Foundation Degree In Early Years Care And Education (Level 5)

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Study Type
Full Time
Study Tier
Start Date
2 years
Victoria Egerton

Subject to final validation by the University of Portsmouth.

The College is, in collaboration with a University partner, offering a Foundation Degree (FdA) in Early Years. This has the following features:

A two-year programme (240 credits) based around four semesters.

The two main emphases of a Foundation Degree are: theoretical understanding and Work Based Learning.

The qualification consists of twelve (equivalent) modules. Each of these will be assessed through a variety of means that include: assignments, portfolio work, essays, case studies, class and work-based activities.

The FdA allows progression onto different routes such as the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies at the IOW College that leads to PGCE and ITT(EY) status.


Our foundation degree provides a broad perspective of work with young children, which will develop your skills by studying childhood from psychological, historical, cultural, sociological, social policy and philosophical viewpoints. It aims to give students an understanding of the diverse contexts in which children develop and learn.

The course is designed for those currently working in a variety of early childhood settings, for example, pre-schools, nurseries, children’s health services (such as speech therapy) and in social services early childhood centres.

The programme of study is delivered partly through taught sessions and partly through employer supported work-based learning. It is designed to support the development of the role of the early childhood worker through an intermediate level of study and can also provide progression towards gaining a full degree in Early Childhood Studies, progress to gain the Early Years Teacher or Qualified Teaching Status.


All applicants will be interviewed. Applicants for The Foundation Degree in Early Years need to meet the following criteria:

Applicants must

  • Be employed or doing voluntary work in an Early Years childcare setting for a minimum of 12 hours a week. This will be discussed at interview to ensure students will be able to meet the requirements of the work-based activities and research
  • Have the support of their employer (unless they are self-employed such as child-minders)
  • Be able to communicate clearly and accurately in spoken and written Standard English
  • Obtain a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring System (DBS) check
  • Have 2 GCSEs at level C (or grade 4 – 9) and one A level or equivalent or a level three qualification for example DCE/NNEB or NVQ3/CCLD in Early Years Care and education or equivalent
  • A written task for mature students without evidence of GCSE qualifications can be undertaken
  • Entry with Advanced Standing

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

The FdA aims to encourage childcare practitioners to adopt a critical view of their own workplace practice and that of others. It covers a wide range of aspects of early years; from curriculum issues to observations, child development to social policy. There is a heavy bias on psychology and children’s learning.

Teaching typically takes place in small groups and a wide variety of teaching methods are used from lectures to group work, seminars and presentations. Most of the assessed work is linked directly to workplace practice.

The FdA is designed to provide theoretical underpinning knowledge to childcare practice in order to meet the demands of government initiatives to raise standards and increase the professionalization of childcare.

Learning will be supported by a Work Based Mentor and University Tutor. Teaching and learning will consist of workshops, lectures, seminars, discussion groups, some on-line distance learning, action planning, as well as self-assessment and independent.


Although a recognised qualification in itself, the FdA in Early Years forms the first two years of the BA (Hons) Childhood Studies. Students wishing to complete this degree have the option to do this over one year (full time).

Students wishing to achieve Early Years Teacher qualifications (EYT) can undertake this alongside the BA (Hons) in Childhood Studies. Students may wish to complete the degree and take the Post-Graduate Certificate in Education to qualify them as National Curriculum school teachers.

Provides a basis for progression through a top up route to:

  • ITT(EY) (Early Years Teacher)
  • BA (Hons) Degree in Childhood studies
  • BA (Hons): PGCE qualification leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) – this is subject to entry conditions of receiving institution.

NB: to undertake EYT and QTS you must have GCSE at C or above in English, Maths and Science (some students take this while doing the FdA).


The course is run over 24 weeks, it is one day at week at college for 6 hours and then 12 hours (minimum) a week in a placement, employed or voluntary.

You will have normal school holidays during this time.


Fees for 2021 have not yet been agreed.

For information regarding assistance with fees and accessing loans; please refer to the government student finance website.

Advice is also available via The University of Portsmouth website.

Further Information

The course will commence in September 2021.  Further details are available from University of Portsmouth.

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