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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LLLC2290 Children Looked After and Their Experiences of The Care System

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Gary Walker

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module intends to provide students with a contextual understanding about how the UK care system has developed over approximately the last 150 years. The module will focus upon group care, foster care, adoption, and secure care alongside other arrangements such as kinship care and special guardianship. In doing so, students will see how these alternative ways of meeting the needs of children have evolved over time, and the legislative and policy underpinnings. Critically, students will come to understand how children that grow up in the care system can be disadvantaged in various ways in comparison to children that do not. Students will analyse how policies and practice can help children reach their potential but also those factors that can compromise their welfare and future outcomes.


This module seeks to give students an overview understanding of the contemporary UK care system and its various components including how children are received into care and on what legal basis. Students will understand how the UK care system has evolved over the last 150 years, evaluating the positive and negative aspects of different provisions for meeting children and young people's needs that cannot live in their family of origin. Students are encouraged to consider how policy and provision for looked after children could be improved in order to promote better outcomes for looked after children and care leavers.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Describe the different contexts in which children live separately from their family of origin.
2. Apply the key legislation and policy that applies to children coming into, living in, and leaving care.
3. Analyse wider social attitudes and the historical evolution of the UK care system with comparison to other countries and historical eras.
4. Evaluate theories and research that explain why children thrive or struggle in the care system


This module is intended to deepen understanding about how the lived experiences of children looked after. It is envisaged that students might come into contact with children looked after in their daily professional role, and the enhanced duty of care that affects practice with such children; in 'loco parentis' and as the 'corporate parent'. Some students may have experience of fostering and adoption or working in residential care and other supportive services.
The module will explain the terminology which surrounds the care system. The module will outline the legal basis on how children are brought into care, and what must be done to support them while in care.
Critically, the module will explore some of the challenges faced by children in the care system, particularly in education and the consequences of foster care and adoptive placement breakdowns.
The module will also explore other types of placements for children, including kinship care, special guardianship and family group conferencing.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours83.00
Private study hours100.00
Total Contact hours17.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

This will be a 'flipped' class in line with the Child and Family Studies Programme suite of modules. Students are expected to learn from interactive online materials prior to attending each weekly seminar wherein this prior learning will be applied and formatively assessed. Alongside maintaining expected progress and learning within the structured online interactive resources, it is expected that students deepen, extend and enhance their learning by consulting with recommended and self-sourced academic texts on the subject.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive instantaneous formative feedback on their understanding via electronic, online materials. The concepts encountered each week online will be revisited in the face-to-face flipped session in class, within 'real world' applications such as, but not exhaustively, vignettes and scenarios of children living in different circumstances away from their family of origin.
Furthermore, the summative assessment of the portfolio will enable students to contextualise 'how we got here' in terms of historical, legal and policy developments.
It is envisaged that the weekly formative focus upon vignettes and scenarios (and similar) will encourage students to empathise with the experiences of students growing up in care, and critically and sensitively consider how certain experiences in care, such as uncertainty, logistics and placement breakdown contribute to generally disadvantaged outcomes of children in, and leaving care.
Drafts on the final summative portfolio assignment will involve individualised formative feedback responses from lecturers. Students will be encouraged to view the constructed portfolio as a 'work in progress' that can be developed incrementally as the progress through the module. For example, the first 'item of evidence' for their appendix might be a newspaper article that deals explicitly with children looked-after.
For child and family studies students, they were exposed to this incremental portfolio development approach in their first year 'skills and perspectives module'. However, none child and family studies students might also be familiar with the incremental 'building a portfolio of evidence' incremental approach. Lecturer responses will encourage students to consider 'How what they are writing about explains disadvantaged outcomes for children and young people in, and leaving care'.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Portfolio4,000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 09/05/2022 16:33:44


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