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Why choose the School of Education

Ofsted – we are a ‘Good’ provider with Outstanding in Quality of leadership and management across our partnerships.

95% of our Education and Teaching graduates are in employment or further studies 15 months after graduating (HESA Graduate Outcomes, 2023)

Over 90% of students across all courses are employed within the first six months of graduation

100% of our undergraduate Primary Education graduates have secured jobs by the end of their course

Our Early Childhood Education course ranks 8th in its subject table for graduate prospects on track (Complete University Guide, 2024)

All teaching-training staff have QTS and were previously employed as teachers and/or head teachers; we also have teaching staff who are school governors or active members of their national subject associations

About the course

If you currently work in the early years sector and have a relevant Foundation degree or equivalent in this field this top-up course will bring you up to a full Honours degree in just one year - opening up exciting career opportunities.

The Applied Early Years Studies BA (Hons) is a top-up (progression) course which builds on knowledge and skills gained from work experience as well as a relevant Foundation degree or equivalent course. Your studies offer you the chance to develop an in-depth understanding of child development and early years education from a variety of professional perspectives. Your learning builds on your experience in the workplace and the course content adapts to suit your needs interests and circumstances.

Why choose this course?

  • Study alongside employment putting theory into practice in your work
  • Develop your skills based on a sound knowledge and understanding of early years learner development
  • Be able to meet the needs of all children within a culturally diverse society
  • Build skills that allow you to communicate effectively with learners colleagues parents/carers and other professionals
  • Learn from tutors with a wealth of experience in early years education
  • Develop your understanding of the importance of education research and enquiry
  • Choose a research dissertation topic and carry out research in your own area
  • After graduation progress in our own early years setting moving towards leadership or management roles or go on to early years or primary teacher training

with Professional Practice Year

This course has the option to be taken over four years which includes a year placement in industry. Undertaking a year in industry has many benefits. You gain practical experience and build your CV, as well as being a great opportunity to sample a profession and network with potential future employers.

There is no tuition fee for the placement year enabling you to gain an extra year of experience for free.

*Only available to UK/EU students.

with Foundation Year

A Degree with a Foundation Year gives you guaranteed entry to an Undergraduate course.

Whether you’re returning to learning and require additional help and support to up-skill, or if you didn’t quite meet the grades to pursue an Undergraduate course, our Degrees with Foundation Year provide a fantastic entry route for you to work towards a degree level qualification.

With our guidance and support you’ll get up to speed within one year, and will be ready to seamlessly progress on to undergraduate study at Bedfordshire.

The Foundation Year provides an opportunity to build up your academic writing skills and numeracy, and will also cover a range of subject specific content to fully prepare you for entry to an Undergraduate degree.

This is an integrated four-year degree, with the foundation year as a key part of the course. You will need to successfully complete the Foundation Year to progress on to the first year of your bachelor’s degree.

Why study a degree with a Foundation Year?

  • Broad-based yet enough depth to give you credible vocational skills
  • Coverage of a variety of areas typically delivered by an expert in this area
  • Gain an understanding of a subject before choosing which route you wish to specialise in
  • Great introduction to further study, and guaranteed progression on to one of our Undergraduate degrees

The degrees offering a Foundation Year provide excellent preparation for your future studies.

During your Foundation Year you will get the opportunity to talk to tutors about your degree study and future career aspirations, and receive guidance on the most appropriate Undergraduate course to help you achieve this; providing you meet the entry requirements and pass the Foundation Year.


Course Leader - Malini Mistry

I started my career working as a primary school teacher and gained experience across all year groups .

Whilst working in the primary sector, I managed and led many areas of learning in the curriculum including ICT, History, Geography, RE and Early Years.

What will you study?

Studying our Applied Early Years Studies (Top up) BA (Hons) course will equip you with the in-depth knowledge around early-years education and child development. The course aims to provide you with in-depth knowledge around learning and development, such as in our Early Learning from Birth to Five unit. Here, you will explore early-years educational theory and practice. You will consider the needs of younger children, particularly under three, as well as the role adults play in supporting the learning development of children under the age of five.

As an early-years educator, it is also important that you show good leadership and management skills. This is where our Leading Practice in the Early Years unit comes in to introduce you to various aspects of team leadership including the challenges of working with diverse groups of people. Finally, you will have the opportunity to conduct a Research Project in Applied Early Years Studies where you can pursue an area of interest relevant to your field in more depth. By integrating theory and practice, you will work under a supervisor to conduct specialised research into your chosen field that will build on your understanding of an area of practice that may be relevant to your future career.

To help you prepare for your research project, our Research Methods in Applied Education unit will introduce you to key aspects of the research process. These include research methods, data collection tools, ethical research, and how to analyse both quantitative and qualitative data so that you will be confident in carrying out your own extended research.

Early Learning From Birth To Five

What is the role of adults in supporting the learning development of very young children from birth to 5 years old?
In this Unit you will study in depth the nature of learning and development with a focus on the role that adults play in supporting the learning and development of children under five. The unit will particularly consider the needs of the youngest children, the under threes, reflecting the current national focus on this age group.
The work-based elements will help you to explore the conceptual and theoretical basis of current early years educational theory, policy and practice.
The Unit builds on Developing Learning and Inclusive Practice in the Early years at level 4, and The Importance of Play at level 5.

Research Methods In Applied Education

This Level 6 unit aims to prepare you for your research project. You will be guided in how to choose an appropriate area for research within the context of your work based placement. You will be introduced to key aspects of the research process, including the understanding of approaches to research, the development of appropriate research methods and data collection tools, ethical research and the analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data. By the end of the unit, you will be in a position to carry out an extended research project within your educational or work-based setting. 

Leading Practice In The Early Years

What is the importance of good leadership and management in an early years setting? How can multi-professional working be facilitated? This unit focuses on the issues of organisational, legal and interpersonal aspects of leading a team and the challenges of working in a multiagency context with diverse groups of people and roles. The work-based elements will enable the synthesis between the theoretical concepts studied in the unit and the practice and policy you are working with. This unit connects to Developing Professional Practice in level 5.

Research Project In Applied Early Years Studies

The project is an essential contribution to all Honours degree students. The unit builds on the work of your Research Methods unit (EDD 010-3), where you studied the elements required to enable you to carry out research, which included approaches to research design and data collection; support for analysing quantitative and qualitative data; the role of academic and research literature; and guidance on the Ethical Approval process .

The purpose of this unit is to give you the opportunity to carry out an in depth study of an applied nature in the field of Early Years, synthesising learning from other units whilst pursuing one area of interest in depth. The project will encourage you to integrate theoretical principles with practice and will allow you considerable scope for choice under the guidance of a supervisor, who will support you in discussing and refining your research and providing formative feedback on draft work. The area of interest may have been stimulated by your Foundation Degree (or Level 5) studies, by the desire to extend subject knowledge in an area of intended specialism or by experience in your setting. Your project will therefore be an in-depth study of an Early Years issue and may be of a general pedagogic nature or subject specific. The importance of the project is that it allows you to focus on your own interests whilst developing key academic and investigative skills within an identified research focus. Your research also allows you to develop an in-depth understanding of an area of practice relevant to your future career and will prepare you well for the process of becoming a reflective practitioner within your field of work.

You will be provided with a detailed unit handbook which makes clear links between the requirements of the research project and the tools to support this identified within the Research Methods unit.

How will you be assessed?

At Level 6 the assessment strategy for the course is less formative in nature and more summative. The first Research Methods unit that you take will introduce them to assessment at Level 6 and will act as preparation for the major piece of work that they undertake in the research project. All assessments are applied to your work or volunteer experience. The assessments will include formal essays poster and PowerPoint presentations research proposal ethic approval documentation and a dissertation report. The research based dissertation will enable students to carry out their own research project guided throughout by a supervisor and will be the culmination of your work on the degree through the academic year. Throughout the course extensive use will be made of the University VLE (BREO) to provide information and further materials for study and facilitate interaction and discussion between students and between staff and students.


The early years’ sector is growing with increased state support for childcare. This will provide opportunities for graduates able to contribute towards the provision of high-quality education and care for young children. The degree will allow you to progress within your own early years’ setting as a practitioner leader or alternatively students may go on to primary or early years teacher training (PGCE) early years initial teacher training (EYITT) or other areas working with children from birth to age seven.

Entry Requirements

Related Foundation Degree/HNDAn Enhanced DBS check is required

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