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Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies

Level 4-5
Course Code:
Brannams Campus
Two years, full-time; three years, part-time

The course offers a comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of children's development and the provision of innovative practice to support learning. This well-established and successful FdA offers the most contemporary and current perspective on Early Childhood Studies, making it a perfect choice to develop your skills and further a career in early education and care.

External Examiner's comment: "The FdA Early Childhood Studies has a real culture of commitment and excellence which has been a privilege to be part of. They work hard with students from non-traditional backgrounds and the students, and critically, the children they work with, reap the rewards." SSTAR Teaching and Learning Award Winners 2015-2018


The course comprises six 20-credit modules at each level of study (six per year for full-time study)

The six modules you will study in Year One are:
-Professional Skills and Development
-Interpersonal Skills
-Young Children's Welfare and Wellbeing
-Policy and Provision
-International Education Perspectives
-Theories of Learning and Development (Psychology)

The six modules you will study in Year Two are:
-Perspectives on Childhood
-Researching Childhood
-Multi-agency Working
-Children's Spaces (including Outdoor Play, Play Design and Forest School)
-Health and Physical Wellbeing
-Social and Emotional Development

Students are given a strong core of knowledge in psychology, sociology, and the holistic development of children. They will also have the opportunity to specialise in areas by selecting topics of interest, furthering links to their professional development. Engaging lectures, collaborative and independent study, opportunities for trips and events with the University, and guest speakers provide you with a uniquely supportive and challenging learning environment.
Students are assessed via a range of innovative, challenging and professionally relevant modes. There are no exams, and students are assessed throughout the academic year.

Student comment: "The assignments were made very clear and I was very happy with the feedback response to drafts. I found feedback extremely useful to further my work and achieve what I had hoped for in these modules."
Five GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above

Entry is welcomed from mature learners, those with sector experience, and those who have taken non-traditional paths through education. A-levels OR vocational qualifications (64 UCAS tariff points) or substantial and relevant work experience in an appropriate sector is also considered. Entry is welcome from mature students with relevant experience in place of these qualifications.

Appropriate subject areas will normally be in the discipline of children's care and development, education, psychology, sociology, health and social care, and related subjects; however, qualifications in other subjects may be considered and discussed at interview. Learners without the relevant GCSE grades may be considered if they plan to undertake further study towards those qualifications.
Upon successful completion, students are eligible to progress to a number of top-up awards, with the eventual qualification awarded being either a BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies, BA (Hons) Education Studies, or BA (Hons) Professional Development (Childhood Studies). This decision is made during completion of Level 5 modules and the range of choices available depends on the student's choice of where to base their study at. In addition, the FLECS system of distance learning for Early Childhood Studies top-ups is available via the University of Plymouth.

Subsequent study opportunities may include post-graduate study at Masters Level, or by undertaking a post-graduate training programme such as a PGCE in order to train as a teacher.
The Foundation Degree is based at our University Centre at the Brannams Campus in North Devon (Barnstaple).
Learners need no equipment beyond the means to take efficient notes and work on assignments. Learners may find that bringing a portable device like a laptop is helpful, we would also recommend bringing basic stationery and a memory stick.

Students will be asked to provide evidence of a DBS, or apply for one, during the course of the first term.

Bringing a laptop or device in lectures is encouraged and should be brought on the first day, if possible, in order to support the wifi login process.
Learners should be prepared before starting the course to source and manage their own work based learning.
Potentially transport to some local trips, the printing of academic poster(s) or creation of artefacts.
Please contact the HE Team on 01271 852335 for more information.
Q: How much will this course cost?
A: For more information about course fees, please visit

Q: Do I need to be working with children?
A: Not necessarily - but you will need to be eligible to work with children (provide a DBS certificate) and undertake work experience in a relevant field during the Foundation Degree. This could include your current job role, and can be discussed at interview.

Q: Will this qualify me to be a teacher?
A: This Foundation Degree can be extended into an Honours Degree via a number of progression routes. Successful completion of that final year may mean you are eligible for post-graduate teacher training in the Early Years or Primary via the PGCE, SCITT, or other teacher-training programmes. This is dependent on achievement and other experience and qualifications.

Q: Will this course qualify me to be a Nursery Nurse instead of the Level 3 qualification?
A: No, this is an academic degree and in order to be recognised in the ratios for your setting, you will probably still need the L3 qualification and potentially Maths/English GCSE results. Talk to one of the team about how you can address this if you do not already hold a childcare qualification and need one in addition to this degree.

Q: Will this degree qualify me to do social work or midwifery?
A: The Foundation Degree and full Honours Degree can be a route into post-graduate study towards qualification as a social worker. Other nursing or midwifery qualifications do not take the same route, but this Foundation or Honours Degree could lead to opportunities in related fields, depending on other qualifications and experience.

Q: Is there funding for this course?
A: For most people, yes. Student Finance can answer queries about tuition fee loans and grants and bursaries to pay for living expenses and childcare. If you need support with this, please contact our Admin office on (01271) 852335.

Course Fees

Annual Fee: £7400