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Wellbeing of Children & Young People - SPY00020H

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Christine Skinner
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module summary

How happy are our children? What do we know about the quality of our children’s lives? How can we measure how well they are doing nationally and comparatively across countries? How can we help policy makers identify if children are having a good childhood? These are the key questions addressed in this module using the latest primary sources of information provided by UNICEF, the EU and the OECD.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2020-21

Module aims

The aim of the module is to introduce students to the key debates around child well-being and how it is conceptualised and measured internationally. However, it is not easy to measure the well-being of children and young people, so students will critically examine how this has been done through the use of Indexes and objective and subjective measures (asking children directly about their lives). In addition, the module aims to support students’ learning by providing opportunities to interrogate and synthesise the evidence provided by key organisations such as the OECD and UNICEF. It is a highly active module and on a weekly basis students will engage in exercises that will enhance their employment skills. Students will:

  • Work individually and in groups to interpret primary documents that provide measurements of children’s well-being internationally.
  • Synthesis the evidence and present it orally and visually through the use of graphs and charts.
  • Manage their own time in producing weekly accounts of the evidence and in meeting deadlines for formative work.
  • Work on the detail to understand the more technical aspects of how well-being is measured and be able to explain that to others.
  • Take responsibility for their own learning by choosing a set of domains to critically examine in their summative module assessment.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will:

  1. Understand different ways in which well-being can be conceptualised and measured.
  2. Appreciate the policy importance of measuring child-well-being.
  3. Be familiar with the main international data sources that measure child well-being.
  4. Have competence in understanding the evidence in at least three domains of well-being.
  5. Have experience in delivering seminar presentations on different domains of well-being.
  6. Be able to interpret graphs and charts and apply them to presentations and assessments.

Module content

The content is comparative in scope and students will explore the following topics:

  • The conceptualisation of child-well-being and the underpinning theoretical debates about what it is and how we can we best measure it.
  • Child poverty and material deprivation
  • Children’s physical health
  • Children’s risky behaviours (consumption of drugs, alcohol and unprotected sexual intercourse)
  • Educational performance
  • Children’s own views about their well-being, including; relationships with family and friends, their sense of autonomy and what they think of their appearance.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students receive individual support throughout the term to prepare for their summative assessment. This is achieved in three main ways:

  • Each week students work together to present an analysis of a key domain of child well-being. Students receive instant feedback in class on their knowledge and understanding and this will help inform their choice of domains to use for their summative assessment.
  • Each student will get the opportunity (at one point in the term) to have a one to one session with the tutor to discuss their choice of domains to be analysed for their summative assessment.
  • The formative assessment helps student test their knowledge and understanding about the conceptualisation of child well-being which is directly relevant to part of the summative assessment.

Working in close partnership with fellow students and the tutor on common topics helps students take responsibility for their own contributions and they can learn about the value of group work in aiding understanding and stretching performance, as well as co-producing valuable outputs (graphs and charts, presentations). These are common activities in employment.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback is embedded in the following ways:

  • weekly in seminar discussions regarding student presentations and group work.
  • provided once to students in a one to one meeting with the tutor to support their choice of domains to use in their summative assessments.
  • at the end of of the module, week 10, verbal and written feedback is provided on formative assessments.
  • feedback on summative assessments using a marking matrix is provided 5 weeks after submission.

Indicative reading

Bradshaw, J (ed) (2016) The well-being of children in the UK, 4th Edition London: Save the Children.

Bradshaw, J. and Richardson, D. (2009) An index of child well-being in Europe, J. Child Indicators Research, 2, 3, 319.

Rees, G., Bradshaw, J., Goswami, H. and Keung, A. (2010) Understanding Children’s Well-being: A national survey of young people’s well-being, London: The Children’s Society. 94 pages.

Hicks, S., Newton, J. , Haynes, J. and Evans, J. (July 2011) Measuring Children and Young People’s Well-being, ONS.

McAuley, C. and Rose, W. (eds) (2010) Child Well-being: Understanding Children’s Lives, London: Jessica Kingsley 181-204

Statham, J. and Chase, E. (2010) Childhood Wellbeing: a brief overview, Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre, Briefing Paper 1.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.