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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 work with young children in settings such as pre-school child-minding day nursery or children’s centre this course is designed to fit around your work commitments. It combines academic study with your work experience preparing you for the top-up degree as well as a rewarding career in early years.

This course offers you a strong foundation in early years education from a variety of professional perspectives as well as developing your understanding of child development and the developing child within the family and society in both local and global contexts. It also provides opportunities for you to develop your own academic and professional interests linking the theory you learn to your current work practice.

Areas you may study include developing English and mathematics; developing learning; early years curriculum studies; inclusive practice and education; professional practice; teaching practice; and the importance of play.


Why choose this course?

  • Learn full-time or part-time to suit your work commitments
  • Develop your skills in teaching and learning support
  • Study different approaches to teaching and learning
  • Deepen your own understanding of your work and working environment
  • Be able to reflect on your work-based practice and how you can support young children’s early learning and development
  • Benefit from direct entry to our Applied Early Years Studies (top up) BA (Hons) at the end of your study after which you can train as a primary or early years teacher in the UK if you choose

This course is also offered at our Milton Keynes campus Bedford College Central Bedfordshire College and Tresham College of Further Education.

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 - Karen Siddons

I joined the University of Bedfordshire following 20 years working within the Early Years and Education sector.

I started my career working in a residential school for children with profound and multiple educational and health care needs.

My experience within Early Years and education spans a wide range of provision to include Nursery manager, Child minder, classroom assistant and lecturer.

I have extensive experience within the classroom and have worked in both HE and FE, delivering Early Years study programmes.

What will you study?

Studying our Early Years Studies FdA course will equip you with specialist knowledge and skills around early years education and child development. Through examining research, theory and pedagogy, our Developing Learning unit will introduce you with the knowledge and skills to support the development of babies, children and young people. In more specific learning areas, you will develop your understanding of English and Mathematics in our Contextual Curriculum: Early Years unit. These subject areas are crucial to early years and modern education for supporting babies’ and children’s needs.

In other areas of child learning, our unit in The Importance of Play will allow you to examine how children learn and develop through play based on established research and theory. This will inform your future work where you will be able to develop and support play-based approaches. Furthermore, another crucial area of education is inclusivity, especially within special educational needs and disability (SEND). This is where our unit in Inclusive Practice and SEND will make you question to what extent education is inclusive, while also exposing you to the existing barriers to inclusive education, and how to support children with SEND within the education sector.

As an early years educational professional, your involvement extends far from just the child alone. Our unit in Early Years: The Child, The Family, The Community explores just this, as you will learn of the impact that settings, families and communities have on the attitudes and dispositions of children. Furthermore, you will understand how families, parents and carers are supported to engage with their child and examine the extended support from their community.

To prepare you for your work in early years education, our unit in Developing Professional Practice will explore aspects of professionalism in early years contexts. You will be exposed to the sociological, psychological and philosophical influences on policy and practice. At the same time, our Reflections on Practice unit will encourage you to identify your current strengths and areas for further development in both your studies and professional work. In the long term, you will develop the personal and practice skills of an educational professional. As an additional academic skill, you will be given an Introduction to Higher Education Study that will allow you to demonstrate proactive ability and reach your academic potential.

How will you be assessed?

The purpose of the assessment strategy is to maximise the outcomes of summative assessment through effective personalised formative assessment. This is made possible by a variety of assessment types to engage a number of approaches to learning. In the feedback to each unit of work students are marked against a level specific marking grid and are given advice on their strengths and areas for improvement. Such advice should then be fed into their subsequent assignments to form a gradual building of knowledge rigor and application. It is expected that the student's workplace setting will give context to their individual assessment and will also be used in many of the assessments to provide secondary or primary materials to inform the assessment criteria.


You will have the opportunity to continue your studies at degree level through the University of Bedfordshire's Applied Early Years Studies (top up) BA (Hons); all successful Foundation degree students have the right of direct entry to the BA at the end of their study.

You could then choose to follow a Primary PGCE or School Direct programme to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS). GSCE grades A*-C in maths English and science or equivalent will be required.

If you do not wish to progress to the top-up degree you have various options in employment including leadership and management roles within an early years setting.

Entry Requirements

48 UCAS tariff points including 32 from at least 1 A-level or equivalentAn Enhanced DBS check is requiredApplicants must be working (or volunteering) within an appropriate setting for a minimum of one day per week for duration of course

Fees for this course


The full-time standard fee for a Foundation Degree for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £9,250. These are the full course fees covering each year of study.

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


International students cannot apply for Foundation Degrees.

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

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