Why study this course

Continue working or volunteering while pursuing your degree, providing you with valuable practical experience alongside your academic studies

The National Student Survey in 2022 revealed satisfaction rate of 96.85% among students in professional studies programs, highlighting quality and effectiveness

The opportunity to study with support from a research-active team, ensuring that you receive the latest insights and developments in the field of early childhood education

Offers the opportunity to work towards meeting the Department for Education's Full and Relevancy Criteria, providing a clear path to meeting professional standards in early childhood education

Course summary

Have you ever thought about working towards a degree, but decided against it as you are already in employment or volunteering and don’t want to give that up? Our FdA Early Childhood Education in Practice course is designed for those working or volunteering with children 0-8 years in the voluntary, private and independent early years sector or a foundation unit in a school. This course is also for nannies, child minders and those working in Children’s Centres with families of young children.

Key facts



UCAS code



2 years

Mode of study


Start date


Awarding institution

Bishop Grosseteste University

Institution code


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About this course

Explore Your Path to a Rewarding Career in Early Childhood Education.

Our Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Education is a dynamic and comprehensive program that blends practical experience with campus-based learning sessions, carefully designed to accommodate your existing work or volunteer commitments. With just one weekly on-campus session, you can seamlessly continue your career journey while enhancing your skills and knowledge over a two-year period. It's important to note that this Foundation degree serves as the first two years of a full-time degree program, providing you with a solid foundation for your educational aspirations.

During the first year of the programme, you will embark on a transformative journey into higher education. You'll gain a deep understanding of learning principles and explore the intricate link between theory and practice in meeting the unique needs of children. Our program empowers you to analyse your role within the early years sector, facilitating your professional growth and development. Additionally, you will delve into modules covering child development and social interactions, enriching your practical knowledge and skills.

As you progress into the second year, you will delve deeper into essential topics. Modules in inclusion, equality, and diversity will equip you with the tools to create inclusive learning environments. You will also focus on developing and supporting children, expanding young minds through pedagogy and practice, and honing your reflective skills. Moreover, you will have the invaluable opportunity to collaborate with fellow students from diverse backgrounds and related courses. This collaboration will broaden your perspectives, enhancing your employability and enriching your understanding of working with children and young people.

Throughout all stages of our program, the Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Education in Practice aligns closely with the stringent full and relevant criteria set by the Department for Education. We also adhere to the Graduate Competency (GC) requirements outlined by the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network, ensuring that you receive an education that meets the highest professional standards in the field of early childhood education.

Join us on this enlightening journey and unlock your potential to make a lasting difference in the lives of children and young people. Enrol in our Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Education and take the first steps toward a rewarding and fulfilling career.

What you will study

Students on this course currently study some or all of the following modules:

This module provides an induction to higher education set within the context of your own learning and supports the development of academic literacies. The underpinning foundations for professional learning are the focus of ‘Tools for Learning’ including ethical principles and reflection. The module also introduces well-established traditional and contemporary learning theories in relation to higher education. The syllabus will include an induction to the range of learning resources available on campus, through the library and CELT to facilitate development of higher education academic literacy skills. You will practice and develop study skills, and evaluate personal learning, reflection, ethics and development. You will study aspects of well-established learning theory associated with development. You will have an opportunity to evaluate and reflect on your personal learning.

This module provides an induction to higher education set within the context of your own learning and supports the development of academic literacies. The underpinning foundations for professional learning are the focus of ‘Tools for Learning’ including ethical principles and reflection. The module also introduces well established traditional and contemporary learning theories, to support children and young people’s development. You will practise and improve your study skills, as well as analyse your personal learning, reflection, ethics, and progress. You will investigate parts of well-established learning theory related to development, and will have an opportunity to evaluate and reflect on your professional practice. You will also consider the tools and principles relating to reflective communication that support your own and others learning development and achievement.

This Level 4 module introduces you to a range of key thinkers, concepts and ideas in relation to provision and practice developments for children, young people and their families. The module combines a study of historical background about formal and informal provision alongside contemporary thinkers shaping and/or determining 21st Century practice. Concepts are introduced that you can build upon throughout the programme of study. The module enables you to draw on your own practice experiences, encouraging you to critically engage with the theories, concepts and ideas presented to identify strengths, limitations and the applicability to professional practice today.

Although developmental theories of education and learning are used throughout the programme, this module ensures you have a secure grounding in a range of perspectives to enable exploration of theories, principles and policy relating to the development of the individual in society. The module explores the influencing factors on development and how children and young people may be supported. The module enables you to evaluate the impact of development and will include a range of theories and perspectives based in sociology and psychology. There will be opportunities to develop the understanding gained in prior learning of how development can impact on children and young people’s learning. The module introduces you to contemporary concepts and principles of supporting children and young people in a range of practice settings.

This Level 4 module builds on your practice experiences of working in settings with colleagues, children, young people and families alongside professional practice safeguarding training. The aim is therefore to develop and extend knowledge and understanding, particularly in relation to multi-professional approaches required within professional practice, with particular focus on safeguarding of children and/or young people. The module explores and examines empowering relationships within settings and also wider networks of professionals and organisations. Factors are considered which help or hinder effective approaches for working together. The module enables you to draw on your own practice experiences, encouraging you to critically reflect upon your own professional approach alongside building strategies for the future. This is with the aim of equipping you to work effectively with children, young people and families as well as appropriate and/or relevant professionals and/or organisations.

This module explores the influences which impact upon the health of children and young people. You will explore theoretical and practical perspectives of supporting health and well-being, which have influenced policy and practice. You will also reflect upon the importance of health promotion and effective working practices in supporting individual’s mental, physical, emotional and nutritional health needs.

Although matters relating to inclusive practice are embedded in all modules, this module offers you the opportunity to study the topic in depth and to critically analyse and apply a range of theories. It will build on the values, beliefs and philosophies explored in Level 4 modules and extend your appreciation of societal inequality. You will develop awareness of issues relating to inclusion, participation and entitlement and the role played by the practitioner in advancing inclusive practice. The module provides an opportunity for you to reflect upon and evaluate your own values and beliefs and how these might affect your practice and the practice of others. You will develop an understanding of the key theories, such as related models, through the examination of historical perspectives and analysis of current practice. Exploration of the implementation of education, health and social policies will be undertaken to understand how provision may support participation and aims to meet a diverse range of needs within society.

During this module you will develop knowledge and understanding of supporting children’s learning through pedagogy and practice.

This module will develop your understanding of the many ways that children learn and the diversity of learning opportunities to support high-quality learning experiences for all children aged 0 -8 years. It offers you the opportunity to scaffold your previous learning and encourages you to consider and reflect upon appropriate pedagogical approaches to supporting young children’s learning and development in practice with consideration given to key areas of learning. The importance of parents, caregivers, and stakeholders in promoting children's learning will be emphasised.

This practice-based module is designed to enable you to explore your professional practice working with children, young people and/or families. You have the opportunity to develop and apply knowledge and skills in your practice setting, which will develop and enhance professional formation. The module analyses principles of practice including ethical codes and competence frameworks, which aims to support you to develop your capacity to engage in informed, constructive reflection. This module aims to extend your knowledge and understanding of your role within a professional team and in promoting inclusive practice, equality and diversity. You will reflect on your own learning and intellectual development, making use of constructive feedback.

This module is concerned with ensuring the continued success and quality of provision within the early years sector. The key aspects of quality, effectiveness and success are dependent upon a workforce who is reflective, competent and skilled within the area of early years.

The overall aim of this module is for you to gain a practical and theoretical understanding of the importance of reflection, particularly in challenging personal and professional practice. You will reflect on the skills needed in enabling the voice of young children to be heard.

You will acquire and develop a range of skills including transferable, personal, interpersonal, academic and subject specific skills to support continuous professional development.

The Practitioner Research module provides you with the opportunity to design a research project. You will be introduced to the broad principles of research design, by engaging with the process of a literature review, you will develop subject knowledge pertinent to the area of inquiry. Ethical issues will be addressed, including the key principles of informed consent, anonymity and confidentiality. You will be introduced to a range of data collection methods and techniques for analysing and presenting research findings and this will be supported through lectures. You will expected to collect primary data from your fellow students within the class, and will then be guided to write up specific elements of your project for the assessments.

Entry requirements

Typically, a minimum of one year’s experience in practice with a minimum of two days a week (minimum of 12 hours per week accumulating to 360 hours per year of study in a relevant role, either as an employee or a volunteer). In exceptional cases, it might be appropriate to recruit students directly from a Level 3 apprenticeship or another course in which it can be demonstrated that there is a significant element of professional practice. In such a case, this decision will be based on and the suitability of the applicant:

  • Typically a Level 3 Diploma, NVQs, access to HE programmes, subject/vocational qualifications;
  • Written support from the head teacher/workplace manager in which the applicant works or volunteers.

Further information

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

In accordance with University conditions, students are entitled to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning, RP(C)L, based on relevant credit at another HE institution or credit Awarded for Experiential Learning, (RP(E)L).

How you will be taught

This work-focused degree is a combination of practice-based learning and campus-based sessions which run once a week, so that you are able to continue in employment throughout the course. The degree is designed to improve and develop your personal and professional communication skills, allows you to professionalise your approach and further your personal growth.

You will work with a range of experienced academic staff and be supported through peer-led groups, directed tasks and interactive web-based resources.


A variety of assessment methods are used including presentations, discussions, debates, poster presentations, essays, portfolios of work, case studies and reflections. All assessments allow you to reflect on your practice and theory as you evidence your learning, building on your personal strengths to develop clear communication skills to share your knowledge and understanding.

Careers & Further study

Many of our students in this program are employed as Teaching Assistants, early years practitioners, nannies, and childminders. They actively contribute to educational outcomes for children, playing pivotal roles in facilitating informal and formal learning opportunities. This includes providing targeted support to children with specific needs, making a tangible difference in their development. Our Foundation Degree is widely recognised as a stepping stone towards a teaching career, enabling you to progress within your role as a Teaching Assistant or early years practitioner. Additionally, it opens doors to explore senior positions in the sector. Moreover, this program offers several top-up degree options, empowering you to pursue your long-term goals in the field of child education.

What Our Students Say

Discover what life is like at Bishop Grosseteste University from our students.


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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Fees & Finance

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 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.

Ethical considerations of doctoral methodologies Podcast

Dr Nyree Nicholson is a Programme Leader on our work-based Foundation Degree programmes. The title of her doctoral research was “Supporting children with identified speech, language and communication needs at two-years-old: voices of early years practitioners”. Nyree utilised a narrative hermeneutic methodology with conversational interviews to explore the lived experiences of fifteen early years practitioners.

Samantha Hoyes is a senior lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and is currently part way through her PhD. Her focus is on working motherhood in the 21st Century and how working mothers make sense of their identities. Applying a post-structuralist feminist approach, Sam has utilised photo elicitation interviews to explore working mothers lived experiences. Sam's sample will consist of 10-15 working mothers living in Lincolnshire with a child/ children aged 0-5 years at the time of data collection. She is currently around halfway through her initial data collection.

In this podcast, Nyree and Sam discuss the methodological approaches taken in the research process and share the ethical considerations they encountered throughout the research process.

For any more question or queries please contact Samantha.hoyes@bishopg.ac.uk and nyree-anne.nicholson@bishopg.ac.uk