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Course Code: X411

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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 your dream is to work with young children this in-depth course gives you the understanding of early years education you need fully preparing you for a wide range of careers or the move on to teacher training.

Our Early Childhood Education BA (Hons) equips you with an inter-disciplinary knowledge of how children develop in learning and thinking in their early years (0-8 years). It explores child development; early years curricula; inclusion special educational needs and disability; and early literacy and numeracy. It also covers leadership and management in the early years and the role of adults in a child’s education and care.

Across the three years you undertake 80 days of placement in a range of different early childhood settings to embed your learning and increase your employability when you graduate. As the course progresses you will be encouraged to explore your individual interests through guided study and independent research.

The course gives you a DfE-recognised qualification to practice.

Why choose this course?

  • It has an overall student satisfaction rating of 100% (NSS 2022)
  • Learn about the latest innovative practices in early childhood education and care supported by an experienced academic team actively involved in research in their fields
  • Gain experience through a series of placements and a strong focus on employability
  • Take the course over four years and include a fee-free year’s placement in industry (see below) gaining experience and making contacts for the future
  • Learn the academic skills you need to analyse research policy and practice in the field as well as a critical understanding of national and international perspectives
  • If you need a step up into learning in higher education start with a Foundation Year (see below) which guarantees you entry to the undergraduate course

“I really enjoyed my learning on this course. It has certainly helped me develop my confidence and expanded my knowledge about early years education. The staff are fantastic always there to help especially my personal tutor and dissertation supervisor.” Sarah course graduate

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 - Julie Beams

I gained Qualified Teacher Status in 1987 and have worked in a number of educational settings since then. I have taught across the whole primary age range.

My main focus, however, has been working with children in the Foundation Stage (0 – 5) in schools, day nurseries and Children's Centres in both a hands-on practitioner and an advisory capacity and in a range of different local authorities in England.

What will you study?

Narratives Of Childhood

This unit examines children’s lives and education through historical, sociological and philosophical perspectives. It explores the ways in which children and young people’s social and learning worlds are experienced by them and constructed, surveyed and regulated by adults. It draws on different theoretical perspectives to investigate notions of childhood and interrogate the subjective realities of children’s lives and learning across the different spaces and places of family, community and school. It explores how social, economic, technological and cultural change, alongside difference and diversity shape various narratives around contemporary childhood experience and raise critical questions for policy and practice about children’s care, welfare and education.

The unit is relevant to students who intend to work with children, young people and families. It provides a broad understanding of the theories underpinning the studies of childhood and youth and education that is relevant to professional practice across family, school and community contexts. 

Early Child Development

How is our understanding of child development informed by research and theory?
This unit will help you to understand how important it is for Early Years practitioners to have knowledge of child development.
This unit interconnects with the unit The Growing Child in Context in semester 2, and Early Years Curriculum Studies at Level 4 in semester 1, and will support your future learning in core units in levels 5 and 6.

Early Years Curriculum Studies

The unit will provide an introduction to the current legislation and guidance for Early Years practitioners. It will demonstrate how current policy has developed from the pioneers in early years education and discuss the limitations of current policy in practice. The value of academic research in developing policy will be explored.

Key Concepts In Education

In this unit we will help you to find the answers to the following questions:

- What do I need to do to produce academic work to a Higher Education standard?

- What are some of the key concepts and ideas that underpin my subject area and how can I approach them academically?

This unit will equip you with the skills you need to succeed in higher education and will introduce you to the key concepts and knowledge base that underpin your field of study. It will act as an extended induction programme to your degree. You will take an active approach to constructing knowledge in the unit. All sessions are workshops where you will take part in learning activities including discussion, information gathering, analysis, evaluation, debate and written exercises. In the sessions you will complete, share, discuss and develop work. You will undertake guided, focused discussion and analysis of literature and concepts. The assessments will be approached in a step-by-step basis to ensure you are confident in what is required to complete a successful assessment at university.

Developing Practice In Early Childhood Settings

This unit explores a range of underpinning knowledge about observation,

planning and record keeping and applies child development knowledge and

principles to the placement that you undertake for this unit.


The placement is designed to enable you to observe and practice a range

of workplace activities that will enable you to begin to demonstrate

Graduate Practitioner competencies (DfE, 2019).


You will be expected to demonstrate the capability to support and

promote children’s early education and development, plan and provide

effective care and learning which takes into account the context of the

child within the family, the role of parents working with practitioners and which  prepares children for transition and/or school

Investigating The Social World

This unit aims to equip students with an understanding of different quantitative and qualitative approaches to investigating the social world and, professional settings in particular. More specifically, the unit will seek to:

  • Develop your understanding of both quantitative and qualitative research methods and the ways in which research data can be collected, analysed and reported.
  • Promote your understanding of the ethical issues involved in undertaking research in professional settings and on sensitive issues.
  • Develop your skills in designing and implementing all aspects of a research project.
  • Equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to undertake your dissertation at Level 6 where you may use both qualitative and quantitative methods

Early Representations Of Numeracy And Literacy

How do young children use representation in the development of their early literacy and numeracy?
This unit aims to explore features of learning specific to very young children’s use of representation, practitioner recognition of the value and importance of this as well as the synthesis between theory, professional literature and the broader contexts of policy.

Developing Teaching Practice

This unit looks at how recent research and developments in teaching help practising teachers deliver effective classroom sessions. It will be of particular relevance if you are considering a career in teaching at any level. It seeks to answer the following questions: What is the conceptual and practical basis of current educational practice? How do teachers create an effective classroom framework?

The Lifelong Curriculum

This unit aims to equip students with an understanding of key considerations in curriculum design.  It explores questions such as

  • How do we design the curriculum and how do we implement the curriculum
  • What is meant by lifelong learning?

These two questions interlink to further explore how lifelong learning might be promoted and how it is situated within both historical and current educational policy discussion.

Inclusive Education In The Early Years

What are the issues around in inclusion and inclusive practice in early childhood education?


This unit aims to explore both historic and contemporary perspectives, policy and practice relating to inclusive education in the Early Years.  It will look at a range of aspects which might create barriers to learning for young children

This unit enhances understanding gained in Early Child Development and Developing Practice in Early Childhood Settings at level 4

Inclusive Practice In Early Childhood Settings

The taught aspects of this unit focus particularly on the issues around inclusion and inclusive practice in early years education, what inclusion looks like in practice and what early years professionals do to ensure effective  inclusive practice for unique children with differing needs. It builds upon understanding gained in level 4 units and Inclusive Education in the Early Years in semester 1 of level 5, and will help you to apply  theoretical principles to practice in the placement you undertake for this unit.

The placement is designed to enable you to observe and practice a range of workplace activities that will enable you to begin to demonstrate Graduate Practitioner competencies (DfE, 2019), and in particular to focus upon those which have high relevance to aspects of inclusive practice.  It builds upon the placement undertaken in level 4, and anticipates further opportunities for you to engage in developing effective and informed practice, safeguarding and the  promotion of health, safety and welfare of children  in partnership with others.

Introduction To Educational Philosophy

This unit will introduce you to a range of philosophical concepts and methods relevant to the study of education. We will consider how philosophical concepts and methods can be applied to, and may transform our understanding of, educational questions and contexts.

This unit develops work begun on the Yr1 Key Concepts module, and looks ahead to Investigating the Social World (Yr2, Sem2), Reading Philosophy & Education (Yr3, Sem1), and the Year 3 Dissertation. Although this unit feeds naturally into Reading Philosophy & Education, it is not a requirement of that unit.


Professionalism, Leadership And Management In The Early Years

What do leaders and managers in the early years workplace need to know in order to be successful in their setting?   How do early years practitioners make sense of ideas about status and professionalism espoused by those with insider and outsider perspectives    on early years education?

This unit focuses on the issues of organisational, legal and interpersonal   inter-personal aspects of leading a team and the challenges of working in multiagency context with diverse groups of people and roles.


This unit connects with Early Years Curriculum Studies in Level 4 and  builds upon aspects of the syllabus in core units at level 5

Children And Young People’S Wellbeing

With an increasing amount of young people experiencing mental health issues and an increasing awareness of this in society and in particular in education, this unit will support students’ understanding of contemporary social and emotional issues in education. Students will gain an understanding of how to support children and young people in a variety of contexts. 


To plan, carry out and write up an independent research project with guidance from a dissertation supervisor. This will involve you in identifying a topic that is of interest to you, relevant to your course and is important in the context of wider research and policy and practice debates. Undertaking individual research offers the opportunity to develop a variety of skills in planning and managing a project, including ethical issues and working with participants, gathering, analysing and reporting data.

Representations Of Disability

In this unit we will help you to find the answers to the following questions:

  • How is disability understood and represented in a variety of media?
  • What can these representations tell us about how disability is regarded and experienced?

This unit will equip you with the skills you need to investigate disability and the media. It will help you understand key concepts in the visualisation of disability and how representations influence perceptions of disability. The workshop format will allow you to discuss concepts and examples of representation and to develop your own understanding of a particular representation of disability and to communicate that understanding.

International Perspectives On Early Childhood Education

The unit examines key international and renowned approaches to supporting children’s learning in the Early Years and offers students the opportunity to develop their own model for an Early Childhood curriculum.
This unit connects with Early Child Development and Early Years Curriculum Studies in Level 4, builds upon some aspects of the syllabus in core units at level 5 and interconnects with Developing Children’s Thinking and Understanding at Level 6

Reflecting On Quality In Early Childhood Settings

This unit focuses on enhancing your understanding of how the physical, emotional and relational roles in early childhood education environments best enable children to learn and develop effectively.  It combines theory with placement experience in order to help you to explore and apply ideas about how  adults can ensure their support for young children enables them to develop high quality reflective thinking and make sense of their world

The placement is designed to enable you to both observe and engage in practice that will enable you to begin to demonstrate Graduate Practitioner competencies (DfE, 2019).

How will you be assessed?

This course aims to provide a range of assessment methods to support the diverse needs of all learners. Assessments include exams essays case studies portfolios presentations reflections on work-based learning and culminate in a research-based dissertation. The assignments will build directly on the teaching sessions and you will be supported by lecturers to develop your individual assignment through tutorials and in class activities. In level 4 more support is also provided in the form of formative assessments.

At Levels 5 and 6 developmental assessment opportunities are offered in the form of peer assessment and individual/group tutorials. Substantial guidance is provided on how to complete the assignments on the university Virtual Learning Environment called BREO (Bedfordshire Resources for Education Online) and in Unit handbooks seminars and detailed assessment briefs. Many of the assessments relate to real world situations and will encourage you to draw upon your work experience and observations from Early Years settings.


After graduating from this course you will be well placed to enter a career working with young children in community and social care settings educational welfare children’s centres or as a senior play worker/co-ordinator/manager.

This course can also be a route to further study to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) or progress to a Master’s-level course in a related area. Please note that studying to gain QTS/EYTS requires GCSE grades A/9-C/4 in maths English and science (or equivalent).

Entry Requirements

Fees for this course

UK 2024/25

The full-time standard undergraduate tuition fee for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £9,250 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees. You can also apply for a maintenance loan from the Government to help cover your living costs. See

Merit Scholarship

We offer a Merit Scholarship to UK students, worth £2,400* over three academic years, which is awarded to those who can demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, through scoring 120 UCAS tariff points or more.

Bedfordshire Bursary

If you aren’t eligible for the Merit Scholarship, this Bursary is there to help UK students with aspects of student living such as course costs. The Bursary will give you £1,000* over three academic years, or £1,300* if you are taking your course over four academic years (including those with a Foundation Year).

Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding please email


The full-time standard undergraduate tuition fee for the academic year 2024/25 is £15,500 per year.

There are range of Scholarships available to help support you through your studies with us.

A full list of scholarships can be found here.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email

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