Course Overview


The FdA Early Years provides an opportunity for experienced Early Years practitioners to progress from vocational qualifications gained in Further Education to Higher Education programmes. Our philosophy is to support the development of  personal reflection and critical thinking for practitioners working across a wide range of Early Years settings for children from 0 to 6 years of age.

To help inform your decision, our Student Ambassadors would be more than willing to share their experiences with you as part of the application process.

Course Structure

The curriculum links the Development, Care and Education of Children and your own Personal and Professional Development.

At Level 4, modules build on your existing knowledge and practice and provide a solid foundation to work as a senior practitioner. Level 5 develops your theoretical and academic study and many students go on to study an Honours degree at Level 6.

Modules Covered

Level 4 Modules:

  • Human Development and Learning
  • Challenge, Risk and Safeguarding
  • Play, Learning and the Environment
  • Introduction to Research Methods in Early Years, Childhood and Youth
  • Personal Development Planning for Practitioners
  • Work-based Learning for Practitioners

Level 5 Modules:

  • Social Policy for Practitioners in Early Years, Childhood and Youth
  • Practitioner Research in Early Years, Childhood and Youth & Communities
  • Development and Learning: Theory to Practice
  • Meeting Individual Needs in Early Years, Childhood and Youth
  • Working Together for Children and Young People
  • Developing Reflective Practice

Learning Methods

The course aims to provide you with the theoretical knowledge and development of independent study skills to succeed at Foundation degree level. You will develop a deeper understanding of the theory which underpins your practice and will acquire evaluation skills through building research skills over both years of the course and undertaking increasingly independent practitioner research activities in a range of modules. Generic study skills support is available.

You will interact with the curriculum through involvement in student led seminars, presentations and discussions. The development of independent learning and leadership skills, including self-evaluation and conscious awareness of effective learning techniques is promoted through interactive teaching approaches such as personal tutorials, e-mail and Moodle. You are required to undertake a small scale independent research project. Emphasis is placed on the importance of independent study.

Teaching Methods

Teaching and learning are conducted through a variety of methods, which include lectures, group work, seminars, presentations and some independent focused research activities.

Blended learning through the medium of Moodle (the College's virtual learning environment) is a key feature of the course.


You will be assessed by undertaking a range of formative and summative assignments including:

  • Personal Development Planning portfolios
  • Work Based learning activities and written reflections
  • A range of practical tasks and evaluation
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Essays and reports
  • Individual Research Projects.

Work Placement/Fieldwork

As you are in paid/voluntary employment, you will spend a limited number of hours in College, normally one day per week.

What's Next?

This Foundation Degree offers you a wide range of progression routes. For example:

  • Entry to the final year of the BA (Hons) Early Years Practice or BA (Hons) Education Studies - both of which would enable you to enter postgraduate qualifications. 
  • Senior posts in Early Years settings 
  • Policy and development work
  • New roles in community work with children, families and communities in 'disadvantaged' areas.

The Foundation Degree will help you towards employment within any role involving the provision of care and education for children aged 0-6 and their families and communities including direct practice with children or working within the voluntary or statutory sectors.


Did You Know?

Your future career will be built on a solid foundation of the highest academic standards of teaching and learning – as many of our teaching staff are experts in their fields.

Our Early Years team have collaborated to publish two recent books:

  • 'The Early Years Professional's Complete Companion' by Pam Jarvis, Jane George and Wendy Holland (2012)
  • 'Research in the Early Years Setting' by Pam Jarvis, Stephen Newman, Wendy Holland, Jane George, Clive Opie and Ronan O'Beirne (2012)

You will be treated as an individual, with degrees often tailored to suit you individual experience, knowledge and interests – helping to support your personal growth and development.

Entry Requirements

The course is primarily designed for experienced Early Years practitioners with a vocationally relevant Level 3 qualification and a GCSE in English and Mathematics at Grade C/4-5 or above or acceptable equivalent: iGCSE or the Equivalency Test ( or 01277 203336). Some recognition may be gained from prior experience and learning from non-standard entrants.

We require sight of a recent (within the last 12 months) Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) and health check for admission to this course. A DBS from your current employer is also accepted.


Changes to the professional requirements for the Early Years sector were unveiled by the Department for Education in July 2013 and introduced from September 2014. These changes will have implications for some students on the FdA Early Years course.

To count in the ratios at level 3, you must also have achieved GCSEs in English and Mathematics at Grade C/4-5 or above.

Please be aware that if your GCSE is in the form of an Equivalency Test, these qualifications DO NOT COUNT for the professional requirements although they are still accepted by universities. Staff holding qualifications started before September 2014 will still be able to practice. The new criteria and entry requirements have not been applied retrospectively.

What you should do now:

If you have GCSE at Grade C/4-5 or above you do not need to do anything. If you took an equivalency test or have GCSE at Grade D/3 or below in English and Mathematics it is vital that you make arrangements to take or resit your GCSE so that when you finish your course you will be in a position to apply for a job.

It is in your interest to check your qualification level if you are unsure. Visit the Department for Education website:

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any queries about this. 

Information, Advice and Support

Careers Guidance

Help with choosing the right course and with thinking about where this might take you in the future.
Tel: 01274 433043
Email: [email protected]

Learning Support

Support for applicants with a learning difficulty, disability, illness or other learning need.
Tel: 01274 433133
Email: [email protected]

For all other queries call 01274 088088

Fees Information

We believe that quality degrees should not cost the earth. That's why our competitive tuition fees provide you with a quality experience that includes more taught hours than those at most universities, good levels of tutor access, and support with small teaching groups. More information on our competitive tuition fees

Programme Specification