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FdA Early Years
This FdA is part of a framework of Work-based Foundation Degrees for Professional Development which are specifically designed for those in work and offered at a highly competitive fee level. These innovative and high quality Foundation Degrees are also very accessible as they require much less time out of the workplace than on standard degree programmes. The courses integrate substantial work-based learning and enable participants to progress both academically and professionally. You will be able to draw out significant learning relevant to your practice setting, to develop reflection and reflexivity, management and leadership capabilities, and specialist interests.
This programme is designed to meet the needs of those working in Early Years settings including: childminders, preschools, schools, full-daycare, children’s centres and inclusion services. You may be working in a paid role or as a volunteer in the statutory, voluntary and community, private/social enterprise sector. Successful completion of the programme enables progression to BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies; BA (Hons) Primary Education and BA (Hons) Children and Young People.
The FdA Early Years will appeal to those:
- seeking a work-based/supported route through to Foundation degree and who have the support of their employer/setting
- intending to progress to achieving Early Years Teacher Status (this is currently being delivered at the University of St Mark & St John)
- wanting to develop specialist knowledge, skills and reflective capacity for improving work with young children
- wanting to integrate a programme of study alongside their work/volunteering, and which recognises and validates work-based learning
- needing a flexible, accessible and competitively priced degree programme
- committed to substantive personal and professional development
This programme provides a framework for academic study alongside work-based learning. It is suitable for people employed (for 10 hours a week or more), and incorporates employer delivery through the structured provision of work-based learning opportunities and the support of a work-based supervisor/mentor. There is a practice development focus throughout with an emphasis on critical thinking and reflection for, and within, work contexts.
Course Code / Duration
2 years full-time, or part-time over 3 or 4 years.
Applicants will normally have:
- Recognition of the importance of integrity in all personal and social interactions
- Commitment to own personal and professional development
- Commitment to working collaboratively
- Commitment to equality and to developing anti-discriminatory approaches in practice
- A level 3 qualification (or equivalent) e.g. Access, GNVQ Advanced, BTEC or A Level(s), preferably in a relevant subject area e.g. social sciences/education/health and social care/children and young people
- Circumstances enabling the demands of the programme to be met (including 10 hours/week paid or voluntary employment, and the support and involvement of the employer in undertaking the programme)
- Access to a PC and internet
All new students will attend an induction into Higher Education and a tailored programme induction.
To achieve the Foundation Degree, students take 6 modules at level 4 and 6 modules at level 5.
The four taught modules at level 4 are:
- Child and Young Person Psycho-Social Development
- Principles and Practices of Safeguarding
- Welfare, Policy and Practice
- Language and Literacy Development
The two work-based learning modules at level 4 are:
- Reflective and Professional Practice 1
- Reflective and Professional Practice 2
The four taught modules at level 5 are:
- Pedagogy and the Early Years Foundation Stage
- Leading Practice
- Working with Families in Community Contexts
- Independent Enquiry: Knowledge and Practice
The two work-based learning modules at level 5 are:
- Developing and Sustaining Learning in the Workplace 1
- Developing and Sustaining Learning in the Workplace 2
How will it work?
There will be range of learning and teaching approaches to enable flexible, student-centred learning and emphasis is placed on working in small groups and encouraging active participation including: lectures; work based learning; seminars; action learning sets; peer presentations; independent study and tutorials. Students will also experience blended and e-learning through the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). Modules that require attendance will usually be delivered in short blocks rather than standard weekly delivery - currently 6 x half days per module.
Each work-based learning module comprises an identifiable 200 hours of learning in the workplace, supported by a practice supervisor/mentor through a learning contract. Guidance and support will be given in order for you to help maximise and integrate your taught module and work-based learning. Your practice supervisor/mentor will need to have experience of supervision and will be trained and approved by the University of St Mark & St John. This is a particularly flexible delivery model and is designed to enable participants to combine study with their work commitments, whilst also offering enhanced learning opportunities with/alongside others.
Practice-based learning is central to the programme and this is integrated throughout the programme. Employers are central to students’ learning and professional development and commit to ensuring a work-based (learning) supervisor/mentor is in place (who assists the student in their task of relating and integrating theory and practice); work-based supervisors/mentors provide a minimum of 3 hours dedicated time per 20 credit module for this purpose.
A wide range of assessment methods are used on the programme in recognition of the impact assessment has on student learning and approaches to learning. These include for example: essays; presentations; reflective learning accounts; research journal/proposal; structured assignments; reports; case studies; reflective analysis and self-assessment.
Induction (1 day) - Friday 21st September 2012
Work-based learning workshops (full days) - 27th September 2012, 18th January 2013, 24th May 2013
Taught Module Teaching Dates (full days / 2 modules per day):
Semester A - 5th October 2012, 19th October 2012, 2nd November 2012, 16th November 2012, 30th November 2012, 14th December 2012
Semester B - 15th February 2013, 1st March 2013, 15th March 2013, 12th April 2013, 26th April 2013, 10th May 2013
Dates for Supervisors 2012/13
Training for Supervisors Thursday 13th and Friday 14th September 2012
Supervisors' Review Meeting Friday 8th February 2013
The supervisor training is run over two days. It is offered free to all supervisors and mentors providing support to University of St Mark & St John students, on a variety of programmes in the Department of Children, Young People and Communities, including Youth and Community Work, EYPS Mentors, and those supervising students on one of our work-based Foundation degrees.
The training can, simply, be accessed as training. However, accreditation is also available - the training supervisors undertake comprises module MPPM07 entitled Supervision and Mentoring: transforming or conforming practice? This is the first (30-credit) module on MA Professional Practice: Critical Issues for Practice Development. Further information on this programme can be found on our course pages by following this link.
Participants on the supervisor training course are provided with details of how to access the accredited option during the two day training. (If you pursue accreditation for the module there is a tutorial and assessment fee of £120 - the full module normally has a fee of over £700. In this way, if you are able to take up the accredited option, you obviously get a head start on a Masters programme.)
Fees and Funding
Recognising the extensive work-based learning element of the course and therefore the reduced time spent on-campus, the fee is very competitive and lower than standard Foundation degrees. The fee for 2013/14 is £5025 for full time students.
There might be funding available if you are in a PVI setting in Plymouth. Please follow the link below to see if you might be eligble: http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/glf_guidance_140512.pdf
The staff team is multi-disciplinary and have a range of practice backgrounds in social work, youth work, early years, formal education, counselling/therapy, community work, mental health, and the NHS.
If you would like to discuss, or ask questions about, this programme, please contact Chris Simpson, Programme Leader, firstname.lastname@example.org. We also welcome discussion with employers/organisations who might like to look at the opportunities for CPD for staff teams that this programme might afford.
It is intended that the course will enhance career opportunities in the Early Years sector. Successful graduation from the programme will demonstrate to employers a commitment to improving practice across the sector. On successful completion of the Foundation Degree the majority of students progress to top-up their degree to BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with EYTS. Students on the Foundation Degree come from a variety of Early Years backgrounds such as childminders, preschools, full-daycare, children’s centres and inclusion services. The programme offers opportunities to extend your knowledge and experience as well as great opportunities for networking. A number of students have gained posts of greater responsibility with some moving into different roles in Children’s Services.