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Master of Arts in Integrated Working with Children and Families in the Early Years



October 1 at 8:00 am
July 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm
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Pen Green Research, Training and Development Base,
Rockingham Road, Corby,
NN17 1AG
United Kingdom

The programme is designed to be relevant to providers and commissioners of early childhood services across the public, voluntary and private sectors, with an emphasis on integrated working across education, health and social care. Past participants have come from a range of disciplines and most have worked in integrated settings and services including nursery schools, children’s centres, SureStart local programmes, social work and health care settings and local authority divisions.

The course content has been developed to meet the changing needs of leaders and managers working within early years teams and integrated services. It covers a range of contemporary subjects taking account of established evidence about the critical importance of high quality early education, early intervention through multi agency partnerships, parental involvement and narrowing the gap between the most and least disadvantaged children. There is also a focus on the complexities and challenges of working with families as well as the need to develop distributed leadership capacity within and across organisations.

The programme is ideally structured to meet the needs of students who are working full-time. Offered part-time over two years and nine months, teaching is delivered in five study blocks amounting to 20 days in total. We believe this mode of study enables students to focus fully on their learning during the study blocks, enhancing the overall teaching expe­rience. It reduces regular travel and offers students more flexibility managing their learning than is usually available at M level study.

This MA is based on a practitioner research approach, which means you will carry out con­siderable elements of study in your own workplace. Each module starts with a study block, following which students complete their research and assignments back in their own settings.

Throughout your assignment you will receive regular 1:1 tutorial support from your module tutor. This can happen through a combination of email, phone, Skype/Facetime or in person at Pen Green if you are prefer.

Course Modules

Year 1

  • Development and Learning in the Early Years: In this module participants are introduced to an historical and contemporary perspective on early childhood development and learning. A range of observation methods and frameworks for analysing observations will be taught.
  • Working with Families: This module involves an examination of the key role parents play in their children’s learning. Participants are encouraged to explore key concepts such as social and cultural capital; and to examine the impact of poverty, disability, ethnicity, complexity and diversity on family life in the 21st century.

Year 2

  • Practitioner Action Research: Participants are introduced to the main research methodologies used in small scale practitioner research and are asked to consider what are appropriate research methodologies to use in their own work settings.
  • Leading in Integrated Teams: This module encourages participants to gain insights into the under-researched field of leadership within early years settings. Participants will consider leadership in relation to both leading children’s learning and to their own organisational and team development.

Year 3

A dissertation in your chosen area of research

Course Attendance Dates

1st – 5th October 2018

4th – 8th March 2019

30th September – 4th October 2019

4th – 6th March 2020

9th – 10th July 2020

Staff and Support

The programme is taught by an enthusiastic, experienced team of tutors from Pen Green. Tutors work as an integrated team, most have roots in early childhood education, primary education, social work, health care and research. All tutors are intent on supporting you as an independent learner and seeing you succeed and grow in confidence, knowledge and understanding as well as develop your practice working with children and their parents.

Students are supported by:

  • A programme tutor
  • A personal tutor
  • Module leaders to provide academic and pastoral support
  • Student representatives on programme committees
  • A designated Student Administrator
  • An induction at the beginning of the academic session
  • StudyNet, a versatile on-line inter-active intranet and learning environment
  • Access to the library at Pen Green
  • Guided student-centred learning through the use of StudyNet
  • A Link Tutor who will meet with students on an annual basis


The course is open to professionals in social care, health and early education working with children and families in the early years.

Entry is open to applicants with relevant UK Honours degrees or equivalent qualifications and/or experience.

We have a policy of open access. For very experienced candidates, an undergraduate degree may not be a prerequisite – please contact us for further details. You will be required to include details of your eligibility on your application form.

Please note that if you do not hold an existing bachelor level degree you will be required to submit a marked assignment or a piece of written work of between 3,000 and 5,000 words as part of the selection process. This will relate to a relevant topic and will be assessed by tutors on the course team in order to establish your readiness for masters level work.

Work-related learning is an integral part of the course, so learners must be working in a relevant setting or have demonstrated the ability to work with a team working with children and families in an early years setting or integrated early childhood services.

Course fees for 2018 are £7980.  Please contact us to discuss payment plans.

Student Finance

Eligible students can apply for a Postgraduate Student Loan.  If successful you will be able to borrow up to £10,000 to help with fees and other costs.

Please note that all applications should come directly to Pen Green at the address below.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact us by phone on 01536 443435 or email.

To apply, complete the Application Form and email or post to:

MA Administrator
Pen Green Research Base
Rockingham Road
NN17 1AG