Advanced Child Protection (Distance Learning) - PCert, PDip, MA
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Our Advanced Child Protection MA is a distance learning programme which runs on a part-time basis for two years. It provides practitioners with the knowledge, skills and confidence to take a child-centred approach to their practice and working life.
The MA and other postgraduate courses in Advanced Child Protection attract national and international students with a variety of experiences in child protection. It provides students with the opportunity to access a diverse pool of knowledge in an environment that allows you to question and excel.
Reasons to study Advanced Child Protection at Kent
- Benefit from access to the Centre for Child Protection's award-winning training simulations and innovative learning tools.
- Our flexible study programme includes distance-learning and part-time options enabling you to study while working.
- Learn from high-quality video lectures from experts and leading academics.
- Online access to academic journal articles, book chapters and e-books.
- Study at a Centre which has worked in partnership with the NSPCC, the NHS, the Home Office and Kent Police (Special Branch).
- Shared learning with students who are multi-agency child protection practitioners working in health, education, social care, law enforcement, humanitarian crisis and community based organisations.
- Opportunity to share knowledge and hear the latest research in the field.
What you'll learn
Our MA gives a 360-degree perspective on child protection, introducing you to the viewpoints of academics, practitioners, organisations, parents, children and young people, integrated with contemporary research theory and policy. You'll understand the impact that technology has on protecting children, and consider the effect of the globalisation of the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable children.
During your studies, you are encouraged to develop advanced communication skills, reflective analysis and the critical use of research. We also promote the confident use of direct work skills with adults and children.
It is possible to study certain individual modules from the MA on a Standalone basis. Each of our postgraduate standalone modules takes 10 weeks to complete and is equivalent to 20 credits at Master's level. They provide a taster and introduction to studying at the Centre for Child Protection, and if you wish to continue studying, you can use the credits from your taster modules to work towards a qualification in Advanced Child Protection (PCert, PDip or MA). However, please note that to join the postgraduate programme, you need to meet our entry requirements (detailed below). For further information about Standalone modules, including costs, see the Centre for Child Protection website.
A minimum of a second class honours degree. In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path and these cases are assessed individually.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
English language entry requirements
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Duration: 2 years part-time
Teaching is based on guided study using an online learning environment (Moodle), videoed expert lectures, online seminars, 'serious games', acted and filmed role play, as well as web-based weekly forums.
During the programme you:
- develop innovative techniques for professional training and support
- translate and apply the latest research and knowledge to inform best practice
- create diverse and flexible learning programmes
- address gaps in post-qualification training provision and opportunities
- facilitate safe and realistic environments in which child protection professionals can develop and enhance their skills and professional practice.
We also offer a variety of 10 week online distance learning standalone MA modules. The modules can be taken on their own or as a taster to Master's-level study. All the work is completed online where you participate in online forums and have access to journal articles and specialist materials. After successful completion of the assignment, the module is equivalent to 20 credits at Master’s level. For further information, see the Centre for Child Protection website.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules.
This module introduces students to the logic and methods of social research. It aims to familiarize students with central topics in research design and the ethics of social research so that they can apply this knowledge to their understanding of fields of social and public policy. The module introduces students to both positivist and critical/interpretive approaches and the debates behind their selection for conducting research. It will invite them to consider how research questions are generated and answered. It will enable students to identify common mistakes in the social research methods used to develop sector relevant policy and how to effectively and systematically address issues. Topics will also include: ethics and informed consent; sampling for qualitative and quantitative research; methods of primary and secondary data collection, methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis. It will give them an opportunity to learn and practise introductory kills in the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.
This module will provide students with a historical and contemporary perspective of child abuse and examine child and family centred practice, and will allow students to explore definitions of abuse, nationally and internationally. A significant area of research will be drawn upon with regards to the role of men in child protection. The module will also introduce key agencies in the field. The child protection simulations created by the Centre for Child Protection around child sexual exploitation (Looking for Lottie) and radicalization (ZAK), are embedded in this module.
The aim of this module is to focus on contemporary child protection policies and practice and provide the current legal context for child protection. In particular it will discuss policy and practice following the Munro Review (2011) and it will draw upon the implications of inter-professional and interdisciplinary research, theory and practice pre- and post- Baby Peter Connelly. The module will focus upon key agencies in child protection and practitioner communication skills. Students will be introduced to the Centre's child protection simulation, 'Rosie 2', where they will have the opportunity to analyse the different skills of practitioners involved in child protection practice.
This module provides professionals with in-depth knowledge about current assessment practice including insights into the attachment and relationship-based practice. The likelihood of maltreatment is significantly higher where a child demonstrates disorganized attachment behaviour and this thread runs throughout the module, paying special attention to the behaviour of the caregiver. The module is suitable for a wide range of professionals who work with complex family circumstances.
The aim of this module is to focus on how the individual child protection professional inner world is affected by and, in turn, effects the institutional practices embedded in the workplace in terms of working in child protection. Moreover, the module also looks at how the inner world and emotions of the individual are managed and how 'hot cognitions' involved in child protection work are addressed. Organisational and workplace features are considered from a psychosocial perspective, particularly in terms of different models of supervision, and individuals are encouraged to reflect upon their own position within organisations and how this can be optimized in circumstances where risk needs to be managed.
The dissertation is a major component of the MA and its content and intellectual standard should reflect this. Whilst the dissertation does not have to demonstrate the kind of originality required for theses submitted for degrees by research, it should have a wider scope, including a research element, and contain more detail and sustained argument than other coursework assignments. The overall aim of this Module is to build on the theoretical and methodological material included in the six compulsory modules studied throughout the MA course. It addresses practical questions of research and writing the dissertation and the construction of the dissertation itself. It also follows on and draws on the use of research materials (qualitative and quantitative data); using research and resources (libraries, documentation, and the internet); and drafting and writing, including the use of appropriate academic style and format. The dissertation will be library-based and not field research.
This module aims to provide students with a chance to discuss various types of intervention used by agencies in child protection, exploring issues of diversity, anti-oppressive practice, cultural and emotional intelligence. The role of targeted interventions as well as universal services will be considered. The module will significantly consider service users' perspectives of the support which is available as well as what works and what does not work.
This module aims to provide students with a chance to develop a critical understanding of international child protection practice. It will facilitate critical discussion and expression of informed views on various types of international child protection interventions used by agencies across the world , exploring issues of diversity, anti-oppressive practice, cultural and emotional intelligence and the politics of international policies. The module will significantly consider service users' perspectives of the support, which is available as well as what works and what does not work. It will consider implications and interpretations of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Child across the world and robustly evaluate this legislation in practice. This module also aims to critique and consider partnership collaboration in working across boards in the best interest of protecting the rights of children.
The dissertation is a major component of the MA and its content and intellectual standard should reflect this. Whilst the dissertation does not have to demonstrate the kind of originality required for theses submitted for degrees by research, it should have a wider scope, including a research element, and contain more detail and sustained argument than other coursework assignments. The overall aim of this Module is to build on the theoretical and methodological material included in the six compulsory modules. It addresses practical questions of research and writing the dissertation, and the construction of the dissertation itself. It also follows on and draws on the use of research materials (qualitative and quantitative data); using research and resources (libraries, documentation, and the internet); and drafting and writing, including the use of appropriate academic style and format. The dissertation will be library-based and not field research.
Teaching and assessment
A range of assessment methods ensure that theory and research relate to contemporary professional practice.
The annual tuition fees for students starting this course in January 2023 can be found on the Student Finance page.
The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:
Advanced Child Protection - MA at Medway
- Home part-time £5350
- EU part-time £5350
- International part-time £5350
Advanced Child Protection - PCert at Medway
- Home part-time £3567
- EU part-time £3567
- International part-time £3567
Advanced Child Protection - PDip - part-time at Medway
- Home part-time £3567
- EU part-time £3567
- International part-time £3567
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your fee status
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:
- University and external funds
- Scholarships specific to the academic school delivering this programme.
We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.Search scholarships
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, 100% of our Social work and social policy research was classified as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ for impact and environment.
Following the REF 2021, Social work and social policy at Kent was ranked 3rd for research in the UK in the Times Higher Education.
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Our Master’s and stand-alone modules give you the opportunity to further your career and expertise in child protection. As well as benefiting from Kent’s academic excellence, you gain insight into multi-agency relationships and responsibilities. The Centre attracts students from across social work, health, education, police, law, probation and the third sector, and widens your potential learning experience. The distance learning delivery of the Master’s programme enables you to fit learning around your life and work commitments and you have the chance to apply your knowledge as you progress. Each cohort contains a unique mix of experiences and professions, providing a valuable opportunity for information exchange and networking.
This course offers you the opportunity to study child protection through distance learning using innovative and cutting-edge techniques and technology. Teaching is delivered through the use of inter-professional serious training games, expert lectures, in the form of audio and videoed podcasts, acted role plays, presentations, online discussion forums and discussion forums. You access materials and online forums via Moodle, the University's Virtual Learning Environment and are assigned an academic adviser to support you through the duration of the course.
Serious training games
The team at the Centre for Child Protection is leading the way in developing new and innovative ways to deliver training and opportunities for simulated role play for professional development. The serious game concept offers a safe medium to explore and reflect upon child protection assessment. It offers professionals, at all stages of their careers, a unique way to evaluate real-life situations.
The first in the series of simulation training packages includes the 'Rosie Suite'. 'Rosie 1', looks at a challenging home visit to 4-year-old Rosie and her family. A subsequent simulation in our Rosie Suite, 'Rosie 2', promotes the theme of inter-professional practice by exploring the boundaries and challenges of a joint visit to the family by a health visitor and social worker some 5 years after 'Rosie 1'.
'myCourtroom: Rosie’s Family Go to Court' sees the family a further 3 years later whereby a disclosure during private family proceedings leads the family into public family proceedings – supporting learning of professional practice and knowledge of the family courts.
The Centre also has a 'Grooming Suite' of simulations. This includes both 'Zak at University' and 'Young Zak the Gamer' which focus on aspects of internet grooming into extremist thinking and action. We also have 'Looking out for Lottie' which is our award-winning simulation that looks at child sexual exploitation and 'Myrian and Joe: Behind Closed Doors' which is focused on radicalisation and extremist thinking. Our 'Grooming Suite' of simulations offer valuable learning packages to support both professionals and young people to support knowledge and aid in protection from different forms of grooming and exploitation. Finally, we also deliver a powerful training package for professionals, 'Crossing the Lines', which looks at criminal exploitation, gangs, and knife crime.
The Centre for Child Protection’s series of serious game simulations provide research-based case studies and the opportunities to explore the complex dynamics involved in making professional assessments and decisions in these contexts.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
Please note: Application deadline 1 December for the upcoming January start. Applications received after this date will be considered for entry the following year, with the exception of applications for entry to our standalone modules, which we are happy to continue to receive and consider beyond this date (for entry in January and other later entry points)
Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.
Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.
Apply for entry to:
Apply for short-term study:
United Kingdom/EU enquiries
MA at Medway
PCert at Medway
PDip at Medway
T: +44 (0)1227 768896
International student enquiries
T: +44 (0)1227 823254