Careers in Childhood Studies

When it comes to choosing a career, our students will often have the best of both worlds: the degree can be 'vocational' if you so wish; but it is also a 'non-vocational' degree, if you want to compete for the range of vacancies that still require a graduate with no specification as to subject.

Graduate profiles

"I absolutely loved the course and really feel like it has added so much to my life. The Therapeutic Work with Children and Adolescents unit that I took at Bristol really led me to pick the course I am on now. Since graduating I have continued my studies at the University of Nottingham reading an MA in Person-Centred Experiential Counselling and Psycotherapy. This is a two year course allowing me to specialise in working with children and young people in the second year. I hope to go on to work therapeutically and creatively with children and young people. The Childhood Studies degree was a perfect foundation for my aspirations and gave me plenty of opportunity to read into my interests through the use of open units."

Jo, BSc (Hons) Childhood Studies, 2016


"I am really glad that I chose the BSc Childhood Studies course. The teaching units allowed me to learn more about the development, the needs, the rights and the laws around children. The course also provided some wonderful opportunities to work and volunteer in the areas which I was interested in. This helped me gain the necessary experience for the next step in my career. since graduating I have been accepted on the MSc Social Work programme and was lucky to be selected for a bursary to help wit the costs of studying at postgraduate level. The funding has been set up to encourage local pupils from different backgrounds to study at university. It is also open to students whose personal circumstances might make their path through higher education more challenging, such as those who are carers, or who have a disability."

Nicole, BSc (Hons) Childhood Studies, 2015


"My role as an Inter-country Caseworker at Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB) involves a number of different aspects but primarily I manage the social work cases of children who have been referred to us by a UK local authority. I also work on the advice line service and advise local authority social workers, private individuals and lawyers on a variety of issues - from whether a child may have been a victim of trafficking to how long it would take to complete a welfare visit. The foundation of knowledge that I built during my time at Bristol is fundamental to my work. The law and policy that we studied has been key in my understanding of the UK Legal Framework of Children Act and the way that local authorities work including safeguarding. The detailed understanding of child protection issues and how to recognise and work with these is also very important to my role. The lectures we had on issues such as child trafficking, sexual exploitation and Femal Genital Mutilation (FGM) meant that I immediately understood a lot of the more complex issues faced by the children I represent - knowledge which I continue to build on."

Rose, BSc (Hons) Childhood Studies, 2014


"Since September I have been working as a teaching assistant with a child in Year Three with ADHD and emotional behavioural difficulties in an inner London primary school. I have received training from an outreach worker from the Pupil Referral Unit which has taught me invaluable behaviour management techniques; for example how to consistently establish and maintain positive but tight boundaries with children. Due to my Childhood Studies degree I have been well equipped to draw on my knowledge of child protection, interagency working and how to effectively support children with histories of trauma and/or have ‘Looked after status’ including adopted or permanently placed children. In addition, I regularly liaise with the school educational psychologist and SENCO, and was able to contribute to writing a CAF form - again utilising the very valuable skills I learned during my Childhood Studies degree. My up-to-date and balanced insight into children and families has benefited me hugely this year as I have been able to take an open but sensitive perspective when dealing with complicated cases. I am using this experience to further my professional development from September when I begin a PGCE in Primary Education at the University of Roehampton and hope to continue to broaden my knowledge in this area when I venture into my teaching career."

Fiona, BSc (Hons) Childhood Studies, 2014


"Since graduating I have completed the first year of the Teach First Leadership Development Programme, working as a Year 6 Class Teacher in a challenging school in West London alongside gaining my PGCE. Teach First is a charity which believes no child’s educational success should be limited by their socio-economic background. The knowledge and skills I gained from the degree are invaluable, in particular specific lectures such as: the understanding of educational theorists, procedures regarding child protection and looked-after children, current policy and practices involving asylum seekers and refugees, working with wider professionals, children’s development of language and the promotion of children’s wellbeing. Additionally, CS gave me a wider awareness of policy’s impact on children which is vital to understanding the children’s lives holistically. Due to the nature of Teach First I have had to balance the responsibility of a full time class teacher early on in my career alongside PGCE essays and lectures; the essay writing skills and ability to balance a heavy workload I developed through CS have been vital preparation for the challenging year I have experienced. I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone interested in teaching or working with young people in challenging circumstances as it equipped me extremely well to be knowledgeable and resilient in the face of the numerous pressures placed on professionals working with children today."

Hillary, 2014


"Since leaving Bristol I spent several months in Sri Lanka working in child development centres and mental health institutes and co-ordinating volunteers out there. After that I started working with Barnardo’s in a project called CEDARS which is a 'pre-departure accommodation' for families who are being removed from the UK. My role there was to work with the family to prepare them for leaving the UK. This could be by researching and putting families in contact with NGO's in their home country, sorting out home office funds for them and with the children it was more getting them ready emotionally (saying goodbye to people here and advising them on what the country may be like, going on a plane, making friends etc). The project was based in a centre with G4S and Home Office, as you can imagine inter-agency working with such different organisations was extremely challenging at times. I have just started a new job in the new National Centre of FGM with Barnardos; it’s a new project co-ordinating social work, consultancy, a knowledge hub and more into one service. My role will be around training LA's, police, health etc on identifying and protecting girls and families, it will also be one on one work with at risk families and girls, so it is all very exciting. In terms of the degree it has been really helpful and I think this is down to how diverse it is. None of the other courses I looked at were anywhere near as diverse and for me (who didn’t know what area I wanted to specialise in) this was ideal. I felt very comfortable in lectures to speak out and give my opinion as the group was not too large, but large enough to get lots of opinions. The law side in particular has helped me in my current and previous roles. For anyone looking to go into working with children and families the course is really amazing and the lecturers all had such a broad background themselves which was obvious in lectures."

Catherine, 2013


"The childhood studies course at Bristol offered a unique and broad perspective of child development, provisions for children in the UK, education and many more different aspects of childhood. The course is incredibly interesting and looking at such a wide range of disciplines enables a wide range of career options. Further to this, the course lecturers offer a huge amount of support; both academically and with regards to looking at what we wanted to do after we finished university. For example, through the use of a career day, where former students come and talk about what they are doing and how the course supported them in doing so. The course also prepared me to cope with the academic demands of the primary PGCE at the University of Cambridge – which is the equivalent to half a master’s degree in education and I have just accepted my first teaching post at an outstanding school in North London."

Niamh, 2012


"During the first year since graduation, I applied for the NOMS Graduate Programme for the prison service; I had to do a situational judgement test, JSACs, an interview and an exam before I was finally offered a place for October 2014. The graduate scheme within the prison service is a 3 year fast track scheme to management. I first became interested in working with individuals in the criminal justice system after taking the 'Children and the Law' module in the third year. I also wrote my dissertation on young offenders and which family factors might increase the likelihood of them offending. I am currently at HMP Eastwood Park in Gloucester working as a prison officer and am hoping to move to HMP Hewell in October 2015 and finally onto HMP Brinsford Young Offenders Institution in October 2016, where I hope to undertake the role of Head of Reducing Re-Offending. Eventually I want to work with children who have pre-cursors to offending and help design a programme that offers them a different course in life. Doing Childhood Studies definitely helped me to focus in on my interests and completely changed my career path. The opportunities available whilst doing the course; such as the voluntary placments, only helped improve what experience I could offer but also improved my personal skills. I absolutely love the job I'm in now, and I don't think I'd have even considered it had I not taken some of the modules that I took whilst at Bristol. I loved every single second of my three years and the course is definitely one I’d recommend."

Kate, 2012


"I have just finished my first year of an MSc Social Work course. Childhood Studies has greatly complemented my postgraduate studies. The psychological and sociological based lectures provided a solid foundation for social work theories and it has been really interesting seeing knowledge learnt in the ‘inter-professional working’ module in practice. Knowledge of both national and international human rights legislation and treaties has been particularly beneficial, as has studying child law in the final year. Social work uses and is directed by law and the political climate and so knowledge of policies in their historical context has been really helpful, as has learning to think critically about the law and areas which may be contradictory. I have just completed my first placement, working with the charity ‘Prison Advice and Care Trust’, as a family support worker. I was based between HMP Bronzefield, a female prison in Surrey and HMP Wormwood Scrubs, the male prison in Hammersmith. My role has been to help connect service users with their children and families, as having a strong social support network can reduce re-offending. It has been great experience and I have met some amazing people – although working in a caring role inside a prison is not always easy! I have to write a dissertation next year and so I am thinking about research into how to improve communication between social workers, prisoners and prison officers!"

Issy, 2012


Graduate of the intercalated degree in BSc Childhood Studies

"I have SO enjoyed this year! I chose Childhood Studies as my intercalated degree because I have always been interested in working with children in the future and find the childhood stage of development fascinating. It is not definite that I want to become a paediatrician - I have plenty of time to decide and need to explore other possible specialties first - but am quite confident that it is an area of practice that I would enjoy. However, it is not only in paediatrics that learning about children is important; thinking about how children may be affected and knowing about services/information that could be useful is important for any GPs or doctor who may be looking after a patient whose family includes children. I also thought that this course would not be too (medically) scientific but more of a social science, which is something that I enjoyed learning and reading about already. I think it has been brilliant and very appropriate for medical students. The opportunity to study in a less prescribed manner, with flexibility to direct my reading into new areas of interest and build my discussion and essay-writing skills has been a great way of learning (quite different to medicine). The research dissertation has been a very useful learning experience for me; the supervision from my dissertation advisor has been helpful in critiquing literature. Amongst my medical student peers I am not a strong writer so it was very nice having her guidance. Making a new bunch of student friends is a plus too! I was nicely welcomed into the year."

Nina Anderson, 2015

Childhood Studies

A Childhood Studies BSc provides an academic foundation for a career in a range of fields, such as education, childhood research and children's services, psychology, social work, social planning, law, management and administration. The Children Act 1989 and other national initiatives have created a strong demand for people with expertise in childhood studies who are able to work across traditional disciplinary and professional boundaries.

Edit this page