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Entry Requirements

Minimum 48 UCAS points

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Study Mode

Full time


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Full time:

2 years

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Key Features & Benefits

  • Validated by UK Top 15 Lancaster University
  • Study while you work - our timetables allow those already working in the sector to study

Our Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies is for those students who are working, or who have a desire to work, in the Early Years sector. This qualification aims to enhance individual's knowledge and understanding of the holistic nature of the early years sector.

  • Overview

    The Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies has been newly revalidated and is aimed at students who are working, or who have a desire to work, in the rapidly changing Early Childcare and education sector (ECEC). The programme has been aligned with the Higher Technical Qualification (HTQs) occupational standards for the Early Years Lead Practitioner, (subject to DfE approval). Students are given the option of also gaining ECSDN Graduate Competencies demonstrates the programmes meet the needs of the sector, graduates, and employers, upon completion of the BA (Hons) Top-Up.

    Early Childhood Studies is an established discipline, focusing upon on the holistic development of infants and young children from conception to the age of eight, enabling those who graduate to work a wide range of professional roles and/or progress onto postgraduate study, such as the BA (Honours) Top Up. The discipline draws upon a wide range of academic discourse covering a broad range of topics relevant to childhood, development, professional roles, family, policy, legislation, neuroscience, leadership and management, inequalities, pedagogy, curriculum, and health, to name a few (QAA ECS Benchmark Statements 2022). As such, our Early Childhood Studies graduates act as advocates for children, their families and professionals working in the sector.

    Our qualification will allow you to learn in the latest classroom environments, such as, a Sensory Learning Room and Immersive Learning Suite so you can experience the latest digital technologies in your chosen careers.

  • What will I study?

    The modules you will study will examine the theories and principles relating to professional practice within the Early Childhood Care and Education Sectors. Personal Development Planning is also integral to the programme and you will work on developing a portfolio of evidence within the Reflective Journey modules at Level 4 in order to reflect upon the links between theory and practice. The development of this portfolio will illustrate your continuing professional development and professional competencies.

    Work Placement

    During the course you are required to spend at least 240 hours working in a relevant role in order to improve your knowledge and practice of the subject. This may be through paid employment or via a voluntary work placement in a relevant role. Your work placement is expected to have a focus on applying the knowledge from your degree programme in an employment context.

    Please note: You are also responsible for any costs in travelling to and from your work placements, for any accommodation costs and in some instances the cost of acquiring a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report.  If you are already working with an Early Childhood Care or Education setting with children under the age of 8, you will usually use this experience instead of completing a formal placement.

    All students take a total of 120 credits per level.

    Level 4 Modules

    • Developing Reflective Practice
    • Preparation for Research
    • Child Development
    • Pedagogy and Play 
    • Working with Families and Professionals
    • Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

    Level 5 Modules

    • Developing Critical Awareness
    • Research Project
    • Leading Quality Provision
    • Inclusive Environments
    • Contemporary Issues
    • Safeguarding
  • Entry Requirements

    Minimum 32/48 UCAS Tariff points

    In addition, for this programme, you will be required to have a GCSE (or equivalent level 2 qualification) at grade 4 (formerly grade C) or above in English Language. Applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria but have relevant work / life experience will be considered on an individual basis and may be invited to interview.

    Care Leavers or Young Carers

    We want students from all backgrounds to have the opportunity to go to University. If you have spent three months or more in local authority care OR are a young carer, you will be eligible for a contextual offer. This is a grade reduction of 1-A Level grade below our standard entry requirements. For example, a standard offer of CCC, would become CCD. MMM at Level 3 Extended Diploma would become MMP. To apply we advise that you tick the box on your UCAS application which identifies you have spent time in care and to help identify you as eligible for our contextual offer.

  • How will I be assessed?

    Assessment will be undertaken through a range of established methodologies at various stages throughout the student learning experience. This incorporates standard practices through initial, diagnostic, formative and summative stages. For many modules’ students will be given a choice of assessment so they can choose which assessment suits them the best. Examples of assessment activity includes:

    Summative Assessments

    • Professional Discussions
    • Essays
    • Online e-Portfolios
    • Multi-media platforms
    • Reports
    • Rationale
    • Newsletter
    • Group presentations
    • Individual presentation
    • Research Projects
    • Good Practice Guides

    Formative Assessments

    • Draft portals
    • Recap
    • Peer assessment
    • Group assessment
    • Seminars
    • Reading Club
    • Think, pair, share
    • Pose, pause, pass questioning technique.
    • Strategic questioning
    • Formal formative feedback through VLE within the modules
  • Teaching and Learning

    Learning and teaching will be delivered through a range of established methodologies including:

    • Typically, teaching and learning methods will include:
    • Audio Visual materials
    • Research
    • Guest Speaker Events
    • Archive and Library searches
    • Attendance at conferences
    • Presentations at conferences
    • Work-based scenarios
    • Case studies
    • Practical sessions
    • Debates
    • Traditional interactive lectures
    • Strategic and Socratic questioning techniques
    • Recap of teaching and learning
    • Seminars
    • Workshops
    • Padlet
    • Practical experiences
    • One to one support
    • Active learning
    • Interdisciplinary approaches
    • Scaffolding
    • Collaborative learning
    • Peer teaching, sharing information


    We endeavour to make timetables available one month before you start your course.  Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.  Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week. 

    Overall Workload

    You overall workload consists of class contact hours, around 15 hours of independent learning and assessment activity and any field trips which may take place.

    Academic Support

    We have a dedicated Academic Coach Team who will be able to provide support in the following areas;

    • Study Skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
    • Written English
    • Academic Writing (including referencing)
    • Research Skills
  • What can I do next?

    As well as the award of Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies awarded by Lancaster University, you will have achieved an innovative qualification which will allow you to progress onto a number of different career options.  

    Students who successfully complete the FdA in Early Childhood Studies will be able to progress onto the BA (Hons) Top Up Year. Students who successfully complete and gain a good degree in BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies will be able to progress onto postgraduate routes such as:

    • Early Years Teacher
    • Family Support Worker
    • Learning Mentor
    • Secondary School Teacher
    • Teaching Assistant
    • Youth Worker
    • Children’s Nurse
    • Counsellor
    • Educational Psychologist
    • Speech and Language Therapist
    • Community Development Worker
    • Child Psychotherapist
    • Social Worker
    • Special Educational Needs
    • Primary School Teacher
    • Health Play Specialist
    • Education Consultant
  • Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Information

    The Programme Specification will give you further information about the course structure, learning outcomes and detailed information about the assessment you can expect during the course.

    Work Placements

    Work placements are subject to availability. You are also responsible for any costs in travelling to and from your work placements, for any accommodation costs and in some instances the cost of acquiring a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report.

  • Fees and Financial information

    Going to University is not as expensive as you think. There are no upfront fees to pay if you take out a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England. Don't forget to apply as early as possible to secure your fees before you start your course.  

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