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Early Childhood BA (Course Code: D-X3B9)

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Find out more about our BA (Hons) Early Childhood degree

Our part-time Early Childhood BA (Hons) degree provides a unique blend of professional practice and academic rigor. It offers a unique opportunity to bring together the components of your individual and professional identity, with your own inner wisdom and experiences of engaging with young children.

Key Features

  • Evening and Saturday sessions to fit into your schedule
  • Designed for people who are new to higher education
  • Opportunity to study towards an award that suits your aspiration

Entry Requirements

  • NVQ Level 3 or prior academic/vocational study and experience is an advantage
  • GCSE grade C or level 4 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

Free Thrive+ to help you enter the course

If you are offered a place on the course, you will automatically be welcomed onto the Thrive+ Programme and it is free to attend. Thrive+ is an interactive, online personal development programme, designed to help build your confidence, resilience and agency ahead of you starting your academic studies on this Degree. An experienced team of facilitators will support you throughout the programme.

It will help you:

  • Increase your self-awareness through understanding your own strengths and values
  • Grow your confidence through exploring boundary setting and building assertiveness
  • Feel empowered, overcome self-doubt and increase resilience
  • Push beyond your comfort zone
  • Make connections with like-minded students and start to build a community of support

Thrive+ will run online on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 18:00-21:00 for two weeks prior to the course start date. In 2024, the dates are: 17, 19, 24 and 26 September 2024.

Course Overview

The 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

Further Information

The university has developed Exit Awards in order to recognise the achievement of undergraduate students where it was not possible to award the highest qualification for which they were registered, these include CertHE and DipHE.

Graduate Practitioner Competencies accreditation

Our Early Childhood BA(Hons) degree is accredited to award Graduate Practitioner Competencies* by Early Childhood Study Degree Network. Upon graduating with BA (Hons) in Early Childhood, you can gain a full level 3 practitioner certificate that will help you progress in the Early Years sector. Having gathered an evidence portfolio based on your vocational practice, you will be qualified under the DfE to work with children in a variety of roles. Read on to find out more about Graduate Practitioner Competencies, or visit ECSDN’s webpage.

*optional qualification

The Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies aim to:

  • Align Early Childhood Degrees to practice requirements in the four nations of the UK.
  • Address the inherent challenges of different types of Early Childhood degrees and study pathways, enabling the wider workforce to be clear about individual early career graduates’ expected level of knowledge, skills, and actual experience in practice.
  • Acknowledge the different pathways that lead learners to undertake the degrees, enhance their practice experience, and enhance employability skills.
  • Ensure that Higher Education academic routes are responsive to the changing needs and training routes in early years practice, education, and the wider Children’s Services workforce.
  • Make a significant contribution to strengthening a graduate-led Early Childhood workforce that is responsive to workforce needs and improves outcomes for children.
  • Afford students with placement opportunities to critically apply theory to practice in a range of Early Childhood settings and/or schools, social care and health settings. This will enable students to develop graduate skills in the application of the inter-disciplinary Early Childhood knowledge base to reflective practice.
  • Provide new opportunities for graduates who want to strengthen their practice in Early Childhood and/or progress to post-graduate academic programmes or professional training, including Early Years Teacher (0-5), Teacher (3-11), Social Work and health professions.
Full and Relevant Criteria in England

The Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network agree that a graduate can be counted as ‘Full and Relevant’ in Early Years settings in England if:

  • They had an Early Years Educator, or equivalent Level 3 qualification before joining the degree.

Or their ECS degree is:

  • mapped onto the ECS QAA benchmark statement – which is with Warwick CLL.
  • Includes placements with:
    • academic assessment
    • practice which is observed, assessed and developed by setting mentors
    • one visit per placement by HEI staff to observe, assess and develop practice.

Note: It is the responsibility of the HEI to ensure that students have relevant assessed and observed practice that meets the Level 3 requirements. They cannot be counted as ‘Full and Relevant’ if they do not meet the criteria above. They need to undertake a relevant level 3 qualification.

Proud member of The Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network

The Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network logo

Who is the Programme for?

  • This programme offers people the chance to combine study with work and family commitments.
  • The degree is designed to support people who are new to university study.
  • It is for people who can:
    • commit to attending one evening session per week and two Saturdays per term
    • commit to gaining substantial and broad experience in one or more Early Years contexts, either as a volunteer or employee
  • It is 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

Courses you might also be interested in


  • Part-time, modular structure linking theory and practice
  • Core and optional modules
  • Flexible delivery methods including seminars, workshops, professional tasks and lectures
  • University of Warwick was recently awarded Gold in all categories of the government's latest Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) rankings.

Our TEF Gold ratings in 2023Link opens in a new window


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


Year One

    Foundations for Learning:

    This module will focus on the ways in which the universal art of storytelling can enhance a child's learning and development irrespective of age, language or socio-cultural factors. We will explore what makes a good story, we will seek to better understand the ultimate storyteller - the human brain (therefore exploring the science of storytelling) and also determine the power of story in the lives of young children at the start of their learning journey. This module will also support students to consider the responsibilities of the early childhood practitioner in providing storytelling experiences to support young children's development.

    The understanding and skills you acquire through this module are intended to help support your future studies and practice in early childhood contexts.

    Contemporary perspectives in early childhood:

    What are the beliefs and principles that shape how people educate and care for young children? What are some of the theories and assumptions that govern practice? Who speaks for children? What is childhood? Within this exciting module, you will be encouraged to question taken-for-granted ways of working in, and speaking about, early childhood. You will explore different values, theories and views, and consider our own perspectives on different aspects of early childhood education.

    You will be encouraged to read widely, discuss deeply, raise more questions than answers, and explore the meaning of different words and practices in early childhood.

    How children learn and develop from birth:

    This module focuses on learning and development from birth to eight. This is to acknowledge the importance of the very earliest experiences and the impact these have on people’s lives. Children’s development from birth to eight years of age is an exciting journey of exploration and discovery of the world around them. In this module we will explore theories of developmental psychology and sociology, and along with other disciplines such as health, wellbeing and nutrition, illustrate the interdisciplinarity of early childhood studies.

    Year Two

    Policy into practice in Early Childhood

    In this module we will be exploring the relationship between what we want for children as practitioners, parents and as a nation. We will make connections between national policy and legislation and the pedagogy and policies we offer for children and families. You will be invited to reflect on your own practice and experiences, undertake some independent research and consider approaches that keep children at the centre of our vision for the future.

    Researching Early Childhood

    This module embraces some of the skills that we already have as practitioners or those who support young children within the home, and enables you to develop these skills within the context of conducting and reviewing early childhood research. High-quality academic literature that illuminates the latest findings from early childhood research is explored, in order for you to examine the design and decision-making process associated with conducting ‘high-quality’, ethical early childhood investigations.

    Safety and Risk in Early Learning Spaces

    During this module we will explore the notion of safety and risk for a child in the 21st century. We will consider different perspectives and investigate how safety and risk is interpreted by parents and practitioners and the influences that have an impact on their behaviour as carers. Policy legislation, frameworks and guidance will be explored to investigate the challenges of safeguarding children. We will research a range of contemporary and historic judicial and serious case reviews to understand the process of safeguarding children in the UK. We will also explore international and cross cultural approaches to safe play, practice and learning spaces, to consider health and safety, risk assessments and safe use of ICT and virtual learning spaces.

    Year Three

    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

      Within this module, students develop the knowledge and skills required to become an agent of change within an Early Childhood context and beyond. This also encompasses reflection upon professional identity, ethical and collegiate practice. This module supports students to develop the knowledge and understanding of leadership and management theories and key concepts as understood within and applied to educational contexts.

      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 and other professionals, to ultimately empower children. You will be encouraged to become a reflexive practitioner through observation of, and reflection on, your experience and evaluation of your own progress. Together we will consider a range of psychological, sociological, educational, health, historical and philosophical perspectives, to assess their impact on approaches to working with babies and children.

      Year Four

      Early Childhood in a global context (30 credits)

      This module aims to examine traditional and contemporary views of childhood across cultures and societies by exploring how factors, such as socio-culture, gender and actions towards social, environmental and economic sustainability, influence early childhood care, curricula and pedagogy. We will be analysing similarities and differences in Early Childhood policy and practice between England and other nation states, considering concepts such as play, inclusion, staffing and the environment, and how these are viewed and prioritised within different international contexts.

      Research methodologies in early childhood (30 credits)

      This module is a significant stepping stone in your research journey with us. Drawing upon your own wisdom and passions relating to early childhood practice, you are supported to identify a suitable research question and to develop your methodology, some of the key components to designing research within this context. Additionally, ethical principles are a central part of this module and of our work with young children, and you are given the opportunity to explore different ethical dilemmas relating to research with young children, which supports you to begin the dissertation stage of your degree, with a particular focus on methodologies and ethical considerations.

      Early childhood investigation (60 credits)

      This module presents you with an exciting opportunity to undertake an extensive investigation into a clearly defined early childhood topic that you are passionate about. Building upon your project proposal, you will demonstrate a developed understanding of ethics to enable you to conduct your own empirical investigation in order to make recommendations for future early childhood practice (your own and workplace setting), policy and future research. It is at this point that you can work towards a named award which aligns and significantly develops your understanding of one module undertaken in year 3. Within this module, you are assigned your own Dissertation Supervisor, drawn from the Early Childhood Team, who will provide one-to-one support as you progress with your research.

      Please note
      Each module on this Degree takes account of key social and political developments and is also inspired and led by early childhood research, and ongoing feedback from our students, employers as well as external examiners. The particular content of modules may, therefore, occasionally be subject to change, in the interests of ensuring that contemporary contexts are reflected, and best practice continues to be drawn upon. Please read our terms and conditions for more detailed information.


      You have the option to specialise in a particular area to gain a named award, including a BA (Hons) in:

      • Early Childhood Teaching, Learning and Assessment,
      • Early Childhood Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disability,
      • Early Childhood Leadership, or
      • Early Childhood


      Career benefits of attending this course include:

      • Achieve a University of Warwick degree
      • Gain knowledge and understanding of early childhood
      • Build up your confidence as a scholar and professional
      • This degree is accredited with Graduate Practitioner Competencies by Early Childhood Study Degree Network. If you have opted to work towards, successfully meet the criteria, and gathered an evidence portfolio based on your vocational practice, you will be qualified under the DfE to work with children in a variety of roles. Upon graduating with BA (Hons) in Early Childhood, you gain a full level 3 practitioner certificate that will help you progress in the Early Years sector. Please refer to the Course Overview section on this page for more detail.

      • Some modules within this degree offer opportunities for you to obtain the Warwick Award, which helps you to get recognised for employability

      The Warwick Award logo

      Your study with us opens up a number of avenues* for future career development in areas such as:

      • Education: teaching, educational leadership, and management, allied services relating to Inclusion and SEN, safeguarding
      • Health: Speech and language therapy and play therapy
      • Social Justice and community engagement: Family support worker and social work
      • Academia: early childhood education, FE education, and publication
      • Arts and culture: children’s author, storyteller
      • Further studies in Early Childhood at postgraduate level

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

      Our Early Childhood students who wish to progress into teaching are supported by the Centre for Lifelong Learning and the University.

      Students are guaranteed an interview for the Early Years or Primary Core (university-led) PGCE courses delivered in the Centre for Teacher Education as long as they achieve the entry requirements of the programme.

      Fees and Funding

      Fees in 2024/25

      Tuition fees for Home Students are as follows: £4,620 (90 credits)

      Currently, the University of Warwick is not sponsoring students on part-time or distance learning courses with a Student Visa (formerly known as Tier 4 visa). Therefore, if you require a visa to study a part-time or distance learning course in the UK which is longer than six months' duration, you may wish to consult the 'right to study' page on our Student Immigration & Compliance website before you make an application.

      See PT Early Childhood 2023 entry funding information and view potential additional fees. For existing students, please see Funding Information for Part-time Continuous students.

      Location and Dates

      We offer the course at The University of Warwick.

      2024/25 cohort

      • Induction and weekend days are to be confirmed.
      • The course will be taught on Mondays between 6:00-9:00pm at Warwick.

      2023/24 cohort

      • Induction Day for 2023/24 is: Saturday 30 September 2023.
      • The course will be taught on Wednesday between 6:00pm-9:00pm at Warwick
      • Students will attend up to 4 Saturday sessions between 9:30am-3:30pm each year at the University of Warwick:

        Term 1 - Saturday 2 December 23
        Term 2 - Saturday 10 February 24
        Term 3 - Saturday 16 March 24
        Term 3 - Saturday 18 May 24

      Student Support

      "Warwick has an amazing body of staff who are always ready and willing to answer any questions you might have. From day one of the induction evening, expectations were clearly set out and we were signposted to any resources we might need and although the campus was a little intimidating at first, I think we all soon began to feel confident in our surroundings."

      Faye, Early Childhood 2020 graduate

      The CLL Student Support TeamLink opens in a new window supports the pastoral and academic needs of our diverse student body, including:

      • Supporting the academic development of undergraduate and postgraduate students
      • Ensuring a learning experience of the highest quality, both at the University and in partner colleges.
      • Communicating with students in order to ensure a positive learning experience at CLL

      To do this, we support you in many areas, including:

      • Study skills
      • Student welfare
      • Technology and e-learning
      • Careers and development

      4 mature students on Warwick campus

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      How to Apply

      Applications for 2024 entry are now open, which will close on Monday 11 September 2024. Apply now.

      Before you apply

      Check out our guidance page on How to ApplyLink opens in a new window and Course Application TipsLink opens in a new window.

      You can also book an 1-on-1 Open Call with our recruitment specialist to discuss your next steps to study a degree with us.