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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.

The programme 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.

Read about Routledge authors Sandra Cheeseman (Macquarie University) and Rosie Walker (Senior Lecturer at The University of Worcester, Department of Children and Families) and their book Pedagogies for Leading Practice here.



Key features

  • 96% of students in work or undertaking further study upon completion of their degree 
  • 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
  • Opportunity to progress to a BA Top-up degree and to Early Years Teaching
  • A non-standard entry route for experienced practitioners
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

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.

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 team includes former teachers, social workers, lawyers, preschool and nursery managers/leaders, HMI EY Inspector.

Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and 100 per cent of Full Time course lecturers 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


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 assignments, presentations, reports, Case Studies.

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

  • Year 1, 2 and 3: formative assessment in December/January, and summative assessment in April through to May


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.


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 which it is possible to apply for a PGCE (Qualified Teacher Status) course and Early Years Teacher Status, providing you also have English, Mathematics and Science at GCSE Grade C or above (for PGCE). 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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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 2019/20 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 will be £12,400 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 2019/20 will be £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 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 £102 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £165 per week (2019/20 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.


Janet Harvell

Course Leader