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Course Code: FPZEYN11

Course Level: Level 5

Study Mode: Part-Time

Course Type: Higher Education

Awarded by


Course overview

For individuals passionate about working with young children, students delve into topics such as child development, educational psychology and early years curriculum planning. 

With a focus on early childhood education and care, graduates are equipped to pursue careers as early years educators, nursery managers, or child development specialists, making a positive impact on the lives of young children and their families.

Awarded by Staffordshire University, the Foundation Degree in Education (Early Childhood Studies) is taught by experienced industry professionals, and will provide you with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the development and holistic nature of learning and supporting within early years through work-based/college learning. You will also develop your independent thinking and understand the importance of collective group working.

Learners studying the Foundation Degree are generally already working in a early years or foundation stage environment and who are looking to develop a deeper understanding of education and pursue a higher position within the sector.

Work-based reflection is a significant part of the course and it’s assessment and throughout you studies, you will have the opportunity to observe fellow professionals, create resources to support learning and complete work placement research.

You will attend college one session per week; this is likely to be one afternoon or one evening. In addition, you will be required to undertake some study outside the classroom and attend occasional tutorials at times to fit around work commitments. In the third year the course will finish towards Easter.

Over the two and a half years, you will study specialist units that could include:

Level 4 modules

  • Personal and Professional Development (20 credits)
  • Learning and Holistic Development (40 credits)
  • Safeguarding and Developing Educational Practice (40 credits)
  • Supporting Learning and Inclusion (20 credits)

Level 5 modules

  • Professionalism and Career Development - ECS Focus (20 credits)
  • Planning for Learning (40 credits)
  • Work with Young Children - Guided Research in Early Childhood Studies (40 credits)
  • Leadership and Team Working (20 credits)

All applicants are individually interviewed and assessed on their qualifications, skills and experience. However, you would normally need to given evidence of:

  • Demonstration of a clear Enhanced DBS check which confirms that there are no reasons why a candidate should not work with children.
  • Be in employment (either paid or voluntary) within an early years setting or foundation stage for at least four hours a week
  • A relevant Level 3 early years/childcare qualification equivalent to 64 UCAS points.
  • GCSE qualifications in English and maths or demonstration of a level 2 competence.

If English is not your first language you will be expected to have achieved an IELTS score of 6.0 or above.

* Eligibility to be counted in the EYFS staff:child ratios at Level 3 requires you to hold a relevant EY Level 3 qualification, which should be gained prior to studying this pathway.

You will be assessed mainly through course work; which is presented in a variety of styles which include essays, reports, presentations, and evaluated activity plans. You will be expected to relate your learning to your practice whenever possible. Work-based reflection and development forms a major part of the overall course content and assessment. Throughout the course, you will therefore engage in:

  • Work-based tasks
  • Creation of resources to support learning
  • Reflection on organisational practice and practice of professionals
  • Wider understanding of sector practice
  • Work placement research

Assessment: Your course will provide you with opportunities to test your understanding of your subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally includes practice or ‘formative’ assessments, for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark. There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. This includes a range of coursework assessments, such as essays, case studies, portfolios, presentations and a final year independent project.

Feedback: You will normally receive feedback on coursework assessments within 20 working days following the date of submission. examination feedback may take a variety of formats. However, as a minimum, generic feedback will be made available to all students who take written examinations.

Study time breakdown:

Year 1

  • 10% of time in lectures, classroom or similar
  • 78% of time in independent study
  • 12% of time in placements

Year 2

  • 10% of time in lectures, classroom or similar
  • 78% of time in independent study
  • 12% of time in placements

Year 3

  • 10% of time in lectures, classroom or similar
  • 78% of time in independent study
  • 12% of time in placements

Assessment breakdown:

Year 1

  • 20% practical exams
  • 80% coursework
  • 0% written exams

Year 2

  • 8% practical exams
  • 92% coursework
  • 0% written exams

Year 3

  • 0% practical exams
  • 100% coursework
  • 0% written exams

For more information contact Amanda Garside by emailing

After successful completion of your foundation degree you will receive a graduation ceremony and could progress onto a ‘top-up’ degree in a related subject to achieve the full BA (Hons) at university or directly to a higher level within your career such as a leader, a learning support practitioner or manager.

You may be eligible for a Tuition Fee loan. You pay this loan back when you finish the course and earn over £25,000. If you earn less than that, you won't have to repay anything. If you're earning more than that, Student Finance England will work out your repayments at 9% of your income over that amount. For more details visit

Course options

September 2024

Course Duration

30 weeks

Course Days


End date


Class Times

17:00 - 20:30

Course Fee

£4,960 per year for Years 1 & 2, £2,480 per year for Year 3

Additional Fees



What else do I need to know?

Please note there may be additional costs for books, materials or other expenses.

Applicants will need to be working/volunteering within an early years setting and a statement of support and commitment from the employer/mentor must be provided, which indicates the applicant’s potential to access and fulfil the full range of roles and responsibilities.

Applicants should have undergone an enhanced disclosure check via the Disclosure and Barring Service in respect of your current role.