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Foundation Degree in Early Years Practice

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

Sitting alongside the already well-established Foundation Degree programmes FdA Early Childhood Studies and FdA Teaching and Learning, the FdA Early Years Practice offers learners an additional route into Higher Education but with a focus on employability in the Early Years sector.

For learners who have not undertaken a Level 3 vocational qualification to work in Early Years Settings, this course offers the opportunity to study for a Foundation, and eventually a full, Degree with an element of assessed work practice.


Drawing four core modules each year from the FdA Early Childhood Studies and related FdA Teaching and Learning courses, this route also offers an additional double-credit module each year based in and around the learners' own practice. Students should anticipate spending the equivalent of around one day a week in a setting with babies or young children and will be given the opportunity to develop and reflect on their professional skills, work with a chosen Critical Friend within the workplace, and gain 'full and relevant' professional status.

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

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

The four core modules you will study in Year Two are:
-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.
There are no exams, but a range of practical, coursework, portfolio, communication, and other academic assessments.
Five GCSEs at Grade D or above

To enter at Level 4 onto the FdA Early Childhood Studies:
Five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade 5/4 or above including English Language and Mathematics, plus one of the following equivalent qualifications:
A-levels (80-100 UCAS points), or equivalent vocational qualification, substantial work experience in any early years setting, or recent academic study at Level 3.
Entry is welcomed from mature students with relevant experience in place of these qualifications, they may also have the opportunity to retake Maths and/or English whilst on the Foundation Degree.

For application to the final level of study - the 'top up' year for the BA (Hons) Professional Development - students need to have completed the FdA Early Childhood Studies or a close equivalent.

Whilst having a GCSE at grade 5/4 or above in Maths, English and a Science is not necessarily a requirement of entry onto the Foundation Degree, it should be noted that without these qualifications you may not be eligible to proceed to post-graduate and teacher training study, or count towards allowable ratios in your Early Years classroom or nursery setting. Further information can be obtained here:

Petroc offers a range of options for learners to study towards GCSEs, some of which may be appropriate alongside degree study.
There are a number of opportunities to convert this Foundation Degree into a full BA (Hons) degree in (for example) Early Childhood Studies, Professional Development (Childhood Studies), or Education Studies.
This course is delivered at our Brannams programme, with learners spending additional time in a workplace setting of their own choice.
Bring yourself, the means to write or take notes (laptop/tablet/pen and paper), and you will be advised at interview how best to plan for a workplace setting choice.
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 or undertake one with support) 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: Successful completion of your Honours degree may mean you are eligible for post-graduate teacher training in 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.

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