postgraduate study. Find out more about discounts and scholarships.

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.


Tuition fees

UK & EU 2019 / 20

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE Primary and Secondary and UG Health Programme degrees is £9,250 per year for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Fees & Funding

Overseas 2019 / 20

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE degrees is £12,750 per year for international students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

International Fees & Funding

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

As part of this course, additional costs may include:

  • DBS Check - £44.00. This may be required for a work placement module in Level 2.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation webpages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Study abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad webpages.

Financial help and support

Help and advice on funding your studies at York St John is available through our Money Advice service.

International students

We welcome international students from all over the world at York St John University and have a vibrant international community. You can find out more on our International Pages about how you can study with us and what it’s like to live and learn in York, one of the UK’s most historic cities.

Unistats data for this course

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Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team. Alternatively, you can call us on 01904 876598.

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