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Teaching Excellence Framework 2023 - Gold Award

BA (Hons) Early Childhood

Make a difference to the lives of young children. Learn how to support child development and education and gain a Level 6 Early Years qualification. BA (Hons) Early Childhood prepares you for a career working with young children in many sectors including education and health. *Please note this course is open for direct transfers onto the second or third years only, no first year applications will be accepted*

Teacher with young students in classroom

Work placements in every year of the course

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Entry requirements

Three A-levels at grades CCC or above

Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above

Or Access 23-45 D/M with min 6D

Or T level P (C+)

And GCSE English Language at grade 4 or grade C or above

We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and students. All students are expected to share this commitment and demonstrate consistently high standards of personal and professional conduct.

Students with an appropriate Level 5 qualification, such as a foundation degree, are invited to apply for entry to year three of the course

UCAS code CHS1

UCAS institution code P63

Duration Three years full-time or up to six years part-time

Any questions?

Contact Charley Lumley, our Applicant Support Coordinator, if you have any questions. Email and Charley will get back to you.

Course Summary

BA (Hons) Early Childhood is designed for those who want to develop their career working with younger children, and gain skills and knowledge around early childhood. You’ll understand the steps children take on their learning and developmental journey, and learn how to support them along the way.

You'll focus on how children develop language and child psychology, as well as a broader understanding of educational policy and practice. You’ll take part in work-based learning with placement opportunities, during which you’ll be encouraged to be critically reflective of your own work, as well as observing the practice of other professionals.

On completion you'll gain certification of Graduate Practitioner Competencies at Level 6, which is supported by the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN) and recognised by the Department for Education’s Career Progression for the Early Years Workforce. This will qualify you to work as an Early Years Educator and you'll develop a portfolio of evidence of your skills and practice at Level 6 to present to Early Years employers. 

BA (Hons) Early Childhood provides a clear pathway to postgraduate study and to Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) such as a one year fully funded PG Diploma in Early Years with Initial Teacher Training. Or you may progress to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or social work or youth work training.

Why this course at Marjon?

Experiment with different styles of working with children in a variety of settings

Gain certification in Early Years with your skills recognised at Level 6

Follow this degree with Postgraduate Early Years Initial Teacher Training with Early Years Teacher Status (EYITT), also available at Marjon (and currently fully funded)

Learn from highly knowledgeable tutors who are passionate about quality early years education and care

Develop a portfolio of evidence of your skills and practice at Level 6 to present to Early Years employers

Prepares you to progress into leadership roles in Early Years

Modules for this course

Course Snapshot

Through this course you will qualify as an Early Years Educator. You'll gain plenty of experience working with children, and understand the theories behind your work. You'll be well placed to go into postgraduate study to gain Early Years Teacher Status.
Jayne Garcia - Course Leader

1st Year

An introduction to education
We'll introduce you to the big themes and ideas in education today – schools, learning, the curriculum, the influence of politics; this is the crucial foundation for your studies. You'll engage in thought-provoking debates, share your thinking and learn academic skills.
Creative and inclusive practice
You'll study two of the key themes in education today, creativity and inclusion. Through practical projects, you'll reflect on your own opinions about these important ideas and how practitioners can develop a learning environment.
Communication and language
How do humans develop communication and language skills? What part does socialisation play in developing our communication skills? We'll explore how practitioners can support children and broaden their language skills in arrange of fun and playful ways.
Child development
How do children develop and learn? What are some of the key factors in their acquisition of language? Why do children play? We'll explore these questions and many more as you delve into the critical years of child development.
Play, holistic development and the Early Years Foundation Stage
You'll explore the ways in which children learn, the important role that play has in supporting children to develop and thrive and the types and stages of play. In addition you'll explore the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and the implications for young children and practice within early years settings and schools.
Work based learning in the early years 1
This is an opportunity to get stuck into practice and test out some of the theory you have been learning. We'll work with you to identify a suitable early years setting to support you in developing your skills in the care and education of children. A deep and guided reflection will enable you to grow as a practitioner.

2nd Year

Work based learning in the early years 2
Build on your previous experience in a work based learning environment, this time undertaking a placement in a different early years setting. You'll develop your skills in observing children and in planning ways to support their learning and development.
Creativity in the outdoors
We out outside to consider the value of outdoor education for primary children. You'll explore the theory and the practice of creativity in the outdoors, from woodlands to beach settings, learning how the outdoors be used as a vehicle for development and learning.
Safeguarding and child protection in the early years
An essential part of all roles which support children is a sound understanding of the ways in which professionals can ensure the safety and wellbeing of children. You'll learn about safeguarding, child protection and interprofessional practice, alongside consideration of statutory requirements and the evolution of safeguarding within the Early years.
Educational research
We'll equip you with knowledge and understanding about research design and process. You'll begin thinking about yourself as a researcher, planning and developing ideas. You'll begin to investigate an area of interest to you and submit a research proposal for your third year.
Childhoods in a globalised world
Explore how childhoods differ depending on where you live in the world. We'll consider approaches to raising and educating children, as well as the value placed on childhood. You'll learn about issues affecting children in an increasing globalised world, from how migration of children impacts educational settings to children in the digital age.
Learning & teaching
Learning is undoubtedly a complicated and controversial idea and we'll unpick some of the issues connected to broad aspects of learning. What is resilience? How do children develop this? Can it be taught? How do children become independent in their learning?

3rd Year

Work based learning in the early years 3
Building on your second year placement, engage in further professional development in a school or other early years setting. This is your chance to consider elements of practice fully, and to reflect on what is happening and why, applying critical theoretical perspectives to the issues you see and experiences you have.
Leadership and quality in the early years
We live in a world where performance is measured and this is as true of educational contexts as it is of the world of business. But how do we manage these pressures as professionals working with young people, and how do we make the most of complex systems which can be challenging to operate in? How might we assess the effectiveness of our provision, as well as ensuring we are striving to enhance our own practice to best support the children we work with?
Supporting children and young people
Children and young people need to be supported in myriad ways. Whether it is a special educational need, issue related to child protection, or a medical condition, teachers and practitioners are on the front line. You'll learn about supporting children, young people and their families day in day out, considering the principles and practices involved.
Rethinking Education through Critical Pedagogy
Apply your knowledge regarding disability and special educational needs provision to a number of situations you might encounter when working with young children with SEND.
Research project
You'll engage in primary research, collecting and analysing data under the close supervision of a tutor. This module encourages autonomy and independence, and gives you scope to develop your research skillset.

This course is perfect if you’re curious about

How do children develop? Which skills do they learn first?

Why do some children learn faster than others, and at what stage do we need to intervene?

How important is play to children's development? Do young children develop better in nursery or at home?

How does our knowledge of psychology affect the way we should work with children?

How does childhood differ around the world? What can we learn from how other cultures treat children, socially and politically?

How might you support a child with a mental health condition?

What might you become?

You will qualify to work in the Early Years Sector as an Early Years Educator. You can also progress on to early years or primary teaching through a postgraduate qualification (usually PG Diploma with EYITT, PGCE or School Direct).

Other opportunities include community education, integrated services, children’s workforce professionals, care services and social work. Students can also progress to postgraduate psychology courses should they wish to move into the area of child psychology.


ECSDN logo

Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN)

ECSDN manage the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies in consultation with students, higher education institutions, and employers, with an aim of ‘strengthening a graduate-led Early Childhood workforce that is responsive to workforce needs and improves outcomes for children.

How you’ll be taught and assessed?

How will you be taught?

Teaching includes lectures, seminars, workshops, placements, visits to local settings and masterclasses.

How will you be assessed?

Assessments include poster presentations, the making of artefacts, essays and blogs.

Staff image of Hannah Holdgate

Hannah Holdgate

Course leader

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Hannah is a former SureStart Children's Centre Manager, Nursery Manager and Early Years Professional, assessor and mentor. She is particularly interested in Early Years, Play, Inclusion and Leadership.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum

Fees for International students: £14,500 per annum

This fee covers your tuition and access to course-specific equipment and facilities, as well associated services including access to the library, study skills support, IT support, student support and wellbeing services and membership of the Student Union. There may be additional costs by course.

Funding available for this course

Our Student Funding Advisors offer confidential and impartial advice about your funding options.

Learn more


Jan Gourd

Senior Lecturer

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Jan was previously a primary head teacher in the South West and she now leads a teaching team at Marjon who together draw on decades of classroom experience and wide-ranging research specialisms to deliver Education courses.

Dr Jonathan Harvey

Senior Lecturer

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Jonathan's specialist area is disability studies. He is interested in viewing disability and impairment in terms of the way they impact on inclusion and much of his work is concerned with how social theory can be used to make sense of the lives of disabled people. Jonathan has an acquired brain injury so his work is influenced by direct experience of disability.

Hannah Holdgate

Senior Lecturer

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Hannah is a former SureStart Children's Centre Manager, Nursery Manager and Early Years Professional, assessor and mentor. She is particularly interested in Early Years, Play, Inclusion and Leadership.

Miles Smith

Associate Dean of Education

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Miles has more than twenty years of experience teaching, including to adults and children. An experienced English Language and Primary School teacher, Miles is also a postgraduate researcher of children's curriculum experience. 

More information

The Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies broaden a graduate’s learning to make them more rounded practitioners. The Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies are: 

  • Advocating for young children’s rights and participation
  • Promote holistic child development
  • Work directly with young children, families, and colleagues to promote health, well-being, safety, and nurturing care
  • Observe, listen, and plan for young children to support their well-being, early learning, progression, and transitions
  • Safeguarding and child protection
  • Inclusive practice
  • Partnership with parents and caregivers
  • Collaborating with others
  • Professional development

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