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What makes Early Years at Worcester special?

This flexible degree option allows you to study online and meet face to face on a Saturday at the University eight times per year.

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)
  • 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 
  • Opportunity to progress to a BA Top-up degree and to Early Years Teaching
  • A non-standard entry route for experienced practitioners
100% satisfaction logo

This course received 100% overall student satisfaction (NSS 2019)

More about our NSS results
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.

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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

More course information

The course adopts a child-centred approach to Early Years and a holistic view of the child. It provides a framework for academic and professional skills development. Your learning is embedded within your developing knowledge, understanding and experience in practice. The programme, which sits within a culture of inter-agency and multi-professional team working, seeks to develop you as a reflective practitioner capable of making a positive impact upon the children, families and communities with whom you work. A range of learning, teaching and assessment methods are used to support your professional and academic development through the course, with a strong emphasis upon e-learning.

The course interweaves the three strands of personal and professional development, theory and practice, and practice/work-based enquiry, underpinned by the study skills necessary to succeed at University. This interconnected approach is reflected in a range of assignments that depend upon self-study, encouraging the consideration of a variety of perspectives and the development of critical skills in relation to theory applied to practice. Individual modules address childhood and the child as learner, curriculum planning, collaboration with parents, positive learning environments, and safeguarding children. In the final year students are required to engage in a small-scale enquiry focused upon enhancing quality within your own workplace.

The course is designed to be work-based, enabling you to work alongside professionals in the field. It is ideally suited for those who are already working in Early Years settings as either employed, voluntary or placement experience as it can be achieved on a part-time basis.

"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

"I just want to say as an older student on the flexible pathway the support you give students is tremendous and I would recommend studying at Worcester to everyone"

Zoe, FdA EY FdL 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. To support transition, 2 summer school days are planned to introduce new students to the university, their peers and flexible learning. Second and third year students are provided with a Transition activity to support transition to the new year of study.


This mode of delivery involves a blended learning approach. You are taught through a combination of some face to face learning opportunities with a significant amount of independent study time online, in the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Blackboard. Students choosing to study in this mode require a basic level of ICT competence and computer and software which enables access to information via the VLE and the web.

In addition, contact with personal academic tutors through the PAT workbooks 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 arrange additional contact through F2F, online or telephone.

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

In a typical month you will have one full day in university, with planned sessions for each module. An Online Learning Activity is also uploaded onto Blackboard, approximately one each month. Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • A review of the OLA
  • Introduction to subject areas related to the module

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 6 hours of personal self-study per module per week. Typically, this will involve completing OLA activities and independent reading and research related to specific modules. The Resource List identifies key readings, together with OLA recommendations and signposting during F2F sessions.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

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 feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to support 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.

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 fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2019/20 were £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module and £2,313 per 30-credit module. Details of the 2020/21 fees will be available soon.

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.

Flexible and distributed learning pathway funding

Applicants should consult the relevant funding bodies regarding their eligibility for Student Finance due to the Flexible and Distributed Learning Pathway for this programme.


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?

Part-time applications

If you would like to apply to study this course part time, please complete our online application form.

Applying through UCAS

The Flexible and Distributed Pathway can be studied part-time or full-time. How you apply depends upon which option you choose.

Apply via UCAS using the UCAS code X312



Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.