FdA Early YearsX900

    Course Overview

    Duration: 2 years full-time or 4 years part-time.
  • Earn while you learn with our Early Years foundation degree, developed to support you in your career development while equipping you with new knowledge and perspectives. You'll develop a theoretical understanding of how 0-5 year olds behave, develop and learn, using your experience as a starting point. You'll gain the insight to have positive impact on the children and families you work with.

    This is a work based learning foundation degree designed for practitioners who are working in an Early Years setting, whether paid or unpaid. You'll attend University for 23 days per year, generally on Fridays, giving you a blend of study and social that you don't get from all foundation degrees. You'll also progress through additional study materials in your on time. Students benefit from getting to know others working in a wide range of settings and expand their professional networks, often advancing their careers whilst studying with us.



    You’ll receive ample support in line with your employment ambitions, with the work-based learning element making up one third of your qualification. You'll also have full access to all our facilities, both on campus and via the internet. When you’ve completed the two-year course, you’ll be offered the option of a top-up one-year course to gain your honours degree.

    The course focuses on developing your personal understanding of the ethical, social and economic factors in early years education. You’ll be able to put this theory into practice at work, all the while mixing with like-minded professionals through your studies. The result is a richer, deeper understanding of your sector as a whole, and better critical reflection and analysis on your own professional capacity. From start to finish, you’ll be challenged and inspired in equal measure.

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All modules are compulsory:

1st Year
  • Bio-psycho-social development in children and young people
  • Safeguarding children and young people
  • Reflective and professional practice 1
  • Engaging with learning
  • Learning and teaching
  • Policy and practice
2nd Year
  • Global childhoods
  • Creative pedagogies
  • Reflective and professional practice 2
  • Diversity in learning
  • Research in practice
  • Reflective and professional practice 3

Entry Requirements & Fees

Career Opportunities

A number of foundation degree graduates have continued their studies at the University of St Mark and St John, taking a 'top up' Honours degree with some gaining First Class Honours, or embarking on a Masters of Education programme with us. Many students use their Honours degree to move into Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT). We offer a funded programme of EYITT combined with a Postgraduate Diploma which provides credits towards a Masters degree.

Above all, our Foundation Degree students are proud to be able have a greater positive impact on the lives of children and families, and to be able to make significant contributions to improving practice in their work settings.


ALUMNI OF FdA Early Years

Course Leader

Because of the diverse nature of early years education, we’ve put together a multidisciplinary team to lead the FdA course. Whatever your focus, you’ll have direct access to professional practitioners who possess years of real-world experience and specialist research. The course is led by Chris Simpson, a senior lecturer, and fellow of the Higher Education Academy


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    This is a 2-year course. The first year begins with a 2-day induction. You’ll then attend university each fortnight (currently on Fridays) for a full day of teaching. This amounts to around 19 teaching days in the academic year from September through to May. You will also need to study at home, using the internet to access course materials.

    In addition to the taught part of the course, you will be involved in work-based learning modules throughout the 2 years; these enable you to make ‘practice’ links with the ideas explored in taught modules. You’ll attend work-based learning workshops which take place at university (typically 3 days per year) and produce written assignments showing how theory gives you insights into practice. Your workplace will need to support you in terms of allowing you to attend the course and by providing a ‘supervisor’ (usually someone with a degree or professional qualification) who will meet with you for an hour every 2/3 weeks - during which time you’ll explore how your learning relates to practice at work.