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Access to Higher Education: Diploma in Understanding Child Development

An Access to Higher Education Diploma is a means of entry to a degree course. It will help you prepare for the academic rigour of higher education study, reviving skills you might not have used in a while and building your confidence. You will be part of a group of other adult students equally excited about learning, motivated to work hard and fulfil their ambitions.

This course develops the skills to progress to a degree in early years practice, teaching, or early childhood studies. The course teaches a wide range of childcare subjects including children’s development, safeguarding and becoming a reflective practitioner, which together offer you a route onto your chosen degree.

The breadth of course content gives you a great introduction to key concepts in childcare, beginning with practical childcare skills and observing children. You will go on to learn about holistic development of children from birth to age twelve, developing curriculum frameworks and about important safeguarding issues.

The course also explains how practitioners learn to work in partnership with the range of childcare providers and how to be a reflective practitioner.

In common with other access courses, you will acquire essential study skills in research and writing; through tutorial sessions you’ll also be given guidance and support for your UCAS application.

Apply for this course

Sep 2022 : North Devon : Full-time
Course Code : FTB348
Level : Level 3
Duration : 1 Year
North Devon campus Enquire

Course details


This course employs continuous assessment. You will compile a portfolio of assessed work throughout the year, which is externally moderated at the end of the course. In some subjects there will be in-class timed tests.

Students taking GCSE English or Maths will also have external examinations in May/June.

Entry Requirements

To be accepted onto a Level 3 programme, you must hold at least four GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including GCSE Maths and English language.

Most universities require GCSE grades at C or above in English and Maths, or equivalent, as part of the entry requirements for degree courses. GCSE English and Maths are separate qualifications from the Access to Higher Education Diploma so, if required, we offer additional lessons for these subjects. If you don’t already have a C grade or above in Maths or English at GCSE, these are currently free for students over 19. Please contact our Advice and Guidance Centre for further details. Please note that due to the amount of work involved, we strongly recommend that you only take one GCSE at the same time as the Access Diploma.


After this course you could apply for a foundation degree or honours degree at Petroc. The diploma could also lead to a BA or BSc programme at any UK university in subjects including early years practice, teaching & learning and early childhood studies.

Facilities and resources

Access students are well supported at Petroc with well equipped and fully resourced physical and online facilities. There is an excellent Moodle (VLE) and other well-supported learning resources. Dedicated labs support relevant courses, as do widely available IT resources. A mature (19+) common room provides a temporary escape route during the college day; for a more permanent one, seek the advice of our specialists in the guidance centre who can help with university applications beyond this course.


Q: Do universities recognise the Access to HE Diploma?

A: The Access to HE Diploma is a national qualification and is recognised and accepted by UK universities. Many universities have policies to encourage applications from Access to HE students, who are valued for their maturity and willingness to contribute to discussions.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: You are entitled to full fee remission if the following applies to you:

– Aged 19 to 23 and studying your first full Level 3 qualification.

– Aged 23+ – find out more about the Advanced Learner Loan – our Advice & Guidance Centre will be able to help you with this & any questions you may have.

– Applicants who take the 19+ Advanced Learner Loan do not need to pay anything upfront. If you complete your Access Diploma and then go on to complete a course in Higher Education, the remaining balance of your 19+ Advanced Learner Loan, including any interest, will be written off. You can get full information from Student Finance England. You can contact our Advice & Guidance Centre for advice and information on fees.

Q: Can I get any help with childcare or other costs?

A: Some additional help is available, dependent upon individual circumstances – please contact our Advice & Guidance Centre for advice and information.

Apply for this course

Staring Date : 12/09/2022
Course Code : FTB348 North Devon campus Enquire

Why Petroc should be your first choice

Petroc offers high quality education and training across North and Mid Devon. We provide outstanding learning, excellent facilities, strong connections to employers and a supportive environment to help you fulfil your education goals and set you on your path to the career of your dreams.

Photo by Guy Harrop. Pic of Petroc college students, Devon

image copyright guy harrop
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We offer a supportive and inclusive environment where you can flourish and feel a valued member of the college and wider community. 


Our teaching spaces and facilities are some of the best in the region, providing stimulating and true-to-life learning environments. 


We’ll provide you with the experiences you need to be ready for employment or the next step on your educational journey.

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