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Foundation Degree in Teaching & Learning

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

This FdA offers an exciting opportunity for you to specialise in the study of early childhood whilst learning more about Early Years and primary education, curriculum, assessment, and related contemporary issues. This option would particularly suit prospective primary teachers, teaching assistants, and those specialising in the care and education of young children.

Contemporary, current, and with professional relevance, this course combines in-depth academic study with meaningful professional links and examples. You will collaborate, follow independent lines of enquiry, draw on professionals, events and lecturers in order to further your knowledge, skills, and promote opportunities for development. SSTAR Teaching and Learning Award Winners 2015-18.


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

Year One Modules:
Professional Skills and Development, Inclusive Practice in Education, Young Children's Welfare and Wellbeing, Theories of Learning and Development (Child Psychology), International Education Perspectives, and, Key Concepts in the Education of Young Children.

Year Two Modules:
Perspectives on Childhood, Researching Childhood, Multi-agency Working, Children's Spaces (including Outdoor Play, Play Design and Forest School), Supporting Wellbeing in Educational Settings, and, Curriculum and Assessment for Young Children.

You are given a strong core of knowledge in psychology, sociology, and the holistic development of children. You will also have the opportunity to specialise in areas by selecting topics of interest, furthering links to your 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 on this foundation degree; there is a range of innovative and carefully planned assessments that provide learners with the opportunity to evidence their developing knowledge. This may take the form of written essays or accounts, responses to case studies, presentations, academic papers and posters, research projects and more. The study skills needed to undertake the assessment are introduced and supported in the Professional Skills module, and further polished by formative assessment and feedback.

Student comment 2017: "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 are 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.

Learners without contemporary classroom experience and voluntary or paid work in a primary or education setting may be directed towards the FdA Early Childhood Studies.
Successful 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 at Plymouth University, or BA (Hons) Professional Development (Childhood Studies) at Petroc. This choice is made during completion of Level 5 modules and the range of choices available depends on the student's choice of which Plymouth University site to base their study at. In addition, the FLECS system of distance learning for Early Childhood Studies top-ups is available via the University.
Subsequent study opportunities may include post-graduate study at Masters Level, or undertaking a post-graduate training programme such as a PGCE in order to train as a teacher. Many of our learners find successful teacher training places through the local Teaching Alliances in North Devon.
The Foundation Degree is based at our University Centre at the Brannams Campus in North Devon (Barnstaple). This offers students the chance to learn alongside other Higher Education students, but still have access to the North Devon Campus facilities.
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.
There are additional trips and visits offered that may incur costs if undertaken. 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. For this FdA we expect recent and relevant classroom experience - paid or unpaid. If your experience is broader, we may direct you towards the FdA Early Childhood Studies.

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 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 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.

Related Courses

Certificate in Education incorporating the Diploma in Education and Training - North Devon (HEB007)

Location North Devon Campus | Level Level 4-5 | Duration Two years - part time

Course Fees

Annual Fee: £7400