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What makes Early Years at Worcester special?

The Early Years (0-8) Foundation Degree is a new and innovative course for people who are working, or who aspire to work, in the Early Years sector. It is designed to fit around your needs and if you find it difficult to attend regular classes, but would like to develop your skills, then this is the course for you.

This flexible degree option allows you to study online and meet face to face on a Saturday at the University eight times per year. Part-time/full-time opportunities to study at a local college are also available on the Early Years (0-8) Foundation degree.      

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.  



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
  • Flexible learning through 8 online learning activities released during the year with 8 Saturday workshop sessions and 2 Summer School Days 
  • Early Years conference in February   
  • Opportunity to progress to a BA Top-up degree and to Early Years Teaching
  • International opportunities available 

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.

Join us this September

It's not too late to apply for a September 2020 start. We have places available on a range of courses through clearing.

Find out more
Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

32 UCAS Tariff points

  • Minimum of four GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above
  • Evidence of Level 2 Literacy, for example key skills at Level 2 or GCSE English Language at Grade C/4 or above
  • 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

NB For the Early Years (0-8) pathway, 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  

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.

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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. 

Year 1

  • The Developing Child
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Playful Pedagogy
  • Introduction to Work-Based Learning/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/early educator small scale practice-based enquiry
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. 

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.

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).     

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.

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. 


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 (OLA) 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.

In person teaching from September

We intend to start the academic year as planned in September 2020.

For many years, the majority of our teaching has taken place in small group settings such as seminars, laboratory classes, tutorials, clinical simulation and other practical sessions. We are planning to continue to teach these in person, while strictly following the Government safety guidelines in place at the time.

Other sessions will be delivered through a blend of in-person and online learning. You can read more about this approach in our coronavirus FAQs.

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.  

Here are a few of the current members of the department who teach on this course:

lecturer sitting back in her chair

Janet Harvell

Having originally trained as a junior/secondary teacher Janet became interested in the early years when she became involved in the local preschool setting as a parent, volunteer helper and committee member. This then led to becoming an Associate Manager of a 44-place day nursery. During this time Janet became an assessor and verifier for NVQs in Early Years and also worked as a freelance Ofsted Early Years Inspector.

Janet has lived, studied and worked abroad (Zambia, Malawi, Hong Kong, USA and Saudi Arabia) and from this comes a passion for raising awareness and understanding of the impact that different cultures have on children and families.


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.

man with a dark top and beard

Stuart Gallagher

Stuart’s interests lie in the development of change-makers in children's services through higher education. His work aims to support students and colleagues to integrate personal development with practice change. He takes this seriously, especially the fun bits.

Click on Stuart's name to see his full university profile.



Michelle Rogers

Michelle has worked in Higher Education for the past fourteen years, both in an FE college and as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Worcester. During her time at University Michelle has been involved with curriculum development and designing online learning environment. More recently she lead the development of a flexible and distributed pathway for a Foundation Degree.

Prior to working in Higher Education Michelle's interests were in autism in early years, behaviour conduct disorders, early development psychology and enhancing the learning environment. Her current research interests revolve around teaching and learning, online learning, the student experience, online curriculum development and online communities of practice.


Angela Hodgkins

Angela started her professional career aged 18, as an NNEB qualified nursery nurse, working in special schools and supporting children with special needs in mainstream provision. She has had a varied 20 year career in Early Years, including working as a nanny and a child-minder, as a nursery nurse in a Primary School, leading a pre-school and setting up and managing out of school provision.

Angela taught in F.E. Colleges for 12 years and has spent 5 years as the  Course Leader of the Foundation Degree in Early Years at Halesowen College before moving to The University of Worcester in 2014, where she now leads the BA (Hons) Integrated Working with Children and Families. 


Simone Acton

Simone is the Education Administrator for the FdA in Early Years and Collaborative Working with Children, Young People and Families FdA. She provides administrative support to academic staff within the Department for Children and Families teams, who run these programmes as part of their wider roles.

Simone is the central point of contact for staff, students and a range of external organisations including partner colleges. She is responsible for ensuring the efficient management of all administration relating to the FdA in Early Years and Collaborative Working with Children, Young People and Families FdA as well as making significant contributions to the management of programme quality.


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.

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"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


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 is £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 2020/21 is £12,700 per year.

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 2020/21 are £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module, £2,313 per 30-credit module, £3,083 per 40-credit module, £3,469 per 45-credit module and £4,625 per 60 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.

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?

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 via 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 online - Part time

Get in touch

To find out more about the course, contact the University of Worcester:

University of Worcester
Admissions Office
01905 855111

Janet Harvell     
Course Leader FdA Early Years (0-8)/Fda Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) FDL  
01905 542075

Michelle Malomo    
FdA Early Years Partnership Co-ordinator    
01905 542075

Simone Acton
Partnership Administrator
01905 855036