If you do not have formal qualifications and wish to study locally for a university degree, this pathway is for you. The first two years are taught at a local college enabling you to gain the skills and confidence to prepare you for the final two years here at the University.
This offers you the chance to combine your study with work and family commitments. You might be an early years educator, parent, grandparent or health worker, or simply wish to extend your knowledge and understanding about Early Childhood. Our foundation degree helps you to develop a range of academic, professional and key skills. If you wish to take your study further, the degree will also offer you a preparation towards an honours degree and is an important pathway to the BA (Hons) Early Childhood.
A flexible programme, enabling you to study at your own pace (up to 10 years). There are a number of evening modules but you will need to be able to study daytime too if you wish to choose from the full range of modules on offer. We welcome your application whatever your background and experience. There are a range of subjects you can study as a part-time degree:
*daytime study only
Study alongside work, with one day per week studying. Throughout your degree, you'll be employed by your current employer working as an apprentice social worker. Applications are made via your employer.
Funding your studies
To find out more about the funding available for each course, have a look at the University of Warwick funding information pages and, for part-time and foundation degrees, watch our funding video below.
Jon started studying BA (Hons) Health and Social Policy on our 2+2 Degree Pathway with Partner College, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College in 2014. Graduating last year from the Centre for Lifelong Learning, Jon was offered a scholarship to study a Masters in Social Research and has recently been offered a funded PhD.
We caught up with Jon to see how he is feeling about his recent PhD offer.
CLL: Congratulations on your recent PhD offer, can you go into more detail with what you'll be studying?
Jon: "The research will be a collaborative piece of work between the Institute for Employment Research (IER) at Warwick and the Living Wage Foundation. The aim will be to discover what makes 'good work' for people on low wages and precarious hours – effectively zero hour contracts (or very low hours contracted) and minimum wage.
The Living Wage Foundation currently say a living wage outside London for full time work should be £9per hour.
The work, I think will be to try and help employers understand why it is beneficial for them to offer a living wage."
CLL: Where did you find your interest in the subject?
Jon: "It was in the second year I got the bug for research and the module on widening participation during my third year really got me interested in inequality, although this was just a continuation of the Health and Social Policy taught in years 1 and 2. The subject matter was different but the many evels of inequality and the reasons people end up being disadvantaged really opened my eyes. Another module which demonstrated the inequalities and obvious greed of industry was Food- Critical Perspectives.
CLL: Did you always set out to study a PhD?
Jon: "During my final year on the 2+2 I decided I wanted to work either in research or for a third sector employer- failing that as a researcher in government. Many of the job vacancies wanted skills I did not have which was why I decided to do the MA in Social Research – it would plug the gaps in my knowledge. I had thought about a PhD but my plan was to focus on my MA, then take the following year to work out what I wanted to do, however we received an email across the department for the PhD Studentship. It ticked all my boxes, working on research, with a third sector charity and gaining a qualification. I really did not expect to even get an interview but I did and was offered the role. No one was more surprised than I was."
CLL: When you started studying at Warwick, did you imagine you would be where you are now?
Jon: "No a PhD was never on the agenda – my goal was to get a degree and figure out what I wanted to do next as I knew what I had been doing was not right for me. Immediately before starting I was not working – but previously I had worked in sales, as a retail manager for Somerfield and also at McDonalds."
CLL: What are the benefits of returning to education as an adult?
Jon: "For me, I found it was useful to have life experience; this was particularly noticeable when I did a politics module with traditional age students, they frankly had no experience at all! Right or wrong they had no idea just how divisive the Miners' Strike and Thatcher had been."
CLL: What do you hope to achieve from studying your PhD?
Jon: "At this point I have no idea, it might be that I have had enough of research or it might be that I really enjoy it. I would like to get some experience teaching during the course so who knows where this will go."
CLL: What have you enjoyed most about studying?
Jon: "I really enjoyed working on a project in my second year which was a policy report on Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988. Even now I will read something which is at odds with work I read for the project- different perspectives and different views. This sort of knowledge never leaves you- I have been able to use some of it in a module this year."
CLL: Have you took part in any extra activities with the University?
Jon: "I work as a student ambassador for CLL as well as the Warwick Welcome Service. I also worked as a library steward during term time. The other piece of work I did was as a digital skills mentor for CLL, the highlight was getting unsolicited hugs one sunny day from two of the people I had helped. I will continue to do this as long as they will have me."
About the blogger
There has been a lot of support offered to me during my PGDE year, which has helped me when supporting my students in classes. The weekly sessions at the University are an excellent opportunity to get together with other trainees in similar circumstances to my own and share thoughts. This has been very comforting (the realisation that I am not alone helps) and has given me the confidence to try out new things in lessons. As part of this process, the presence, availability and experience of course tutors/lecturers is also a great benefit.
At the college, the weekly mentor-mentee meetings have been very useful in helping me to systematically address issues that arise in the classroom. Recently, the college also scheduled workshops which are open to all GCSE learners. With revision being high on the agenda of most learners, this has been very helpful too.
Of course, there have been some challenges along the way too. No job is without one! At the beginning of my first term of teaching practice, I found several issues with learners ignoring me and not paying attention at crucial points in the lesson despite my best attempts to persuade them otherwise. In the end, following some guidance and support from my tutor at University, I learnt that just standing at the front of the class in silence and refusing to proceed with the teaching until I had the full attention of the class fixed this problem. After about a term of teaching, I was hit by a more practical realisation. This being, that if a teacher has a professional, positive and meaningful relationship with their learners, then the learners are less likely to misbehave in lessons. Also, with such an approach, issues such as lateness and attendance can be circumvented, which are known to have a significant impact on achievement.
Second chance sector
Even though criteria based achievement is an important aspect of education, in general, FE can be much more focussed on the personal progress that a learner makes. In comparison to other sectors (Primary, Secondary, and HE), FE is arguably the only second-chance sector! For example at the end of a trigonometry lesson, I was approached by a female learner in her late forties. She said, 'I have seen SOHCAHTOA many times before but have only just understood it today.' This was definitely a light bulb moment – knowing I had helped and supported this student in gaining that understanding and achievement. I'm also really looking forward to seeing the learners achieve the elusive Grade 4 on results day.
Advice for new PGDE students
The one piece of advice I will give a trainee starting the PGDE programme next year would be to really invest in reflective practice. Ultimately, teaching is about what you do in the classroom with learners. And if you are not prepared to reflect on your actions and experiences in the classroom, you are not going to grow. Engaging with the professional development portfolio from the very beginning of the programme would be beneficial for your teaching practice. The portfolio is a very comprehensive document, and it is clear that lots of thought and evidence-based research has gone into its design. Indeed, reflective practice is very deeply embedded in the portfolio. You should use it from day one!
About the Blogger
Our Trainee Mathematics Teacher, Harsh is training to teach on the PGDE (FE and Skills) course.
I teach two groups of GCSE maths learners. One of the groups is an evening class consisting of adults while the other is a morning class consisting of cross-college learners in the age range of 16 – 19 years.
In terms of ability, the adult class is very diverse and therefore harder, yet more enjoyable, to teach. There are no behaviours issues with this group. A significant minority of learners in the evening class are on one of the many (distinct) Access Programmes at the college, meaning that they will be going to university in the next academic year. Of those going to university, some will be pursuing disciplines academic such as mechanical engineering while others will be pursuing vocations such as nursing or occupational health.
In light of the above information, together with the fact that most learners are in full-time employment (and so attend college on a part-time basis), are ethnically diverse, and span all ages between 20 and 58, you can imagine the excellent experience I am acquiring as a trainee teacher in supporting this group!
On the other hand, the class of 16 – 19 year-olds are of very similar ability. There have been some behaviour management issues in the past; however, these have decreased in number as my relationship with the learners has flourished and my skills as a teacher have improved. This group adds a very good balance to my teaching timetable, allowing me to develop skills which are somewhat different to the set of skills required in supporting the adult group.
Other differences include their working formats and behaviours. Generally, the adults prefer to work on paper whereas the younger learners prefer to have a real variety of activities and tasks.
Even though criteria based achievement is an important aspect of education, in general, FE can be much more focussed on the personal progress that a learner makes. In comparison to other sectors (Primary, Secondary, and HE), FE is arguably the only second-chance sector!
About the Blogger
Our Trainee Mathematics Teacher, Harsh is training to teach on the PGDE (FE and Skills) course.
Having taught in both secondary schools and sixth forms, I have found the sixth form sector to be the most challenging for the students.
This can be a very crucial point in their education, a time which can influence their future career.
I choose FE for two reasons; one is my passion for Psychology, but also because the students at this level have a passion for their subject and have chosen to stay on to progress this. Specifically, I have really enjoyed teaching my students about mental health disorders, it's something very relevant to day to day experiences of individuals within society, a topic that in many cultures may not be acknowledged.
Reflecting on my PGDE year so far, I would say I have enjoyed both my placement and my time at university. The students I work with are very ambitious and passionate about their studies and thus it has been an enjoyable experience. University has allowed a balance between both placement and theory and allows us to share our experiences with others on the course and seek advice from our tutors.
FE is a really practical environment which focuses on active learning to keep students engaged. Lessons must be adapted to encourage this engagement, be relatable to their future career paths and also stretch the students to reach their full potential. A good lesson is one which not only teaches a student the subject but also encourages them to utilise and gain skills which are applicable to working environments.
After finishing my teacher’s training year, I hope to find a job in a college or sixth form teaching Psychology.
About the Blogger
Our Trainee Psychology Teacher, Rakeya is training to teach on the PGDE (FE and Skills) course
My NQT year is going really well…I am currently teaching at a creative college in the East Midlands, which I started in January. I had worked and taught in schools (primary and secondary) previously before starting the PGDE and my only regret is not considering going into FE sooner!
Reflecting on Warwick…
I regularly reflect on how incredibly grateful I am to have successfully completed my PGDE at Warwick, and have a job in an organisation that is conducive with my laid back and humorous personality. From an organisational perspective, my colleagues have been really welcoming, and my line manager and head of the curriculum have been really supportive. This has helped me settle into the role smoothly, despite some of the challenges that come with being an NQT and new tutor.
No day is the same! This can be both a great thing in terms of not having a mundane, ‘here we go again’ experience, but not so great in terms of having to rearrange your marking or lunchtime during teaching gaps when unpredictable things happen.
There are elements that I expected such as; having fun teaching and engaging with students, dealing with minor behavioural issues, having to revert to back up plans on the odd occasions when equipment has malfunctioned etc. However, I did not expect there to be as much admin to the role, which is often related to the unexpected.
In some respects, our placements were similar to what it would be like teaching in my current role, however, I have found a difference in how each organisation runs its courses and the sizes of the organisation can also make a difference. During my placement, I only taught one class of 16-17 students. I now teach three separate classes, so that took some getting used too!
There were moments on the PGDE I felt like giving up, (although I would not have), just because at times there was so much to do, and I struggled with balancing studies with other commitments. But successfully finishing the PGDE felt amazing and I am confident I made the right choice with choosing Warwick over other providers.
Tips for PGDE students:
- Try to learn students names as soon as possible (I used the register and other methods to help with this)
- Develop ‘the look’ – this can be enough
- Talk to students directly when challenging behaviours as opposed to talking across the room
- Move around the room often, sometimes without saying anything to encourage students to remain on task
- Use a mixture of electronic and tangible resources in lessons to ensure variety
- Find creative ways to develop resources that are visually engaging
About the Blogger
Denise is a graduate of our PGDE (FE and Skills) A Teachers Training course for those wishing to work in the for Further Education and Skills sector, which we run at the Centre for Lifelong Learning.
Read her blog from her PGDE year, “I am even considering working abroad”.