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What makes Early Years at Worcester special?

The Early Years (0-8 years) Foundation Degree is a new and innovative course for people who are working, or who aspire to work, in the Early Years sector. This Foundation Degree is suitable for individuals who want to develop their professional practice to take on leadership and management roles within Early Years Education.

Throughout the degree, you will be offered the opportunity to develop the appropriate professional attributes, knowledge and understanding required for the care and education of children within national and international contexts. This interconnected approach is reflected in a range of assignments designed to encourage you to consider a variety of perspectives and the development of critical skills in relation to theory applied to practice. 

A recording of a 'Coffee and Chat' session will introduce you to the Foundation degree, and give you the opportunity to hear from current students and find out more about working in the field of Early Years. 

Do you want to be able to obtain full and relevant status or do you have a ‘knowledge only’ L3 qualification?

Our FdA Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) is recognised by the Department for Education and Ofsted as providing you with a qualification that meets the full and relevant criteria necessary for you to be included in the ratios within an Ofsted registered setting. Assessed Practice hours, completed as part of the FdA Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) will support your future employment by providing you with the opportunity to gain a full and relevant qualification by the time you graduate. This pathway is suitable for students who may have studied A Levels or subjects not related to Early Years Education.

Please contact Michelle Malomo for further information.

Location of study

The course is taught in both full- and part-time formats at the following partner institutions:

Please contact Partnership Co-ordinator Michelle Malomo for further information.



Key features

  • 96% of students in work or undertaking further study upon completion of their degree 
  • Enhancement of your academic and professional development whilst you work
  • Provides theoretical insights on your professional practice and develop your leadership potential
  • The professional practice pathway has 'Full and Relevant' status with the Department for Education
  • Choose to study full or part-time at one of our partner colleges at a range of locations throughout the region
  • Early Years conference in February   
  • Opportunity to progress to a BA Top-up degree and to Early Years Teaching
  • To find about Summer Schools abroad, please contact the course team.

Register your interest

Enter your details below and we will keep you up to date with useful information about studying at the University of Worcester.

Pathway options

This foundation degree is designed to be flexible, dependent on your career aspirations and you are given a choice of pathways:

  • Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) pathway: This pathway has 'Full and Relevant' status with the DfE and allows you to meet the Early Years Educator (EYE) standards and achieve 'Full and Relevant' status by the end of your course. This is important to employers as it lets them count you in EYFS staff:child ratios at level 3
  • Early Years (0-8) pathway: This is the best pathway for those who already have a 'Full and Relevant' level 3 qualification. It enables you to further develop your professional practice within early years or to progress to a teaching career
Sally Eldridge - Early Year foundation degree graduate

Sally Eldridge - Preschool Manager

I enrolled on the Foundation Degree to gain further knowledge within a new role. Although I developed into a confident practitioner, there were several challenges to overcome such as studying alongside a full time job and having a hectic home life (3 children, 2 dogs and a husband). Being Dyslexic was also an issue, but I received great help and support from the University. 

The Foundation course provided me with a deeper understanding of child learning and development, and given me greater confidence to deal with children, parents, and multi-agencies and to talk in front of an audience. I enjoyed it so much, I went on to complete and achieve a 2:1 in Integrated working with children and families BA (Hons).     

young man with a beard and a dark top

Dale Ramsey - Ofsted Inspector and Nursery Operations Manager

My journey began when I worked as an apprentice Early Years Educator alongside my full-time college studies. This is where I realised I had a passion for offering children inspiring experiences and opportunities to enhance their learning and development. I was keen to explore the impact that I could have on this aspect in a leadership or management role. My biggest challenge was in balancing a full-time job and studies, however, by being proactive with time management and work load planning, I was able to overcome this.

The course has developed my professional confidence massively and encouraged me to be an extremely reflexive practitioner, leader and inspector.

Woman in graduation robes holding a hat above her head

Alpa Williams - Reception Teacher

The reason for starting the course is that it was time to do something for me. My family seemed to be doing their own thing and even my youngest was starting school. My favourite part of the Foundation degree was the friendships, the support of others and the self-challenge. It has helped to build my confidence and improved the way others view me. 

If I was to offer advice to future students it would be to prioritise your tasks at all times and keep a notebook by your bed as it's surprising how much sense you make when you’re not thinking about it. Also, don't be scared to say what you think because no-one is wrong. You just need to back it up. 

Lauren Beddall - Early Year foundation degree graduate

Lauren Beddall

After completing my NVQ, I explored the idea of working towards a Foundation Degree in Early Years. Whilst working towards my Foundation Degree I decided to move to a nursery setting within a school, located within an affluent area and my job title became ‘nursery nurse’. After receiving incredible feedback from my lecturer, I signed up to the ‘integrated working with children and families’ BA Hons full-time top up degree. I’m currently working on ‘cognitive behaviour therapy’ and ‘educational psychology’ qualifications whilst remaining in my nursery nurse position.

My university experience has not only helped me to develop educationally, I also feel as though I have developed as a person. It has supported development in my professionalism, thoughtfulness and encouraged me to look at and consider wider perspectives.

Dawn Lovett standing in front of the ocean

Dawn Lovett

After 25 years of experience as a 1:1 practitioner, a member of the inclusion support team, classroom learning support practitioner and now a higher level support practitioner, I have decided to pursue my career as a class teacher within the early years.

I chose to study at the University of Worcester (Halesowen College) for a few reasons. After researching numerous universities, I felt that this course fitted my work and personal lifestyle. I wish to pursue my career in teaching early years as I strongly believe the foundation stage is the most important – building the foundations so that each child has a positive start in all areas of their learning.

Two colleagues and close friends had recently completed the foundation degree in early years at the University of Worcester and highly recommended the course and that I enrol to complete my degree and hopefully become a qualified teacher. Finally, now at age 43 I feel I am ready to challenge myself academically. I hope achieving my degree will develop my confidence and widen my knowledge of the early years.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

32 UCAS Tariff points

  • Minimum of four GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above
  • All entrants have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 (formerly grade C) in the GCSE examinations in English Language or English Literature and Mathematics. Alternatively, we offer an equivalency test if you don’t have the required GCSE grade or Level 2 equivalent to apply for the FdA Early Years (UCAS Code X312)
  • Where a student does not already hold a GCSE or level 2 qualification equivalent in English and/or Maths qualification, they must present evidence of this before the end of Level 4 to remain on the FdA EY (0-8) (Professional Practice) pathway (UCAS code X313) to achieve the DfE ‘full and relevant’ status. The DfE have a published list of acceptable Level 2 qualifications
  • Acceptable qualifications include a minimum of 1 A Level or an equivalent Level 3 qualification, for example the CACHE Diploma or EdExcel BTEC National Diploma in Children's Care, Learning and Development
  • Through our non-standard entry route we welcome applications from experienced and mature practitioners who do not have the above qualifications
  • Further information can be obtained by contacting the Admissions Office on 01905 855111

Other information

A current Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) is required.

You will also be subject to the usual prohibition list and criminal record checks.

If you have lived, studied or worked overseas for three months or more in the last five years a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country of residence will be required. Further information and guidance associated with additional costs are available from the Home Office.

T Levels may be used to meet the entry tariff requirements for this course. Find out more about T levels as UCAS tariff points here.

Visitors at a University of Worcester open day

Book your place at an open day

Want to find out more about studying in Worcester or at one of our Partner sites?

Click on the links below to book your place at an open day.

University of Worcester

Halesowen College

Heart of Worcestershire (HOW) (Worcester and Redditch)

Somerset Centre for Integrated Learning (SCIL) – please contact to arrange a chat about the course

Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMET) (subject to approval)

Course content

Course content

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year 1

  • The Developing Child
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Playful Pedagogy
  • Introduction to Work-Based Learning or Theory for Early Years Educator Foundation Graduate    

Year 2

  • Childhood, a Global Perspective
  • Policy into Practice
  • Safeguarding Children's Welfare in the Early years and Integrating Our Work with Other Agencies
  • Small Scale Practice-Based Enquiry and Future Progression or Early Educator Small Scale Practice-Based Enquiry or Early Educator Small Scale Practice-Based Enquiry. 

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. 

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.



This is a route where you will be taught face to face through a mixture of lectures, seminars, group discussions, problem-based learning and directed individual study. An important aspect of this course is learning from others, so there is significant emphasis on working in groups with other students who have different backgrounds and experiences.

In addition, contact with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.

Contact time

The indicative total study time for each module is 301 hours. Typically, each module is delivered over two semesters.

In each semester typically there will be 12 taught hours per week. These hours will include face-to-face teaching at the chosen college and including typically 3 hours delivered live online. 

Taught sessions may include different forms of delivery such as tutorials, seminars, fieldwork, conferences or online learning.

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 28 hours (Full-time), and 21 hours (Part-time) of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve completing online activities, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing for assignments and presentations.

A range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources, supports independent learning.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ assignments. Each module has one or more formative assessments for which feedback is received, but these do not count towards to the overall module grade.

Each module also has one, or two, ‘summative’ assessments. These are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Each type of assessment, both formative and summative, are supported by Assignment Briefs which clearly identify the task and the assessment criteria that are to be met on completion of the assignment. A comprehensive assessment criteria grid which has been developed by the team, based on the University’s generic descriptors, is included in the feedback process for both formative and summative assessments. Assessment methods include a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, presentations and a final year practice-based research project.

Students will be assessed using a variety of methods including essays, workshops and presentations.

Formative feedback is provided through responses to academic and practice-based learning activities, including reflective journal entries. Interactive face-to-face and online learning and teaching approaches, including student evaluation of learning, provide further opportunity for timely formative activity. It is designed to encourage students to reflect and develop their responses and writing prior to summative assessment.

The form of summative assessment (for each module) is determined by its appropriateness in allowing the student to demonstrate they have understood and can meet the learning outcomes with potential for achievement across the full range of grades.


You will receive tutor feedback on assessments, from practice mentors on placement learning and peers through ongoing class discussion (including online forums) and debate. Feedback supports learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

Meet the team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The degree is delivered through a partnership which includes senior academics, University of Worcester registered lecturers and practice professionals.

Teaching is based on research; 30 per cent of course lecturers and partnership team members have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles or through the respective FE college website.  

Michelle Malomo

Michelle Malomo

Michelle Malomo is a Senior Lecturer in the Department for Children and Families within the School of Education. Michelle lectures on a number of courses within the Department for Children and Families. She is the Partnership Co-ordinator for the Foundation Degree in Early Years. 

Michelle is a qualified Early Years and Playwork Practitioner with experience in both the private and voluntary sector. Her experience includes management with the Early Years sector youth and children’s development work within the voluntary sector. Michelle has worked in a range of settings and has been responsible for the development of social action projects with children, young people and families.


Amanda McCully

Amanda has taught on and been a course leader for the Foundation Degree in Early Years (FDEY) since the course first began in 2003. She confirms that over the years, it has been inspiring to see students develop their confidence, knowledge and skills, and go on to have a significant impact on practice or progress to professional roles.

Prior to the FDEY, Amanda taught to a wide range of age groups, including outdoor activities which she values as an important area to promote in children’s development. She has also worked as an advisor to level 3 early years BTEC awarding body and the National Working Group for the development of NVQ and Level 3 courses. Amanda continues to maintain an interest in curriculum development, including the new FDEY.


Sarah Phillips

Sarah teaches on the Foundation Degree in Early Years. Her background is as a Primary school teacher with an early years speciality.  Having taught all years from reception to year 4 in the UK and the Channel Islands, she undertook additional early years qualifications and became an early years mentor teacher for Worcestershire County Council, a role she really enjoyed. It gave her the opportunity to see and share the excellent early years practice across the county. 

After taking on the role of a primary deputy head teacher for 10 years, she achieved her National Professional Qualification for Headship. This was followed by a slight change of direction and the move to her current position as an early years lecturer. She now enjoys training and supporting those who wish to work with the next generation of young people. 

Liam Pinches in Graduation attire

Liam Pinches

Post-graduation at the University of Worcester, Liam is now the Course Leader for the Foundation Degree in Early Years at Halesowen College. Liam himself completed the Foundation Degree in Early years, the BA (hons) Integrated Working with Children and Families top up, as well as his teaching qualification (Diploma in Education and Training) with us. Liam is able to relate to learners studying the Foundation Degree in Early Years on both a personal and professional level, having been through a similar professional journey.

Alongside his studies, Liam has volunteered his time working within Reception and Year 1 classrooms, gaining valuable insights into the sector and industrial experience working within EYE. Liam then moved into Further Education supporting learners at Halesowen College with SEND as a learning support assistant before progressing into teaching Health and Social Care and Early Years.

Liam particularly enjoys teaching Safeguarding and has enthusiasm for supporting children and young people with their pastoral needs and has interest in how the transition from the Early Years Foundation Stage to the National Curriculum can be developed.

Headshot of Michelle Armstrong

Michelle Armstrong

Michelle has been the course leader for the Foundation Degree in Early Years (FDEY) since September 2023 when Somerset Centre for Integrated Learning (SCIL) joined the partnership. She has been teaching as an associate lecturer on other Foundation Degrees, delivered at SCIL since 2017.

Michelle has worked within the Early Years sector for 27 years and now leads on the Early Years and Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship at SCIL as well as being the lead IQA for the centre. She feels that it essential that our little people receive the best possible start and enjoys seeing the next generation of Early Years practitioners see the impact they have on children that they care for.



FdA Early Years (0-8 years) graduates should have knowledge of the education and care of children from birth to 8 years, giving foundation for a range of careers working with children, families and other professional disciplines, including social work, health services and children's charities. Many of our students go onto leadership and management roles with careers working in children and family support services, early years education and care.

Some examples of what past students are doing now:

  • Higher Level Teaching Assistant
  • Early Years / Children’s Centre manager
  • Early Years Improvement Advisor
  • Family support worker
  • Parenting support worker
  • Project workers
  • College placement officer
  • Play development officer
  • Inclusion mentor
  • Charity support worker

Those graduating from the degree programme may apply to study for an Honours degree in Integrated Working with Children & Families BA (Hons) Top-up degree or other related subjects.

From this, it is possible to apply for a Masters programme or PGCE (Qualified Teacher Status) course providing you have the required entry requirements. It is also a suitable basis for a range of careers in social work, children's charities, early years settings, schools and the Health Service.

Two students are walking next to each other and smiling

Careers and Employability

Our Graduates pursue exciting and diverse careers in a wide variety of employment sectors.

Find out how we can support you to achieve your potential
A group of students are being read a story by a teacher sitting on the floor of a classroom next to them.

Opportunity to study our Teaching In Primary Education (With QTS) BA (Hons) Top up degree

On successful completion of your Foundation Degree you are eligible to apply for our our Teaching In Primary Education (With QTS) BA (Hons) Top up degree

This course offers an exciting opportunity for you to train to become a primary school teacher over a 16 month period. 

Find out more about our Teaching In Primary Education (With QTS) BA (HONS) Top up degree

Fees and funding

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard fee for full-time home and EU undergraduate students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £16,200 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK students

The standard tuition fee for part-time UK students registering on this foundation degree in the academic year 2023/24 is £1,156 per 15 credit module and £2,313 per 30 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Students must have a current Enhanced DBS to be able to work in practice. The cost and process of an application can be found on the government website. Students will need to apply for a new one if they are not already signed up to the DBS update service.

Every course has day-to-day costs for essential books, stationery, printing and photocopying.

Travel costs for placements vary depending on the location of school or setting and your mode of transport.

Travel costs may be incurred for partnership students attending induction and the annual conference at the University. 


All eligible students should be entitled to a student loan to cover the cost of their fees. Find out more about student finance.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Chestnut Halls' at £131 per week to 'Oak Halls' at £221 per week (2024/25 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How to apply

Applying through UCAS

  • X313 – Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) pathway
  • X312 – Early Years (0-8) pathway

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

Apply to X312 – Early Years (0-8) through UCAS Apply to X313 - FdA Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) through UCAS

Part-time applications

Please make part-time applications to study at the University of Worcester or one of our partner colleges via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Admissions office on 01905 855111 or Delivery sites may change dependent upon viable recruitment.

 FdA Early Years (0-8)

FdA Early Years (0-8) - Halesowen College (part time) FdA Early Years (0-8) - Birmingham Metropolitan College (part-time) FdA Early Years (0-8) - Somerset Centre for Integrated Learning (part-time)

FdA Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice)

FdA Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) - Birmingham Metropolitan College (part-time) FdA Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) - Somerset Centre for Integrated Learning (part-time) FdA Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) - Halesowen College (part-time)

Get in touch

To find out more about the course, contact the University of Worcester or one of our partner colleges.

Michelle Malomo

FdA Early Years Partnership Co-ordinator