BA (Hons) Youth Justice

BA (Hons) Youth Justice

Your course

Explore a range of theoretical perspectives on why and how children and young people become involved in offending behaviour.  You will also find out how the youth justice system is set up to respond to this and critically evaluate the effectiveness of certain approaches.   This course will help you to develop a range of evidence based skills and strategies for forming and sustaining relationships with children and young people that have the best chance of helping them to stop offending.  You will study this in the wider historical, political and social contexts in which people working in youth justice work.

How will you learn?

This is a distance learning course.  The majority of the content you will study will be delivered through our engaging, media rich digital resources.  You will be supported throughout your studies by one of our learning coaches with knowledge of the subject area and expertise in providing effective support to students working at a distance.

How will you be assessed?

You will be assessed through computer marked assignments and a range of written assignments, including:

  • Essays
  • Case studies
  • Policy analysis
  • Briefing papers

This module will introduce students to underlying principles that support and inform Youth Justice.  It focuses on the young people who come into contact with the system – their development from childhood and their experiences of the world and how these might relate to their offending behaviour.  It also begins to explore the kinds of skills practitioners need in order to work effectively with these young people.


On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe how the youth justice system is set up to respond to young people who offend or are at risk of offending
  • Discuss the legal framework within which those who work with young people operate
  • Explore the role of the professional relationship between young people and those working with them
  • Identify some factors that can impede positive physical, mental and emotional development
  • Describe strategies for promoting young people’s engagement in education, training and employment.

What you will study

  • Block 1: Introduction to youth justice – Find out about the youth justice system: the young people involved, its evolution and how it operates in England and Wales.
  • Block 2: Adolescent development – explore the fundamentals of child and adolescent development and how this relates to offending by young people.
  • Block 3: Relationships and practice – investigate the evidence base for building effective relationships with children and young people in the youth justice system
  • Block 4: Rights and responsibilities – find out about the legal framework for youth justice and how this intersects with children’s rights frameworks.
  • Block 5: Educational engagement – explore the educational experiences of children in the youth justice system and consider the significance of educational engagement in helping them to stop offending.
  • Block 6: Reflective practice – develop the skills of reflective practice in the context of continuously improving the service you provide to children and young people.

The course is practice focused. You will revisit key theoretical perspectives and principles relating to working effectively in youth justice from Module 1 and extend your understanding of these through guided reflections on practice examples. Throughout the course, you will be given opportunities to search for and use a range of legislation, government policy documents, journal articles, guidance documents, newspaper reports and research and to use this evidence as you develop as a reflective practitioner.  The programme requires analysis and application of knowledge to practice and the development of skills outlined in detail in the Youth Justice Skills Matrix.


On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Identify interventions, which take into consideration the individual, their situation and general child/adolescent development issues and risk of harm.
  • Assess intervention plans, which are clearly based on the outcomes from assessment.
  • Work with others to identify, assess and develop interventions for children and young people where there are safeguarding concerns.
  • Recognise the likely effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce risk based on the principles of effective practice.

What you will study

Block 1: Young people’s development – extend your understanding of child and adolescent development and apply this practically in relation to some video case studies and your own practice.

Block 2: Assessment – find out more about the intervention cycle of assessment, planning and review in the context of direct practice, including the use of AssetPlus.

Block 3:Safety and wellbeing – explore the safeguarding issues that arise in relation to a young person’s offending and consider this firmly in the context of a multi-agency response, reflecting on your role and responsibilities within that.

Block 4: Risk – explore the concept of risk from a range of perspectives, considering what we know about risk and protective factors for offending behaviour and how this risk is measured

This module explores the current state of theory, practice and evidence relating to working effectively with children and young people in the youth justice system. It’s focus is on effective practice across a number of important domains, including engaging with young people, assessment and planning interventions and custody and resettlement.  There is an opportunity to explore the key criminological theories in the context of offending by children and young people and to develop an understanding of desistance from offending and how to promote it.


On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to:

  • 1.Evaluate theoretical approaches to youth crime.
  • 2.Critically evaluate effective practice and evidence-based approaches to youth justice practice.
  • 3.Identify and analyse a range of strategies for engaging with and building relationships with individual young people, parents/carers and with groups.
  • 4.Evaluate assessment and planning intervention practice in the context of youth justice.
  • 5.Evaluate approaches to transition planning in the context of resettlement.
  • 6.Evaluate theories of desistance and their application to work with young people who offend.

What you will study

Block 1: Why young people offend – evaluate the key criminological theories in the context of explaining why children offend and how their behaviour is responded to.

Block 2: Working effectively – find out about ‘what works’ in youth justice and approaches to measuring the effectiveness of work done with young people in the youth justice system

Block 3: Assess, plan, intervene – explore the cycle of assessment, planning, intervention and review at the heart of youth justice practice

Block 4: Engagement and participation – consider a range of strategies for gaining and sustaining the engagement and positive participation of children and young people in interventions.

Block 5: Custody and resettlement – find out how custody is configured for children and evaluate practice designed to ensure the effective resettlement of children when they return to their communities.

Block 6: Desistance – investigate approaches to helping children and young people stop offending

This module is focused upon enhancing the skills already developed at level 4 with emphasis on activities fundamental to recognizing the skills required in a high performing professional reflective practitioner.  Itis about developing your skills in practice and so relies on you reflecting honestly and critically on your own experiences. This block is all about engagement in the context of building relationships and the communication skills required to promote trust, model pro-social behaviour, solve problems with young people and enhance their human and social capital.  You will consolidate your learning in this area from modules 1, 2 and 3, extend that learning and then apply it very practically in relation to some video case studies and your own practice where you can.


On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • evaluate and apply appropriate strategies to facilitate engagement with young people and their families
  • evaluate the effectiveness of intervention plans
  • identify and assess appropriate protocol and process arrangements in working with multiple agencies, including the sharing and safeguarding of information
  • evaluate the application of strategies for supporting young people through transitions within the context of youth justice intervention.

What you will study

Block 1: Engagement and communication – explore engagement in the context of building relationships and appraise the communication skills required to promote trust, model pro-social behaviour, solve problems with young people and enhance their human and social capital.

Block 2: Effective practice: extend your understanding of effective practice and examine ways of working to build effective relationships with children and young people.

Block 3: Multi-agency working – investigate various models of multi-agency and inter-agency working and reflect on what some of the challenges might be for multi-agency working in the specific context of youth justice practice.

Block 4: Transitions – explore the range of transitions young people in the youth justice system make and consider what skills practitioners need in order to provide appropriate support

This module will facilitate a critical exploration of social policy and young people. It will identify some of the key elements of social policy that influence and have influenced young people’s lives. It will examine the conceptual, political and historical development of social policy affecting young people. The module will also explore contemporary conceptual and substantive issues of social policy concerning young people. These include issues such as young people living under social services care, young people and health, and welfare services for young people.  The purpose of the module is to provide students with a critical understanding of young people and social policy in both its historical development and in a more contemporary sense.


On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Evaluate a range of major social policies in relation to young people
  • Evaluate different conceptual understandings of social policy and implications on offending behaviour
  • Critically discuss current debates on social policy and youth justice
  • Examine some substantive issues of social policy in contemporary practice and their effects on young people today

What you will study

Block 1: Political ideology and social policy – explore ways in which political ideologies influence the way in which social policy is developed and implemented, particularly in relation to youth justice.

Block 2: Children in the care of the state – consider reasons why children who have experienced care are more likely to encounter the youth justice system.

Block 3: Childhood, adolescence and social policy – investigate the way in which the concepts of ‘childhood’ and ‘adolescence’ have changed across time and how this influences responses to those who commit crimes.

Block 4: Diverse groups and specific needs – consider the ways in which the youth justice system responds to particularly groups, in particular girls and young people from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority backgrounds.

Block 5: Children and young people’s rights – extend your understanding of children’s rights and the challenges that this raises for the operation of the youth justice system

Block 6: International youth justice systems – compare and contrast youth justice systems from across the globe.

This module will assist those working within the Youth Justice sector that are either in a management/supervisory role or who aim to be promoted into such a position. This module will help students to have a wider critical overview of policy developments regarding staff development within the sector (FDYJ/YJEPC) and the intended impact this should have. Further, students will explore what it takes to be a successful manager and coach, providing them with the skills to empower the staff they are responsible for whilst undertaking staff development opportunities. This module will provide students with the skills necessary to become a ‘work-based coach’ to support colleagues who are undertaking the FdA Youth Justice.


On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Critically explore essential concepts and principles in relation to staff development within Youth Justice
  • Critically evaluate organizational culture in relation to leadership
  • Critically evaluate approaches to evidence-based implementation
  • Critically discuss theories of and approaches to adult learning
  • Select, justify and use a range of coaching strategies that will enable staff to build a bridge between learning on the FDYJ/YJEPC, technical performance and the workplace context
  • Reflect critically on own development as a coach within the workplace.

What you will study

Block 1: Public sector management – explore organisational culture and politics and perspectives on leadership in the public sector context.

Block 2: Mechanisms for change – find out more about the context for change in the youth justice sector, including the Youth Justice Professional Framework and the relationship-based practice framework.

Block 3: Evidence-based implementation: consider the factors involved in implementing evidence-based practice successfully in the youth justice workplace.

Block 4: Learners and learning – find out more about how adults learn, barriers to learning and some strategies for supporting learners effectively in the workplace.

Block 5: Coaching for effective practice – develop your coaching skills through dialogue, observation and communication and through partnering with practitioners to incorporate research-based practice into their interactions with young people.

You will be required to complete an independent study/research project/dissertation. This builds on previous study undertaken in previous modules, with the expectation that you will have a fundamental theoretical knowledge of research process and ethics, as well as being skilled at critically evaluating published research. This component provides you with the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge and skills of research that have been developed under supervision of an experienced academic. This module will refine your skills regarding formulating informed research questions, design studies for the identified research purposes, carry out the planned research, interpret the data and then evaluate the findings and the study as a whole.


On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to:

  • 1.Formulate a clear, informed and ethically sound research question(s) relating to youth justice
  • 2.Conduct a literature search discussing, analysing and critically evaluating relevant concepts, theories and research evidence
  • 3.Design an appropriate research strategy and conduct a study using an appropriate design and method
  • 4.Accurately report on analysis of research findings, critically evaluating the implications of the research
  • 5.Critically reflect upon the experience of conducting a Final Year Independent Study and how challenges were addressed.

What you will study

You will undertake your own piece of research on a topic related to youth justice that interests you.  You will work through the process of:

  • Identifying and defining a researchable question
  • Exploring and presenting findings from relevant literature
  • Defining appropriate strategies for research
  • Analysing and communicating findings in appropriate ways

You will need to demonstrate ethical awareness throughout this process.

BA Hons in Youth Justice Funding information


BA Hons in Youth Justice – £7,500 + VAT.  You will receive a discount of £250 if you register to take the course in its entirety, rather in the stages as detailed below.

Foundation Degree in Youth Justice – The cost of this course is £4,000 plus VAT.  For holders of the YJPEC the cost is £3,250 plus VAT and for those with PCEP it is £3,500 plus VAT.

Social Policy Module – The cost of this module is £1000 plus VAT

Managing and Coaching Module – The cost of this module is £1750 plus VAT

Independent Research Module – The cost of this module is £1000 plus VAT