Award-Winning Foundation Degree (FdA) in Therapeutic Work with Children and Young People

Course Outline
  • Start Date: 7/1/25
  • Duration: 2 Years
  • Day & Time: Tuesday 9:00am - 1:15pm

“If you get the opportunity to do this course, I’d absolutely urge you to do it… It’s really changed the way I work and how I feel about my practice.”

Our (FdA) in Therapeutic Work with Children and Young People is the only course of it’s type in the country.

Run by The Mulberry Bush and validated by UWE Bristol – this is a unique opportunity to build your career and confidence, as you specialise in working with children who are vulnerable or have experienced early-life trauma. 

You’ll explore everything that goes into developing a therapeutic relationship with a child or young person, and develop the varied, practical set of skills needed to improve outcomes for children, young people and families, as you move forward as a reflective, highly sought-after practitioner.

Why study therapeutic work? 

This two-year foundation degree covers all the theories underpinning trauma-informed practice. You’ll learn about everything from theories and children development, to the deeper internal workings of children’s (and adult’s) brain processes.

Most importantly, you’ll have ample opportunity to apply the theory to your own practice, as you hone your skills and confidence in your day-to-day work with children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

With a growing need for specialist practitioners in this area, our graduates are highly sought after for wide-ranging roles across education, social care and health.

Why Study with Mulberry Bush / UWE?

This course is the only one of its kind in the UK delivered by a therapeutic care organisation but that’s also accredited by a leading university.

The Mulberry Bush is well known, and highly respected, in therapeutic working with children, young people and their families. We’ve been around for 75 years, and the course is informed by the day-to-day work of our school, as well as the latest research.

All our tutors have lived experience of working in this field, and the course is firmly rooted in practice. As a work-based learning degree, you’ll apply what you learn to your own work, and bring back your reflections and insights for the cohort (and you) to learn from.

As an experiential course, there’ll also be plenty of opportunity to explore your own responses, and develop greater insight, resilience and confidence.

You’ll go away with an FdA qualification accredited by UWE Bristol, one of the UK’s leading providers of therapeutic education.

The course is the equivalent of a Level 5 qualification, so you’ll be taking your skills one step further than the statutory Level 3 requirements, to help you stand out when you’re going for jobs.

Course Content

Module 1 - Foundation to therapeutic work with children and young people
Includes segments on:

  • What do we mean by therapeutic?
  • What do we mean by psychodynamic?
  • Introduction to behaviour as communication

Module 2 - Children with complex needs
Includes segments on:

  • The care system and its impact on children and young people
  • Understanding psychosexual development
  • Working with sexually harmful behaviour
  • Neuroscience of trauma

Module 3 - The context of professional practice
Includes segments on:

  • Emotional impact on staff of working with trauma
  • Working in Groups/Theory of Group Processes

Module 4 - Developing professional practice
Includes segments on:

  • Working with the frozen child
  • Understanding complex trauma
  • Working with internal and external factors

Module 5 - Application of Psychodynamic Theory
Includes segments on:

  • Further application of psychodynamic thinking - Defences
  • Working with the family - a psychodynamic approach
  • Therapeutically Informed Education
What Does the Course Lead To?

By the end of your two years with us, you’ll be qualified to Level 5 (exceeding the statutory requirement of a Level 3 qualification in the children’s sector). With a foundation degree qualification under your belt, you’ll be in a strong position for working at managerial level in a childcare or education setting.

The course is the equivalent of a Level 5 qualification, but it covers off the mandatory Level 3 Diploma requirements that all childcare practitioners need to complete (so you won’t need to do that separately).

If you wish, you can add on an extra year of study to gain a BA (Hons) in Professional Practice through UWE Bristol. You could also choose to take your skills into another area of therapy, teaching or practice.

Entry Requirements

This is a work-based learning course.

You need to be working with children for at least 16 hours a week (paid or voluntary) and be able to apply what you’re learning in your practice.

You don’t need any specific qualifications, although we may ask you to write a short piece of work to check you can write coherently at the required level.

If you haven’t accessed student funding before, you can apply for funding through Student Finance England.


The course is assessed through assessments, including essays, reports, presentations and an electronic portfolio. There are no exams and as a work based degree you will have a mentor in your work place, who will then assess you through Guided Professional Discussions. You and your mentor will be fully supported by your Link Tutor.

This is a full-time programme and so requires a significant independent study to support learning. Students should expect to spend between 10-15 hours per week in independent study.

How to Enrol

Applications for 2024/25 are now open. Download our course booklet to get full details on the foundation degree. Please contact Angela Brown - [email protected] if you would like further information or click APPLY for an application form.

Course Outline
  • Start Date: 7/1/25
  • Duration: 2 Years
  • Day & Time: Tuesday 9:00am - 1:15pm