Why study this course

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is a sector approved ‘full and relevant’ programme which offers the opportunity to work towards sector endorsed graduate practitioner competencies.

Have you always wanted to work with young children (ages 0-8) but are unsure on your career pathway? If so then this course is ideal for you.

Progressing into Teaching? FREE pre-teaching course and guaranteed interview for PGCE.

This is a flexible course covering many aspects of health, education and social care.

Course summary

If you don’t have, or don’t think you will attain, the normal tariff points for studying at BGU, this course will enable you to study for a degree without any UCAS points. The course is delivered over four years and includes a Foundation Year, which gives you a perfect introduction to what it means to be a university student and prepares you for effective undergraduate study. In your Foundation Year, you will study eight modules, all of which are designed to equip you with the necessary academic skills and knowledge to progress successfully in your chosen subject. You will also engage in a series of bespoke subject sessions delivered by experts, designed to introduce you to your chosen subject area.

Find out more about our Foundation Year programme.

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is a three-year undergraduate programme which introduces students to aspects of education, health and social care, with a specific focus on children from 0 – 8 years of age.

The course offers graduates a range of employability opportunities with module content supporting students in developing a wide range of transferable skills, as well as providing a curriculum which enables students to develop their academic skills.

Students who graduate from the programme will be awarded a full and relevant degree enhancing employability by enabling them to seek roles in early childhood settings as part of the adult: child ratio. Furthermore, students may also choose to work towards an award which embeds graduate practitioner competencies into their study.

Key facts


BA (Hons)

UCAS code



4 years

Mode of study


Start date


Awarding institution

Bishop Grosseteste University

Institution code


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About this course

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is a three-year undergraduate programme which introduces students to aspects of education, health and social care, with a specific focus on children from 0 – 8 years of age.

The course offers graduates a range of employability opportunities with module content supporting students in developing a wide range of transferable skills, as well as providing a curriculum which enables students to develop their academic skills.

Students who graduate from the programme will be awarded a full and relevant degree enhancing employability by enabling them to seek roles in early childhood settings as part of the adult: child ratio.

Graduate Practitioner Competencies

New for September 2021, the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies programme now offers students the opportunity to work towards the sector endorsed graduate practitioner competencies. This is an optional route designed for students who are specifically seeking a role in the early years education sector.

The graduate practitioner route comprises nine competencies which students can meet through assessed placement tasks, observation of practice and academic assignments.

Completed alongside the degree programme, students will complete an evidence-based portfolio in order to be awarded the qualification of BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Graduate Practitioner).

All students who apply for the single honors BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies course will be offered the opportunity to work towards the graduate practitioner competencies.

What you will study

As a student on this course, you may study some or all of the modules listed below.

In this module you will explore and consider what it means to be a successful learner at university. You’ll explore the principles of effective learning and engage with a range of tools and techniques to practise and develop strategies for your own learning. These include for example, understanding your needs as a learner, effective time management and organisational skills.

You will learn about a range of resources and practise locating and using these resources to support effective learning. These resources will include, for example, textbooks, websites, academic journals, and popular press. In addition to these key techniques, the module covers academic conventions including referencing, citation and the risks of plagiarism.

This module will allow you to learn to utilise sources in a considered and critical way. You will begin to engage effectively with literature and other sources in a meaningful manner that promotes deep learning and enables knowledge and understanding of a topic. You will also begin to differentiate qualitative and quantitative data and consider their appropriate interpretation and use.

Critical thinking is an integral part of university study. While studying this module you will define critical thinking, its importance and how it can help you in your learning. A range of critical thinking models will be utilised to demonstrate how this works in action, allowing you to recognise critical thinking and identify barriers and challenges.

The skilled use of digital technologies is an important element in university study and is used to support both the obtaining and demonstration of knowledge. This module will develop your digital capabilities and confidence, encouraging you to develop techniques for the purposeful use of a range of digital tools to support learning. These include specific tools such as the Virtual Learning Environment and appropriate and effective uses of wider applications such as social media, email and the internet.

This module explores, compares and evaluates a range of communication types, giving you opportunities to combine written and spoken communication in a range of contexts and for a range of audiences. From a theoretical, sociological perspective you will explore different communication media and styles of discourse, for example, discussion, debate, enquiry and reporting.

Reflection is a powerful learning tool that enables you to consider your existing knowledge and also to plan for your future learning and professional development. The module content includes the principles of reflective learning and collaborative planning with reference to structured models.

Academic writing is an essential element of successful university study, so this module explores a range of techniques to help develop your own academic writing style. It will enable you to draw together your learning throughout the Foundation Year and reflect on the feedback you have received. You will structure a clear and effective piece of academic writing on a subject-linked topic in which you will apply standard academic conventions.

This module explores policy, provision, and practice both historically and currently, providing you with the opportunity to understand what shifts and shapes early years policy and the subsequent impact of policy on practice.

The module presents an historical overview of the development of early childhood provision using the lens of social and political discourse and, through an exploration of the work of key thinkers and philosophers who have influenced current policy and provision. The module includes a study of historical practice and provision for young children and covers the work of early social, educational and health reformers. You will also examine the work of more contemporary thinkers and will be introduced to some alternative education styles.

You will be encouraged to question underlying philosophies and the social and political motivations for shaping policy when creating provision for young children. You will be encouraged to reflect on your own personal philosophy and how this might have been influenced, and how this may subsequently influence your own practice.

During this module, you will have the opportunity to develop your graduate competencies with regards to your understanding of the relevant frameworks, and how these are applied to practice, as well as developing your understanding of policy.

During this module, you will begin to explore aspects of developing professionalism, with a focus on reflective practice. The module will draw on theories of both adult learning and reflective practice to examine and explore how adults learn, and the role of reflection as a tool for learning and development. You will be asked to evaluate the use of adult learning theories and consider their relevance to current learning, as well as reflecting on your own experiences and considering how these can be used to move forward with your learning. Through exploring concepts of reflection, and exploring your own approaches to learning and development, you will develop subject expertise and increase graduate attributes, most notably academic literacy and employability.

During this module, you will begin to explore aspects of developing professionalism, with a focus on positive relationships, specifically those between practitioners and parents and/or carers. The module will explore the role of parents and/or carers and explore relevant theory and research in relation to the importance of parents and carers. The module will then explore the practitioner’s role in working with parents and carers, underpinned by relevant guidance and legislation. Barriers to effective parent partnerships will be explored, as well as strategies for developing positive relationships. Aspects of inclusivity and bias will also be introduced. Through exploring concepts of positive relationships, focused on parent partnerships, you will develop graduate competency in a range of areas, including; demonstrating knowledge of the importance of parents and/or caregivers; practitioners’ roles in the co-construction of respectful partnerships; and an understanding of the diversity of family life and society, including anti-discriminatory practice and the practitioner’s role in valuing difference.

This module focuses on children’s early communication and language. Exploring the earliest influences on children’s language development, you will learn how children become confident and capable communicators drawing upon a range of developmental, sociological, and psychological theoretical perspectives. You will compare and contrast these perspectives against contemporary research to understand current views about how language develops in the early years. Sessions will also include the role of stories, songs and rhyme in early literacy, and the introduction of phonics. Whilst typical development will be the main focus of the module, children with English as an additional language and the needs of children with speech and language difficulties will also be considered. You will also explore a range of practical strategies to support early language and communication including treasure baskets, story sacks and picture books. Through developing your understanding of children’s early communication and language, you will develop your graduate competencies, including an understanding of children’s holistic development; the ability to listen and communicate with a range of children, including where children may have English as an additional language; and developing your understanding of language development into real world contexts through your placement.

This module will explore how young children learn from a range of perspectives. You will be introduced to constructivism, behaviourism, social learning theory and humanism, and explore how these may shape our understanding of how children learn. The module will also begin to broadly explore typical development in relation to the specific areas of children’s development and consider how theories of learning can be applied in practice to support young children’s learning on enabling environments. You will explore what is meant by ‘enabling environments. The module will cover aspects of the environment, both indoors and out, underpinned by theoretical understanding of differing provision. The role of the adult will be examined in relation to the environment provided. This will include developing an understanding of adult led, child led, and child-initiated provision, and the role of observation and assessment. The rights of the child will be introduced, focused on article 12, critically exploring how the voice of the child is heard when developing provision. You will develop a range of graduate competencies, including an understanding of the practitioner’s role in advocating for young children’s rights and participation; understanding the relevant frameworks, and the role of observation, listening and planning in supporting children’s early learning; as well as evidencing aspects of professional development.

During this module, you will develop knowledge and understanding of personal, social and emotional development of children aged 0-8 years. You will explore the cultural context, and the factors which can impact and shape young children’s personal, social and emotional development. You will be introduced to a range of theoretical approaches in order to appreciate that social and emotional development is complex and can be viewed from differing standpoints, including, sociological, psychological and physiological perspectives. Current research will be considered throughout the module, and its impact on our understanding of the emotional and social development of babies and young children will be evaluated. The holistic nature of development in these areas will be explored as well as the range of personal, family, community and cultural factors which impact on the child. Through this module you will further develop your graduate competencies. These include an understanding of children’s holistic development, focused on personal social and emotional development, and some aspects of neurological development; an understanding of attachment, and personal, social and emotional well-being; and knowledge of the differing theoretical perspectives when planning for children’s personal, social and emotional development, including the role of parents.

This module will present you with the opportunity to revisit some of the behaviour theories first introduced at level 4 in the module ECS40221, but you will be encouraged to contextualise these in relation to how these might be used to promote positive behaviour of children in early year’s settings. You will consider some of the reasons behind challenging behaviours in the early years and will develop an understanding of associated medical conditions which might impact on behaviour such as autism, attention deficit disorder and oppositional defiance disorder.

This module focuses on the diversity of children’s needs in the context of early childhood practice. You will critically analyse contemporary values, debates and attitudes around special educational needs, disability and inclusion and gain knowledge of current practice, legal and statutory guidance relating to early childhood education and care. You will explore the complex nature of special educational needs and disability and consider ways to plan and support for the the individual child, including through multi-agency and collaborative working. Case studies and examples of practice will be used to illustrate aspects of need. The theories, principles and approaches to social, cultural and educational inclusion will be considered and how these relate to legal and statutory policies and procedures. You will explore ways to develop inclusive practice in early childhood settings and schools and will be encouraged to reflect on your own values and experiences and how these influence your practice.

This module is a placement module for those students who have opted to follow the competency route. The module comprises a total of 30 days of placement split over two semesters. It will present you with the opportunity to develop your professional skills while working in an early year setting. While on placement you will be required to work with setting mentors in undertaking a number of professional duties including taking responsibility for an area of the classroom environment, planning and delivering activities for a group of children and planning an activity to undertake with professional colleagues. Building on your skills as a reflective practitioner, you will reflect on the impact of your role in the setting through the development of a reflective journal. You will work independently, leading your own lines of inquiry, supported by an online/face-to-face blended approach to peer and tutor-led group tutorials, as well as support through the placement mentor and personal tutor observations and meetings.

In this module you will have the opportunity to develop your understanding of play and its value for babies and young children. You will explore current understandings and contemporary discourses around play such as concepts of ‘adult-led’ and ‘child-led’ play and you will be encouraged to evaluate current arguments about the role and function of both types of play especially in educational contexts.

Content will focus on linking theory to practice drawing upon your placement experiences and will address themes such as resilience and risk in outdoor play; the child’s right to play; and the place of play and creativity in policy. Visiting speakers will contribute different professional perspectives for example from play work or play therapy.

In this module you will explore the concept of ‘childhood’ from philosophical, sociological and psychological perspectives. Common assumptions about children and childhood will be identified and you will consider how these perceptions are socially constructed according to historical time, place and culture, drawing upon the work of a range of philosophers and educational pioneers. Western perspectives of the child and childhood will be critiqued and contrasted with non-Western views and practices.

The module will explore some of the contemporary debates around children and childhood today and consider implications for practice in the early years.

This module explores the factors which impact upon the health of children within their families, schools and communities. You will explore children’s health and well-being from theoretical and practice-based perspectives, considering the theories and historical contexts which have influenced policy and practice regarding children’s health in the UK, and the relationship between poverty, social marginality and children’s health. You will develop an understanding of legislation and statutory procedures relating to supporting children’s health in early years’ settings, as well as ‘good practice’ in supporting children’s mental, physical, emotional and nutritional health needs. You will consider inclusive and respectful ways in which health and healthy lifestyles can be promoted to children, their families and communities. You will reflect on the implications for practice and the role and responsibility of the Early Childhood Practitioner in advocating for young children’s rights and participation. Concepts of children’s rights and children’s voice will be considered and the module will address some of the challenges that arise around issues of power and control when listening to the voices of young children and encouraging their participation in issues which are relevant to them.

This module will enable you to develop an understanding of policy and practice with regard to safeguarding and child protection in early childhood settings and schools. Key legislative and statutory guidance for practitioners will be introduced and you will learn about the types, signs and causes of abuse and the implications for children’s outcomes, including those risks posed by globalisation and technology.

You will understand the possible impacts of the safeguarding process on young children and their families and appreciate the importance of working with others to safeguard and promote the well-being of babies and young children. You will learn when to signpost to other services or designated people within a school or setting to safeguard individual children. Safeguarding issues will be explored from theoretical perspectives and with reference to historical cases and current examples.

This module will introduce you to the research process in preparation for the sector based research project in semester 2. You will learn about research design and ethical implications of undertaking research with children and their families in an early years setting.

This module will enable you to gain an understanding of key elements of the research process applicable to researching issues in early years. Elements of the research process will be introduced, including literature review, data collection and generation, analysis and data interpretation and presentation of findings. Ways in which rigour can be established will be discussed (e.g. triangulation, generalisation, reliability, validity etc).

The module will introduce you to some different research methods commonly used in early years settings, e.g. observation, interview, questionnaire and consider the relevance of documentary and visual texts. In addition to the traditional learning and teaching strategies, this module will use peer to peer support through collaborative working in which learning ‘about’ the processes of research is explored through online and practical activities (e.g. devising a questionnaire using online software).

You will undertake independent work in developing knowledge and understanding and in working towards a portfolio set of assessed tasks. This module will also be underpinned by a 10 day placement in which you will negotiate an area of research with your placement setting.

In this module you will have the opportunity to build on your understanding of the constructs of ‘childhood’ through an examination of past and present contexts, and the challenges and possibilities of global and future childhood.

You will be encouraged to reflect on a number of thought-provoking debates around global issues surrounding childhood, including child labour and child soldiers, child marriage, the global impact of social media on childhood and the global inequalities in education and health. You will be introduced to some of the policy and legislation around protecting the rights of the child and will reflect on the nature of children as objects of National and Global concern.

In this module you will reflect on the impact of change on the developing child, with a focus on the range of transitions which children experience from birth to 8 years.

The module will draw from research which argues that if a child is taught to cope with the expected changes that are anticipated through childhood, then they will develop better coping mechanisms when faced with unexpected changes. You will be encouraged to reflect on the changes experienced by children in a rapidly changing society and will examine some of the strategies which might be used to support children through these expected and unexpected changes. A key focus of this module will be that of the promotion of resilience, resourcefulness and reciprocity, and the role of the adult in fostering these in children in order to prepare them for a future of change and supporting more positive outcomes into adulthood.

In this module you will have the opportunity to independently research an aspect of early years provision in a placement setting. You will be expected to negotiate an area of focus with your placement mentors and will design, plan and implement an area of study with a view to facilitating change or supporting provision in your setting.

Ethical issues will be addressed, including the key principles of anonymity, confidentiality and informed consent. Specific guidance will be given for the analysis of data and the production of a research dissertation.

You will be expected to think strategically and analytically and to work independently and autonomously as appropriate within agreed guidelines. There will be an emphasis on enabling you to demonstrate the limitations and uncertainty of knowledge and the influence of perspective and theoretical/methodological approach on findings and conclusions.

This module will enable you to contribute to the work of your placement settings, through the negotiation of your research focus, setting change management and improvement priorities and engage in creating and leaving a ‘legacy’ from your research as you make the transition from ‘knowledge consumer’ to ‘knowledge producer’.

This module will develop knowledge and understanding of methods and practice in teaching and learning in the 0-8 age range. This will build on some of the models of child development first introduced at Level 4 with an emphasis on the role of the practitioner in supporting and extending learning.

You will be encouraged to critically reflect on the pedagogical underpinnings of the current Early Years curriculum and will be introduced to some of the more recent developments in developing children’s learning through the processes of deep learning, deep thinking, emotional satisfaction and engagement with others. The notion of creativity will be explored through an exploration of some of the more progressive views of early education and through an examination of alternative curricular such as Forest Schools, In the Moment Planning and The Curiosity Approach.

In addition to the traditional learning and teaching strategies of interactive lectures, seminars and discussions, this module will encourage you to reflect on ideas in relation to your experience of everyday practice. Through practical workshops you will explore aspects of an alternative curriculum in order to form your own ideas about provision in the early years.

In this module you will be introduced to theories and models of leadership and management as they apply to an educational setting. You will be encouraged to reflect on the range of leadership roles within an early year setting and will consider how these have changed and developed from an historical perspective relating to policy and legislation in the early childhood sector.

You will reflect on the complexity of managing provision in an ever-changing landscape and will examine some of the challenges and opportunities of working with a range of stakeholders through effective teamwork and application of different leadership styles. Leadership will be set in the contemporary contexts of leadership for learning, multi-professional leadership through working with families and communities and self-evaluation leading to improvement in provision and practice in early childhood settings. These will be explored through a reflection on the skills and attributes needed by leadership and managers in early years contexts.

This module will introduce you to some of the ethical implications of undertaking research with children and their families in an early years setting, including the key principles of anonymity, confidentiality and informed consent, when researching babies and young children. You will be encouraged to reflect on the conceptualisations of the child as subjects, as well as considering the role of the child as co-researcher.

In addition to the traditional learning and teaching strategies, this module will use peer to peer support through collaborative working in which learning ‘about’ the application of research ethics is explored through online and practical activities. You will undertake independent work in developing knowledge and understanding and in working towards the development of your own ethics form. This module will also be underpinned by a 10 day placement in which you will negotiate an area of research with your placement setting.

Entry requirements

Application for this course is via UCAS, although there is no formal requirement for UCAS points to access the course. As part of your application you will have the opportunity to speak with a member of BGU Admissions staff to resolve any questions or queries you may have.

If you are asked to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check as part of the conditions of your offer, this must be completed prior to the start of your course at a cost of £57.20.

You will also need GCSEs in English Language and Mathematics at grade 4 (previously C) or above (or equivalent).

Further information

Click here for important information about this course including additional costs, resources and key policies.

The Foundation Year syllabus does not include any specific element of upskilling in English language and you are not entitled to apply for Accredited Prior Learning, AP(C)L into a Foundation Year.

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept applications from international students for Foundation year programmes linked to Early Childhood Studies courses.

How you will be taught

There is no one-size-fits-all method of teaching at BGU – we shape our methods to suit each subject and each group, combining the best aspects of traditional university teaching with innovative techniques to promote student participation and interactivity.

You will be taught in a variety of ways, from lectures, tutorials and seminars, to practical workshops, coursework and work-based placements. Small group seminars and workshops will provide you with an opportunity to review issues raised in lectures, and you will be expected to carry out independent study.

Placements are a key part of degree study within many courses at BGU. They provide an enriching learning experience for you to apply the skills and knowledge you will gain from your course and, in doing so, give valuable real-world experience to boost your career.


During the Foundation Year, you will have opportunities to experience a range of formative and summative assessments. These include short-form writing, annotated bibliographies, presentations, digital technologies, reflective journals, and academic essays. All modules involve early, small, and frequent informal and formal assessments so as to be supportive and build confidence, while ensuring development of the core academic skills required for successful study throughout your degree. Assessment strategies are balanced, diverse, and inclusive, ensuring that you will experience a range of assessments to support comprehensive preparation for undergraduate study. You will also have the opportunity for self-evaluation and personal reflection on your own learning progress and development of skills.

We recognise that individuals come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, so we use a variety of assessment strategies in our courses. Assessments in Early Childhood Studies take place at the end of each module in order for you to demonstrate your understanding of the objectives covered. A wide range of assessment methods is used to support your learning, including the production of portfolios, presentations and displays. You’ll also be assessed through written essays, discussions, debates and multimedia projects. Assessments are not only designed to assess your knowledge and understanding but also help you to develop transferable skills which will support you as you enter the early year's workforce.

Careers & Further study

Early Childhood is a growing sector and the skills learnt on this course will enable you to enter the children’s workforce in a range of different roles. Some of our students seek a route into teaching through a PGCE qualifications here at BGU, whilst others enter other teacher training routes. Many of our graduates have gone on to further study in areas of specialism including psychology, speech and language or midwifery, whilst others have entered the workforce as early years practitioners and room leaders in early years settings, before going on to management roles. The diverse nature of this course will also enable you to go on to further study such as postgraduate study on a master degree, seeking wider opportunities in many different fields, including health and social care, children’s social work, play therapy and speech and language therapy. Possible future careers for Early Childhood Studies graduates may include as a Teacher or classroom assistant, Speech and language therapy, Early years management, Social work or Play therapy.

"Having mentored many students on placements, it's always gratifying to work alongside those who already have an insight into how children learn and develop. These are the students who can make links between what they have learned in theory with what they then see in practice. These are the students who are able to support children to make progress in areas such as language, communication and social development. The opportunities they have to observe and work with children, coupled with their knowledge of the theory is helping to build an insightful and professional early years workforce". (Kate Hodge, Early Years Practitioner)

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Studying at BGU is a student-centred experience. Staff and students work together in a friendly and supportive atmosphere as part of an intimate campus community. You will know every member of staff personally and feel confident approaching them for help and advice, and staff members will recognise you, not just by sight, but as an individual with unique talents and interests.

We will be there to support you, personally and academically, from induction to graduation.

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A lot of student finance information is available from numerous sources, but it is sometimes confusing and contradictory. That’s why at BGU we try to give you all the information and support we can to help to throughout the process. Our Student Advice team are experts in helping you sort out the funding arrangements for your studies, offering a range of services to guide you through all aspects of student finance step by step.

Click here to find information about fees, loans and support which will help to make the whole process a little easier to understand.

Undergraduate course applicants must apply via UCAS using the relevant UCAS code. For 2024 entry, the application fee is £27, and you can make a maximum of 6 choices.

For the 2025 cycle, UCAS is removing the undergraduate application fee for any student who is/or has received free school meals (FSM) during the last six years, up until the end of their final year at school or college. More information on the UCAS fee waiver can be found here.

For all applicants, there are full instructions at UCAS to make it as easy as possible for you to fill in your online application, plus help text where appropriate.