The aim of Assessment 2 is to provide you with opportunity to explore cross national responses to an issue that relates to childcare in different European country settings. The task is to deliver a report that explores an aspect of childcare in two European contexts and which provides good evidence from which comparisons can be made. This leaves you with enormous choices.
For example, your choice of focus could extend to any of the following indicative areas (you can also access a range of area in the ‘Possible Childcare Issues’ handout):
- pre-school care provision
- state & private education systems
- age-related health care
- fostering & adoption services
- look-after children
- professional training & recruitment of carers, specialist caring
- maternity & paternity rights
- children of travelling people
- youth unemployment
- child protection services
- children living in war zones
- public & private mix of childcare services
- child poverty & life chances
- children’s rights
- systems of family support
Alternatively, you may prefer exploring patterns and/or systems of service support for children in (e.g.) health, care, pre-school services, primary/secondary education, child protection, social welfare, youth employment, etc.
The choice of European countries is limited by 2 factors:
- the selection may include no more than 2 countries belonging to the UK. For the purposes of this module and assignment, the UK is understood to comprise: Scotland, England, Wales and N. Ireland.
- choices will be severely hampered by the non-availability of relevant, up-to-date texts and other resource material in your local study centre libraries. Country choices will inevitably depend on what is there and ready to access. This means your choice may be restricted by what is available rather than by what you have an interest in researching.
This comparative report allows you opportunity to develop and focus your own interests in childcare and to explore aspects of childcare practice in different countries. With this in mind, the following questions should be considered:
- Which aspects of childcare interest me?
- Which countries do I want to study?
- In what terms can I make the comparisons?
- What literature is accessible?
These questions should help to inform the direction of your studies and reading over the weeks leading up to Assessment 2.
Points to consider
- The assessment specification is intentionally broad to offer you a degree of freedom in selecting the childcare issue of interest to you. In allowing you this flexibility, it then becomes challenging to highlight specific criteria as each assessment will be unique in its approach and the subject matter covered.
- It is worth reminding ourselves what the purpose is for assessment 2: The aim of Assessment 2 is to provide you with opportunity to explore cross national responses to an issue that relates to childcare in different European country settings. The task is to deliver a report that explores an aspect of childcare in two European contexts and which provides good evidence from which comparisons can be made.
- The point in bold noted above is important when considering what you need to cover in assessment 2. The focus for this assessment is the process of comparison between the 2 European countries you select focussing on the childcare aspect you have selected. Engaging with this process requires you to explore beyond comparing and contrasting differences/similarities related to policy/practice/legislation but also explore reasons for the differences/similarities you uncover. The reasons are often linked with cultural, historical, political and ideological differences/similarities between the 2 countries you have chosen.
- Make good use of the research you undertook for assessment 1 with regard to the benefits and potential challenges/obstacles researchers can encounter when undertaking comparative research. You may want to apply or utilise aspects of Jowell’s Rules, Esping-Andersen’s Framework or Chong and Graham’s Russian Doll Approach to help structure your comparative report.
- There is no specific weighting for this assessment with regard to marks. Marks will be allocated on the comparisons you make and therefore what matters here is how you present these, your depth of discussion, structure, layout and critical thinking.
- The Learning Outcomes noted in the module descriptor which relate to assessment 2 are:
- Describe and evaluate the pattern of social policy and service support for children and young persons in the UK and a selection of European countries.
- Assess childcare arrangements in the UK and other European countries in light of historical, sociological and cultural backgrounds and influences.
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