Please read our student and staff community guidance on COVID-19
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Homepage accordion contents


Course overview


Our Early Childhood programme offers you the chance to combine your study with work and family commitments. You might be an early years educator, a parent, a grandparent or a health worker, or simply wish to build on your relevant experience in a professional, personal or voluntary context. The degree is designed to support people who are new to university study.

The Foundation Degree:
  • Combines academic rigour with professional practice
  • Promotes key and transferable skills, e.g. leadership, communication
  • Prepares for career progression and is a route to further study
  • Builds on prior experience and learning
  • Runs on one evening per week and two Saturdays per term

Following the Foundation Degree, students can progress to the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Degree. This degree offers optional modules in the third year, which allows you to choose a named award in your study choices:

  • BA Early Childhood
  • BA Early Childhood (Teaching, Learning and Assessment)
  • BA Early Childhood (Leadership)
  • BA Early Childhood (Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disability)

For more information on the programme structure of this course, please see our Programme Details page.


Entry requirements


  • NVQ Level 3 or prior academic/vocational study and experience is an advantage
  • GCSE grade C in English and maths is a distinct advantage
  • A willingness to gain substantial and broad experience in one or more Early Years contexts, either as a volunteer or employee

On the course, you will need to complete 150 hours practice, paid or voluntary, in a suitable early years setting (birth to 8)


Who is the programme for?


The programme if for people working in private or public contexts with responsibility for young children and families, including

  • Early years practitioners in childminder, private, voluntary and independent settings
  • Teaching and learning support assistants, classroom assistants and early years educators working in schools and other educational settings
  • Health workers, parents and grandparents involved in supporting children's learning, welfare and development


How does it work?


Part-time, modular structure linking theory and practice

  • Core and optional modules
  • Flexible delivery methods including seminars, workshops, professional tasks, lectures and online learning opportunities
  • A commitment to attending one (evening / twilight) session per week and two Saturdays per term in the first year
  • A commitment to gaining substantial and broad experience in one or more Early Years contexts, either as a volunteer or employee
  • A Certificate in Early Childhood may be awarded (FHEQ Level 4) for those who do not choose to progress to FHEQ Level 5
  • The Foundation qualification is at FHEQ Level 5 and provides an opportunity to progress to our BA (Hons) Early Childhood

There are a variety of assessments and these may include coursework assignments, presentations and research projects. You can expect to commit to around 10 hours a week for each module you take which includes contact time and independent study. You study three modules in year one, three in year two and two in year three of the Foundation Degree. You then do a further 30 credit module in the summer of the third year if you are progressing to the BA and 90 credits in the fourth and final year.

As you may work full or part-time, the taught sessions take place at a time to suit normal working hours so that your time with us on the course can align with your day-to-day job and working commitments.


What are the benefits for me?


  • Achieve a University of Warwick degree
  • Gain knowledge and understanding of early childhood
  • Build up your confidence as a scholar and professional
  • Progress to an Honours degree
  • This is a recognised programme approved by the Sector Endorsed Foundation Degree in Early Years
  • Opportunities to progress in your careers during and beyond the course, with your study with us opening up a number of avenues for future career development in areas such as:
    • Teacher training
    • Family support worker and other roles within local authorities
    • Engaging with Non-government organisations such as the NSPCC and international charities
    • Progression within Early Years settings
    • Opportunities within the NHS
    • Further studies in Early Childhood at postgraduate level

It is important to note that some of these may require further training/qualifications, of which course tutors and the dedicated careers team can support you with.


How to apply


Fees and funding


Tuition fees for Home/EU Students in 2020-21 are as follows:

£4,620 (90 credits)

See Student fees and funding for more information and view potential additional fees. You can also download a copy of fee information for 2020-21.

The University of Warwick is not currently sponsoring students on part time or distance learning courses with a Tier 4 visa and so if you require a visa to study a part time/distance learning course in the UK which is longer than 6 months, you may wish to consult the 'right to study' page on our Student Immigration & Compliance website: before you make an application.


Location and times


We offer the course at The University of Warwick (Tile Hill, Coventry) and at our partner college, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (Nuneaton).

The course taught will be taught on Monday evenings at the University and Tuesday afternoons at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College.

All students will attend a number of Saturday sessions each year at the University of Warwick.

For 20/21 - our Saturday teaching days at Warwick are as follows:

  • 3 October 2020 (Including induction),

  • 28 November 2020

  • 6 February 2021
  • 13 March 2021

  • 15 May 2021

  • 5 June 2021


Further information


The closing date for applications for this course Sunday 13 September 2020 at midnight. The course will start week commencing 3 October 2020 with an induction event for all students on Saturday 3 October at the University of Warwick.

*The modules mentioned above may be subject to change. Please read our terms and conditions for more detailed information.



Why would I want to use this service?


There is no mandate or requirement to use the service, it is entirely voluntary.

The University is a large complex organisation, and not every idea originator has the time, access or skills necessary to take a raw idea and progress it through the various stakeholder groups. The Innovation Support service can help with that process.



Will you definitely help get my idea launched/accepted?


The Innovation Support service does not guarantee every idea will be implemented – in fact, the majority will not make it through to final implementation.

Most ideas make complete sense when considered in isolation, but often cannot take account of the complexities and practicalities of the full environment. Many ideas cannot overcome the challenges of real-world practicalities.

The Innovation Support service cannot guarantee every idea is accepted or implemented – however it can guarantee that ideas that generate sufficient positive support are fully considered and tested against realities. It will also attempt to develop ideas to overcome any obstacles identified. It cannot guarantee implementation, but it can guarantee full consideration.



What modules can I take?


First year

Foundations for Learning:

You will explore a range of concepts, strategies and resources to support the development of your academic study and writing skills. Accompanying this will be specific attention to the ways in which the universal art of storytelling can enhance human learning and development irrespective of age, language or socio-cultural factors.

Contemporary perspectives in early childhood:

By exploring contemporary perspectives in early childhood you are encouraged to question taken-for-granted ways of working and speaking about the discipline. Throughout this module, diverse values, views and cultural perspectives, resonate in order to challenge your own standpoint on aspects of early childhood education and care.

How children learn and develop from birth:

Theories about child development and learning from birth, including recent theories drawn from other disciplines such as sociology, psychology and medicine are introduced with the intention of supporting you to start to recognise the inter-relationship between aspects of child development theories and practice in a range of early childhood contexts.

Second year

Policy into practice in Early Childhood

The relationship between what we want for children as practitioners, parents and as a nation are examined through global and national policy drivers, legislation and the pedagogy and policies created for them and their families. You will be invited to reflect upon your own practice and experiences and consider approaches that keep children at the centre of our vision for the future.

Researching Early Childhood

This module enables you to develop the skills needed to critically understand the process of conducting and reviewing research. Journal and research articles are explored to examine the design and decision making process associated with conducting ‘high quality’ investigations.

Safety and Risk in Early Learning Spaces

To explore the notion of safety and risk for a child in the 21st century, we consider different perspectives and investigate how this concept is interpreted by parents and practitioners and the influences that have an impact on their behaviour as carers.

Final year

Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disability in Early Childhood – core module

By exploring the meaning, history and context of the term ‘inclusion’, this module considers the dilemmas and tensions associated with inclusive practice in early childhood. Critically reviewing government policy, frameworks, and guidance in relation to inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) enables you to reflect upon the roles and responsibilities of the practitioner in identifying and supporting children with a variety of needs.

Leadership in early childhood contexts – optional module

In this module you will critically explore big questions about leadership and management in contemporary Early Years and Educational contexts, whilst examining policy frameworks that inform leadership and management.

Teaching, learning and assessment in early childhood – optional module

The focus of this module is that through a developed understanding of how young children learn, you as a practitioner will critically explore methods of facilitating learning and the use of assessment to inform and guide stakeholders, such as; parents, carers, other professionals, to ultimately, empower children.