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What makes Early Years at Worcester special?

A child's early years are a time of rapid development and discovery that can shape the rest of their life. As an early years professional, you have the chance to make a positive difference to the lives of the children, families and communities.

This sector-endorsed Foundation Degree has been designed to meet the needs of students wishing to enter the profession, as well as those already working in the sector who would like to enhance their skills or progress their careers. You may be looking to develop a leadership role within early years or to progress to a teaching career. If so, this is the ideal vocational route.

At Worcester, we take a child-centred, holistic approach to equipping you with the skills to take your place in a world of professionals working to achieve success. The course is structured to allow you to work whilst you study, giving you the opportunity to put your learning in to practice. Offering a flexible range of options for where and how you study means you can tailor the course to meet your needs.

FdA EY students have received national recognition winning 1st and 2nd prizes at the recent Sector Endorsed Foundation Degree Early Years Conference.



Key features

  • 96% of students in work or undertaking further study upon completion of their degree 
  • 100% overall student satisfaction (NSS 2019) at Herefordshire and Ludlow College
  • Enhancement of your academic and professional development. The Foundation Degree provides opportunities to progress to higher level qualifications and early years teacher training, as well as providing theoretical insights that can make an immediate impact on your professional practice and develop your leadership potential
  • Choose to study full or part-time at one of our partner colleges at a range of locations throughout the region, or via flexible delivery.
  • Opportunity to progress to a BA Top-up degree and to Early Years Teaching
  • A non-standard entry route for experienced practitioners
THE Awards 2019 - Shortlisted - University of the Year

Shortlisted for University of the Year

The University of Worcester has been shortlisted in six categories of the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards 2019, including University of the Year.

Read the full story
Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

32 UCAS Tariff points

  • Acceptable qualifications include a minimum of 1 A Level and maximum of 3 1/2 A Levels or an equivalent Level 3 qualification, for example the CACHE Diploma or EdExcel BTEC National Diploma in Children's Care, Learning and Development.
  • Evidence of level 2 Literacy is required, for example key skills or functional skills at level 2 or GCSE English language at Grade C/4 or above. If you do not have evidence of Literacy at level 2, it will be necessary to complete a non-standard entry essay to demonstrate competence in written English.
  • Current police clearance to work with young children (DBS check). Relevant forms will be sent by admissions on receipt of a firm acceptance of an offer of a place on the course.
  • A testimony / reference that supports the your suitability for the course.

Practitioners who do not hold the qualifications outlined above will be considered on the basis of prior professional experience and related learning.

Other information

The University of Worcester is committed to offering education to a diverse range of applicants. If you have prior learning (APL) which includes accreditation of certificated learning (APCL) and experiential learning (APEL) you may be able to use these to gain credits towards the Foundation Degree.

For information on eligibility for accreditation of prior learning for the purposes of entry or advanced standing place contact the Admissions Office on 01905 855111.

The following are required for both standard and non-standard entry:

  • A statement of support from your current employer to provide the time, opportunity and support for work-based requirements and release to attend university-based study
  • A testimony from an appropriately qualified referee
  • Evidence of current police check (DBS) clearance to work with young children

Practice learning can be supported within a range of early years settings, including children's centres and childminders and schools.

Book your place at an Open Day

Want to know why so many students love living and studying in Worcester?

Our open days are the perfect way to find out.

Book your place

Open Day events at our partner colleges

Visit Halesowen College at one of their Open Days

Visit Herefordshire and Ludlow College at one of their Open Days

Course content

What will you study?

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

  • Understanding Children's Learning & Development
  • Supporting Learning & Development in Practice
  • Protecting & Safeguarding: Working Together for the Child
  • Working Together to Develop Positive Environments
  • Quality Enhancement in Early Childhood & Care
  • Supporting Children's Learning & Development
  • Reflecting, Learning & Responding: Practice & Self

In the final year, you have the opportunity to engage in a small scale enquiry focused upon enhancing quality within your workplace

"All of the tutors are very supportive and you are also supported by other students on the course; you never feel that you are on your own."

Early Years FdA student

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

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.

You have an opportunity to engage in practice-based learning on a minimum of 2 days a week for full time students and one day per week for part time. This can be in the form of paid work or as a student placement.

Contact time

Typically, class contact time will be structured on a weekly basis during term times. 

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.

Teaching staff

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, UW 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.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments, which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include presentations, reports, posters, essays, a long study, practice-based learning portfolios, observations of children's learning, appreciative inquiry and practice-based inquiry and professional reflective journal. Assessment is directly related to current practice expectations and is integrated within all of the course's teaching.

Preparation for summative assessment is structured into teaching methods through the formative processes of active induction, guided exploration, self-organising learner and self-organised learner.

A typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1 (Full Time)
4 written assignments
Practice Portfolio

Year 1 (Part time)
3 written assignments
Practice Portfolio (to be handed in during second year)

Year 2 (Full Time)
3 written assignments
1 Practice based enquiry
Practice Portfolio

Year 2 (Part Time)
3 written assignments

Year 3 (Part Time)
1 written assignment
I Practice based enquiry
Practice Portfolio

You have an opportunity throughout each module to submit formative work and will receive formative, constructive feedback and feed forward from tutors (and peers where appropriate) that will support your preparation for summative assessment.


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.


Where could it take you?

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 PGCE (Qualified Teacher Status) course and Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) providing you also have English, Mathematics and Science at GCSE Grade C or above. It is also a suitable basis for a range of careers in social work, children's charities, nurseries, day-care, schools and the Health Service.

Anna Walker current FdA Early Years Student

Anna Walker, a student from Halesowen College, has received an Academic Scholarship Award for her excellent academic work on the FdA Early Years course.

“I am enjoying the FdA Early Years course and have found it interesting and a good way of combining academic studies with practical experience,” Anna said. “The tutors support and encourage you when completing the modules and are very knowledgeable. Being able to be a University of Worcester student but study at a college local to me allows me to fit my studies around my family, while having access to all the facilities at Worcester. I was delighted when I found out I had been awarded a scholarship for academic achievement and this has inspired me in continuing my studies.”

Cover of the 2020 University of Worcester prospectus

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How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2020/21 will be £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international (non-EU) students registering in the academic year 2019/20 was £12,400 per year. Details of the 2020/21 fee will be available soon.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for part-time UK and EU students registering on this foundation degree in the academic year 2019/20 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

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.


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, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £105 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £169 per week (2020/21 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Applying full-time through UCAS

Early Years X312 B, C FdA/EY

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 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.

Apply for September enrolment at the University of Worcester - part-time Apply for September enrolment at Halesowen - part-time

Get in touch

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

University of Worcester
Admissions Office
01905 855111

Michelle Malomo    
FdA Early Years Partnership Co-ordinator    
01905 542075

Simone Acton
Partnership Administrator
01905 855036

University of Worcester Flexible and Distributed Course
Janet Harvell
01905 542626

Heart of Worcestershire College (Worcester - Part Time)
Amanda McCully
01905 725617

Heart of Worcestershire College, (Redditch, Part Time)
Sarah Phillips
01527 572713

Halesowen College (Full and Part Time)

Sandra Derham
0121 602 7777

Herefordshire & Ludlow College (Full Time)
Julie Haynes
01432 365494