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This course is validated by: Lancaster University

Disability Studies (Inclusive Practice) Foundation Degree FdA (Subject to validation)

Location: University Centre at Blackburn College
UCAS Code: L591
Code: SS2588A13
Fees: View fees and financial information
Validated by: Lancaster University
Study Mode: Full Time, Part Time
Duration: Full time: 2 academic years
Part time: 4 academic years
Start Dates: september 2020
Term Dates: View term dates

In all sectors of work, you will come into contact with people who are disabled. Whether you're a support assistant within a school, care assistant within a workplace, a parent with a child or family member with an additional need; our Foundation Degree in Disability Studies (Inclusive Practice) will help you understand disability issues and the context in which different professionals work with people who are disabled. Throughout the course our dedicated teaching team will challenge your perception of what you believe it means to be disabled, engage you in debates surrounding inclusivity, equality and diversity and broaden your knowledge of this growing subject area. The Foundation Degree addresses these training needs by raising your awareness of the importance of providing seamless transitions between child and adulthood through study of those individuals with additional needs from birth to old age. You won't just look at children with disabilities but impairment throughout the lifespan.

This Foundation Degree programme has been designed in response to major changes in the government policies, work-place needs and formostly for disabled people. The course is designed to develop the workforce in order to provide well trained professionals to help deliver an inclusive model for disabled peoples' services.

What will I study?

You will study 16 modules to complete the course. These modules will examine the theories and principles relating to professional practice within the field of additional needs. You'll study a diverse programme that will challenge you to reflect upon the concepts of disablement; you will examine the theories and principles relating to practice. Modules are run by experienced practitioners who have a wealth of knowledge in working in the field of disability studies. Guest lecturers are invited in to speak about their experiences, working practices, roles and the expectations of working in particular environment. To date we have welcomed James Hadleigh from Care Network, Head Teachers from Primary Schools, the Course Consultant Dr Bob Sapey, Educational Psychologists and a Social Workers. 

Each module interlinks so that you build a sound knowledge of the discipline, whilst applying your developing understanding to practice, this can either be within a paid or voluntary work placement. Communication is fundamental to practice and this is one of the first modules to be taken. In it we examine different theories relating to communication and the current models of good practice. We also debate contemporary issues. The Disability and the Environment module develops your understanding of the environment in which you operate and how values and attitudes are formed. It involves an examination of personal and professional values, attitudes and beliefs and how they impact on service users. 

All students take a total of 120 credits per level.

Level 4 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Models of Disability
  • Development and Disability
  • Psychology of Disability
  • Communication, Technology and Disability
  • Social Policy and Disability
  • Historical and Contemporary Contexts
  • Preparation for Research
  • Reflective Journey 1

Level 5 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Theorising Impairment and Impairment Effects
  • Professionalism: Working across Agendas and Professional Boundaries
  • Safeguarding, Abuse, Ill Treatment and Violence
  • Towards Equality and Inclusion
  • Leading and Managing Quality Provision
  • Technology and Inclusion
  • Research and Disability
  • Reflective Journey 2



Entry Requirements

You’ll need 48 UCAS points to join this programme (formerly 120 UCAS points).

All applicants must show that they have a good level of spoken or written English, and if English is not your first language you’ll need to demonstrate the ability to study in English.

Applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria but have relevant work / life experience will be considered on an individual basis and may be invited to interview.

Work Placement

During the course you are required to spend at least 240 hours working in a relevant role in order to improve your knowledge and practice of the subject. This may be through paid employment or via a voluntary work placement in a relevant role. Your work placement is expected to have a focus on applying the knowledge from your degree programme in an employment context.

Please note: work placements are subject to availability.  You are also responsible for any costs in travelling to and from your work placements, for any accommodation costs and in some instances the cost of acquiring a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report.





How will I be assessed?

One of the major strengths of the programme is out inclusive approach to assessment. Within all modules a choice of assessment is available and you will be able to choose which method of assessment you prefer depending on the module or subject matter being covered. Across the whole programme you will still experience a range of assessment methods including both verbal and written elements to ensure full exposure to a range of assessment techniques and to encourage a thorough understanding of the subject. 

Each module is formally assessed through, for example, examination, open-book test, individual and group presentation, essay, observation of practice, assessment of course work e.g. art portfolio, written report, reflective practice and portfolios of evidence.  This formal assessment will count towards your module mark and feedback is usually given within 3 weeks following the submission of your formal submission of work.

Additionally, some lecturers will provide informal feedback, for example, following an examination they may choose to work through the exam paper in a tutorial. It should be noted that feedback is part of the ongoing learning cycle which is not limited to written feedback. Other forms of feedback include one-to-one meetings with a personal tutor, dissertation and project supervision meetings, a lecturer responding to learner questions or responses during topic or situation discussions. 

Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

Teaching and Learning

The learning environment and facilities could include lecture theatres, classrooms, technology suites, laboratories and workshops, library and skills labs, art and photography studios, small group and quiet zones. Learning methods will vary according to the programme of study but will include lectures and group tutorials. In addition, seminars, field trips, work placements, role play or scenario activities, laboratory and workshop practical, demonstrations, guest lectures, discussions and debates all contribute to the learning experience to support the acquisition of subject specific skills and knowledge and the development of transferable and employment related skills.

You should typically expect to have around 15 contact hours per week if you are studying full time.

In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your personal tutor.  

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.  The team could include senior academics, professional practitioners with industry experience, demonstrators and technical officers.  You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.


We endeavour to make timetables available one month before you start your course.  Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.  Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week. 

Overall Workload

You overall workload consists of class contact hours, around 15 hours of independent learning and assessment activity and any field trips which may take place.

Academic Support

We have a dedicated Student Engagement Team who will be able to provide support in the following areas;

  • Study Skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English
  • Academic Writing (including referencing)
  • Research Skills
What can I do next?

Once you have successfully completed your Foundation Degree, graduates will usually go on to top up their foundation degree to honours level. This can be done at University Centre at Blackburn College. Progression on to BA (Hons) Disability Services (Inclusive Practice) (Top-up) is the obvious choice but other options are available. You may also choose to move into employment in the social care sector or the children's workforce.

Supplementary Information

Download the Programme Specification for FdA Disability Studies (Inclusive Practice). The Programme Specification will give you further information about the course structure, learning outcomes and detailed information about the assessment you can expect during the course.

Work Placement

Work placements are subject to availability.  You are also responsible for any costs in travelling to and from your work placements, for any accommodation costs and in some instances the cost of acquiring a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report.

What does ‘subject to validation’ mean?

We are continually looking at enhancing our courses to ensure they are up to date and relevant. This means we may add new courses or update existing courses in our portfolio. As this happens, the courses are advertised as ‘subject to validation’ to make you aware that the course you are looking at may not yet be finalised, or is undergoing changes.

Any course listed as ‘subject to validation’ is in the process of approval. Validation is a rigorous process undertaken with academic staff, students, independent subject experts and employers to ensure the course is current, of high quality, and able to prepare students well for their future employment or further study.

Success through validation is not guaranteed, which is why courses are highlighted as ‘subject to validation’. In the event the course is significantly amended, or does not meet the necessary requirements for a successful validation, we will get in touch to support you in finding a suitable alternative, either at Blackburn College or at another provider.


Career Options

Hospital Play Specialist

If you enjoy being with children and want to help them during a difficult time, this job could be perfect for you. In this job you will help children cope during their time in hospital.

To do this job you will need the ability to build good relationships with children, and their parents and carers. You’ll need to be a good listener. And you’ll also need to be able to work with families under stress.

Before you start you will have to study for a foundation degree in healthcare play specialism. To do the foundation degree, you will need a professional childcare qualification at level 3 or above.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Special Needs Teaching Assistant

If you are keen to help children and want to work in a school, this could be an ideal job for you. Special needs teaching assistants help children with a wide range of learning, physical or behavioural difficulties.

Local education authorities (LEAs) and schools decide which qualifications and experience they expect. You are likely to need some experience to find paid work. A good way of getting this experience is by volunteering in your local school.

To be a special needs teaching assistant you will need to be patient, and firm when necessary. You must also be willing to help with children’s personal needs.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Care Assistant

If you enjoy helping people and want to make a difference to their lives, this job could be just what you are looking for.

As a care assistant you would help people who have difficulties with their daily activities. You could work with children, people with physical or learning disabilities, older people or families.

It would be useful if you had experience in a caring role. When you apply for a job you will need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

A good care assistant has a friendly and caring approach and the ability to relate to people from a variety of backgrounds. Patience and a sense of humour are also important.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Residential Support Worker

Residential support workers look after the physical and mental wellbeing of children or vulnerable adults in care.

If you enjoy helping people and want to make a difference to their lives, this job could be perfect for you.

In this job, it will be important to get on with people of all ages and backgrounds and gain their trust. You'll need to have understanding and a non-judging attitude.

Some social care employers will be more interested in your work and life experience than formal qualifications, and you can gain these whilst working. You’ll need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

There are some age restrictions on working in children’s homes.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Play Therapist

If you can communicate well with children and would like a job helping them during times of emotional distress, this could be ideal for you.

Play therapists help children to make sense of difficult life experiences or complex psychological issues through the activity of play.

In this job you would need to be able to gain the trust of children. You would also need knowledge of child development.

Many employers will prefer you to have an approved postgraduate qualification and registration with the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT) or Play Therapy UK (PTUK). You would also need to pass checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Equalities Officer

Equalities officers promote positive practices and attitudes. You would help to make sure that people in minority groups are treated equally regardless of characteristics such as age, disability or gender. If you believe in fair treatment for all and want to help other people, this could be a job you would enjoy.

You’ll be dealing with people from a wide range of backgrounds so you’ll need to keep an open mind. Your excellent listening skills will also help you to understand the different situations people are in.

Relevant work experience, and knowledge and understanding of equal opportunities and legislation are highly valued by employers. Some new equalities officers also have a degree.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire