September 2023

Early Childhood Education and Care BA (Hons)

Honours Degree, Undergraduate, September 2023

Key Details

  • X310 Course Code
  • 3 Years
  • 96 Typical UCAS Tariff

Are you interested in working with young children in a Nursery or Early Years setting? Then our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Education and Care degree at Newman University is registered with the DfE as having ‘full and relevant status’, which is particularly advantageous to graduates employed in early years settings, in counting towards the staff:child ratios.

Early childhood, the quality of education, provision and care, and the roles and responsibilities of all those involved with young children, parents and families, all have a significant influence on children’s achievement and life chances. The last decade has seen the wider development of early years provision, changes and challenges in aspects of education and care, and the recognition that early childhood and children’s experiences must be supported by a highly qualified workforce. Government legislation, policy and research have raised the profile of early childhood, education and care and established the requirement for recognised professional qualifications for all those working in the field of early years in public, voluntary and private sectors.

The programme is designed for students interested in working with young children aged 0-8 years. It offers a course that provides breadth and depth in key aspects relating to childhood, child development, education and care but also integrates a wider thematic approach which includes families, communities, multi-agency working, social policy, inclusion and diversity, research and health. It will develop your knowledge, skills, understanding of these, and your generic transferable skills through course content, learning and teaching strategies, assessment, research, and experiences of early years settings and organisations.

The first year of the programme introduces aspects of child development, social policy, equality, rights and diversity, constructs of childhood, play and the early years curriculum. During the second year there is a work based placement which enables you to gain valuable experience working in an early years setting with children 0-5. The placement experience has proved significant for students’ future career choices. There are also opportunities for international placements.

The course has optional modules at Intermediate and Honours level that enables students to undertake a particular theme, for example, Discourses of Education, Inclusive Practice, Enabling Early Learning, and Health and Social Policy. In the final year of studies you will carry out a small scale research study for your dissertation.

Student achievement is assessed through a wide range of methods. These include essays, research reports, case studies, group and individual presentations, reflective accounts and seminars. Teaching and learning strategies include lectures, seminars, discussion and debate, presentations, guest speakers, workshops, an e-learning environment, visits and directed activities.

• Strong links with Early Years settings and providers across the West Midlands, including Birmingham, Dudley, Stourbridge, Halesowen,

• This degree is registered with the DfE as having ‘full and relevant status’, which is particularly advantageous to graduates employed in early years settings, in counting towards the staff:child ratios.

• Opportunities to study abroad

• Opportunities to participate in the Student-Staff Partnership Projects

  • Academic partnership projects – looking to enhance an aspect of the broad student learning experience
  • Research partnership projects – integrating students as researchers in their subject discipline
  • Community partnership projects – engaging with the wider community

• Work placement to enhance career opportunities

Early years is a developing area of the economy, therefore there are a wide range of career opportunities for qualified professionals in the field of early years. This includes working in Children’s Centres, SureStart settings, schools, nurseries, Social Services, Local Authority support teams, and charitable organisations. Previous students have gone on to work as nursery managers and deputy managers, inclusion workers, early years advisory workers, Foundation Stage practitioners, charity workers, and with specific organisations working with parents, families and communities. Others have pursued a teaching career through a PGCE or School Direct.

This degree is registered with the DfE as having ‘full and relevant status’, which is particularly advantageous to graduates employed in early years settings, in counting towards the staff: child ratios at level 3.

Newman University is located in Britain’s second city – Birmingham. With one of the youngest city populations in Europe, it is a vibrant and dynamic place to study.

Studying at Newman University, you have the advantage of being near to the city, but living in, or commuting to peaceful and comfortable surroundings on campus.

Dining out

Birmingham has lots of wonderful places to dine out with a range of different cuisines. Places where you can dine out include; Brindley Place, Mailbox and Hagley Road (just 10 minutes’ from Newman).


Whether you like to go to; the theatre, gigs or clubs, or enjoy: sports, shopping visiting art galleries or exhibitions – Birmingham will not disappoint and you will be spoilt for choice!


Getting around Birmingham is easy via train, bus or by car. Birmingham has excellent transport links to the rest of Britain, making it easy for those weekend getaways!

Why not explore the city for yourself by visiting one of our Open Days?

Want to find out more about Birmingham? Then take a look at some Birmingham City Secrets.

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Entry Requirements

You should aim to achieve 96 UCAS points or above, including a minimum of CC at A level or equivalent (e.g.MM at BTEC Diploma or MPP at BTEC Extended Diploma), in achieving the 96 point tariff total.

Alternatively, Access Students can achieve the requirements with the following combination of Distinction, Merit and/ or Pass grades at level 3 achieved from a completed Access course. 96 UCAS Points: D21-M3-P21; D18-M9-P18; D15-M15-P15; D12-M21-P12; D9-M27-P9; D6-M33-P6; D3-M39-P3; D0-M45-P0.

Five GCSEs at grade 4 (or C) or above (or recognised equivalents), including English Language, are also required.

DBS Clearance
Although not an entry requirement for the course, it is essential that applicants will need to obtain Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) later on within the course for their work experience placement. Students will be advised about this process during their studies. For more information on your DBS application please click here.

For applicants who are unsure that they will achieve the above UCAS tariff, Newman University offers Early Childhood Education and Care (with Foundation Year) which enables such applicants to access a university degree via a four year route. Upon successful completion of their foundation year, students will progress to Year 1 of a named degree. Whilst not a condition of entry onto the Foundation Year, students wishing to follow particular named routes with additional entry requirements, will need to meet these requirements before they make the transition from their foundation year to year 1.

Applying Direct Option

You can apply direct to Newman University for this course if you have not previously applied to Newman University through UCAS and you are not applying to any other universities.

Simply click on this Direct Application link to do this.

N.B. will need to enter ‘New User’ account details when first accessing this portal.

International Students
The University is not licensed by the UK Government to sponsor migrant students under the Student route and is therefore unable to accept applications from international students at present.

If you have any questions regarding entry onto this course please contact our friendly and helpful admissions team via our Admissions Enquiry Form

Course Fees

The full-time course fee for September 2023 is £9,250.

The University will review tuition fees and increase fees in line with any inflationary uplift as determined by the UK Government, if permitted by law or government policy, in subsequent years of your course. It is anticipated that such increases would be linked to RPI (the Retail Price Index excluding mortgage interest payments).

Additional Costs

Find out more about the other additional costs associated with our undergraduate degrees. 



Please be aware that, as with any course, there may be changes to the modules delivered, for information view our Changes to Programmes of Module Changes page.

Timetables: find out when information is available to students


  1. This module supports the transition to study in a Higher Education environment. Generic key transferable skills, such as communication, information technology, problem solving, working with others and improving one’s own learning, will be introduced and practiced. Links will also be made to other modules being studied in semester one, namely, The Developing Child and Constructs of Childhood in order to provide an early childhood context to the module. The nature and demand of becoming a successful university student will be analysed with reference to the role played by directed and self-directed study on a university course, with care of self being emphasised, using seminal theory to support individual perspectives.  Students will audit their own skills, identify aspects that need improving and devise plans for self-development in those areas.
  2. This module will develop students’ knowledge and understanding of babies and young children’s development, learning and care. The module will focus on physical, cognitive, brain, language, social and emotional aspects of development. Students will also consider the importance of holistic development and care with reference to the work of Bronfenbrenner. The students will explore a variety of theories of learning and development and consider the implications of these for educational practice and care in relation to the current Early Years Curriculum. Key theorists explored include: Piaget, Bronfenbrenner, Bruner, Vygotsky, Skinner, Chomsky and Wood among others. We will also investigate individual factors that impact on child development such as culture, health, transition, attachment and environmental factors. It will consider the idea of learning as a social process. The role of the Early Years practitioner will be discussed in relation to observing, supporting and caring for the developing child.
  3. Childhood is defined largely through the attitudes, beliefs and values of particular societies at particular times. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, this module will promote an understanding of how childhood has changed or is different and continues to be socially constructed. This leads to a number of contested discourses for example: Romantic, Puritan, Utilitarian and Developmental which continue to influence policy and practice in the Early Childhood context. This module will also make reference to students own experiences of childhood and will explore how this, alongside other constructs, are influenced and represented through a variety of means such as media imagery, children’s literature and artefacts from a range of sources. Students will be encouraged to consider the potential implications for their practice in Early Childhood in respect of dominant discourses around childhood for example the emphasis on children’s ‘care and protection’ in the dominant romantic discourse.
  4. This module provides an introduction to thinking about play. Play is a contested concept for which there is no one agreed definition. Many theorists are able to discuss what some of the features of play are or are not. In this module we will look to consider what constitutes play and why it is key to early learning. We will investigate what constitutes a play environment and how it can be used as a vehicle for learning, curriculum and assessment. It will provide an introduction to some of the key theorists and pioneers and their influence and the role of the adult will be explored in play in terms of fostering caring and supportive relationships, planning, facilitating and assessing. Students will also undertake a setting visit to explore how play supports children’s learning in practice.
  5. This module will encourage students to explore the structure and diversity of families.  It will consider the policy and practice context relating to the care and education of children and the importance of working in partnership with families as highlighted within reports such as ‘Starting Strong’ (OECD 2012).  It will also explore models of partnership working to support a range of transitions that children and their families experience such as: starting nursery; school readiness; family bereavement and loss and changes in family structure.  How practitioners might work with families and children to mitigate the impact of life changes will also be considered.
  6. Since the late 1990’s, Early Childhood has been identified as an area of special interest for successive governments who have identified this period of a child’s life as providing an opportunity to have a significant impact on their progress in education, care and general well-being as well as presenting the opportunity to tackle child poverty, social exclusion and safeguarding issues. In light of this Early Childhood has seen an unprecedented level of social policy reform and developments in the way in which practitioners engage with children. This module will therefore begin to explore the nature of these developments in terms of the underlying philosophies and political ideas which have helped to shape the Early Childhood context in the UK. It will also seek to locate this approach to engaging with children in Early Childhood in a broader international context in order to encourage students to begin to understand and locate their own position in terms of the underlying philosophical and political values. It will begin to locate the significance of public and private values in terms of services for children and families. This module will provide a foundation for future modules where students will be expected to consider their own position in respect of working with children and families in Early Childhood.
  1. This double module provides students with an opportunity to explore the concept of quality practice with the content being framed around the standards for the Early Years Educator (NCTL, 2013) and the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (DfE 2017). The module also requires students to work alongside professional practitioners in Early Years settings/schools/organisations to further develop their knowledge, skills and competence of working in practice with children, families and other professionals. Students will be required to identify and attend an appropriate setting/school/organisation locally, or internationally, agreed in negotiation with the student, the tutor and the setting, in order to experience, participate in and develop competence in a range of tasks associated with education and care in an Early Years setting/school/organisation. Alongside the practical experience, students also attend taught sessions around aspects of Quality Practice in Early Childhood Education and Care.  Settings are provided with information in the form of an Employer Handbook which provides information on all aspects of the Placement including the aims of the placement, the role of the setting in supporting the students, information as to what students need to undertake whilst on placement and contact details of tutors. Students also have access to a handbook which includes information as to the purpose of placement, their role in terms of professional conduct and an overview of the taught sessions and the assessment.
  2. The issue of safeguarding children has come into sharp focus as a result of high profile public inquiries detailing significant failings and as such recent governments have sought to reassure the public that they have the capacity to address these issues. As a consequence, policy reforms have broadened the responsibility for safeguarding children in terms of both prevention and protection to incorporate the whole children's workforce with an emphasis on the importance of collaborative working. There have also been on-going debates in respect of the role of state intervention and the privacy of the family. This module focuses on the care of children and protecting them from harm and the responsibilities of ECEC practitioners in safeguarding children's welfare. It aims to explore some of the complex issues involved in safeguarding children and the interventions designed to drive this agenda. It will provide students with an exploration of the historical and political context that has served to shape current policy and practice. Specific attention will be given to exploring the social and cultural notions of neglect and abuse, and the impact that abuse can have on the lives of children and their families. Key child abuse inquiries will be examined to analyse common themes and issues in respect of the failure of child protection systems, policies and practices to safeguard children and young people. Students will explore current policy and legislation and its implications for practice for all those working with the children and their families. A clearer understanding will be gained of the different roles and responsibilities of those working in the area of safeguarding children.
  3. Children, parents and educators have the right to good quality care and education in early childhood services which is free from any form of overt and covert, individual and structural discrimination due to their race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status (Equality and Human rights commission. Article 2). This module will cover all the above elements as the Early Years are logically and practically a good place to start fostering children’s identities and to raise positive awareness of diversities. A range of key policy and legislation will be drawn on whilst exploring critical perspectives around children’s rights (UNCRC) and to challenge dominate thinking of key principles such as dignity, fairness, equality, respect, power and autonomy. Identity and difference in the broadest sense, will be explored and examined, celebrating children’s multilingual skills and highlighting the basic rights and freedoms of children and their families. This module will further examine the tools and strategies that support the inclusion and care of children within practice and society who have a wide range of disabilities or further needs. This will be explored through the context of research, policy and legislation. Implications for the Early Years Practitioner working with children, families and multi-agency teams will be critically examined.
  4. This module aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of research methodology and specific research terminology. It critically analyses the importance of research design, focusing on key aspects required for undertaking small scale research studies. It addresses ethical principles, examines the role and responsibilities of the researcher, and identifies issues for managements and organisation.  It enables students to access, compare and critically analyse academic research, and ascertain how this impacts on practice. This module is significant in developing students’ knowledge, skills and understanding for their Dissertation in year 3.
  5. This optional module will provide an option for students’ wishing to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of supporting children’s learning. It will explore a variety of learning theories, including learning as a social process, and the policy requirements of the Early Years Curriculum. The module will explore key areas of learning within the curriculum from a practical and theoretical positioning and will make reference to inclusive practice such as supporting children with EAL and learning difficulties. The role of the adult will be a key element within this module in terms of reflecting on, facilitating, observing, assessing and planning for children’s learning. It will also consider the interplay between care and learning. Students will have the opportunity produce and evaluate a specific resource created to support children’s learning.
  6. This module will provide an optional pathway for students’ wishing to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of health and wellbeing topics relevant to the early years. Students will explore an historical overview of the NHS and explore Child Health policy in the UK. Students will critique and debate theoretical and ethical issues of topics such as mental health, healthy eating and health promotion. Students will also consider factors influencing children’s health and wellbeing, for example poverty, culture and socioeconomic factors. They will explore a variety of strategies to support and care for children with specific health issues including developing resilience, attachments, positive relationships and physical activity.
  7. This module is available to students undertaking a work placement in another country. It is taken in conjunction with, and will run parallel to ECU518 Professional Practice in Early Childhood Contexts. The module will focus on aspects of comparative education and care between England and the country in which the student is undertaking placement. This module may also be suitable for international students studying at Newman who may wish to compare children’s services in England with that of their country of residence.
  8. The purpose of this module is to inspire students to embark on a professional career in teaching and provide them with the knowledge and skills required to progress on to a teacher education programme. In particular, it offers to students the opportunity to develop an appreciation of the personal and professional values and attributes underpinning the profession, as well as to understand teachers’ professional roles and responsibilities. This module will support students to begin to develop professional knowledge and understanding across the compulsory school age ranges, in a variety of learning settings. This module enables vocational learning and progression in Higher Education providing opportunities for students to develop a confidence and belief in their potential, together with an increased awareness of the professional career options open to them. This module is designed specifically to promote highly skilled, graduate level employability by supporting aspirant student teachers to progress onto a PGCE. It provides valuable, practical insights into the application processes for the various professional routes into the teaching profession.
  1. This double module aims to enable students to identify a specific issue or area of interest to investigate for their research study. It will enable students to examine the aspect in depth through an empirical study. It requires students to identify and apply an appropriate research design, addressing ethical principles, and employing systematic research procedures. Students will present and analyse their findings with critical reflection on their research question, methodology, management and organisation and analyse limitations of their study. They will identify the implications for policy and practice in the field of early childhood education and care.
  2. This module provides students with the opportunity to gain a critical understanding of the current issues facing leaders and managers within Early Childhood Education and Care setting settings in England, with a particular focus on the management of change and multi-agency and multi-professional (integrated) partnership-working.  This will involve analysis of a range of skills, knowledge and understanding concerned with team membership, management and leadership as well as pertinent theories to support becoming an effective leader within early years and care settings. Seminal and contemporary theoretical perspectives and research on leadership and management will be presented and analysed in order to increase students’ understanding and appreciation of the roles and values of practitioners from different professional cultures.  Students will also participate in activities that will enable them to learn from their own and others’ experience of leadership and management in practice in order to develop their own leadership and management strengths.
  3. This optional module will develop the social policy themes introduced at levels four and five with particular reference to the foundation provided in module ECU416 ‘The Early Childhood context’. This module considers all aspects of social policy which impact on ECEC practice and as such makes significant reference to social care policy and the issues of meeting the care needs of children who experience poverty/social exclusion. It is designed to engage students in the critical analysis of current social policy at both, local, national and international levels and critically examine its impact on Early Childhood services. Students will be encouraged to critically reflect on the impact of political ideology on government intentions for social policy, and how such intentions serve to shape practice. Social policy across all sectors of the welfare state will be explored, as will some of the challenges of working within an uncertain and constantly changing policy landscape. Students will be encouraged to consider the development of social policy in terms of both personal and public values, and critically reflect on their involvement in this process. Alternative models of social policy provision, and the ideological context of these models, will be utilised for critical reflection, discourse and debate.
  4. This optional module is aimed at students who wish to progress to an educational or teaching role after completing their degree. It will begin by exploring personal ideologies around the nature and purpose of education. Students will be encouraged to debate issues such as curriculum, assessment, learning and teaching which are discourses in the educational field in the UK and explore international comparisons. It will encourage students to critically analyse these and reflect upon their own impact on educational settings and the education and care of the child. It will encourage students to be reflective practitioners and be politically aware of discourses around education.
  5. Since 2001 UK governments have committed to care and education of the youngest children in our society. There are a number of contentious issues in the study of children from birth to five. This module discusses and debates the issues which surround this important period of a child’s development.  It explores and critically analyses how practitioners who work with very young children can work together with babies, families and other service providers to give young children the best start to life, based on an ethic of care (Noddings, updated 2013). Students will explore a range of services and agencies, within multi-agency provision; the regulations and laws that constrain them, and the issues that arise from provision of services. Care and education of children from conception to five is also viewed internationally as a key factor in the support of families and is considered to be vital to a country’s development, in western and non-western cultures. This module focuses on the professional practice of those working for agencies in, or related to children and young people’s services, and will explore relevant policy and practice development debating these and other issues which surround this important period of a child’s development.  It explores and critically analyses how practitioners who work with very young children can work together with babies, families and other service providers to give young children the best start to life.
  6. This student led optional module will explore and critically analyse a range of contemporary issues at both national and international level, relevant to the field of early year’s education and care. These may include issues relating to curriculum design and pedagogy, learning in contemporary culture, the impact of international perspectives, defining quality, the role of assessment in children’s learning, balance between education and care and transitions. It will critically examine “good practice” in the light of contemporary understanding of research, policy and practice, and will enable students to reflect critically upon the issues discussed. Students will develop their own curriculum for this module and have ownership of the VLE. Through this student led approach it will consider the importance of listening to all voices as a model for working with children. The module will also explore the ideas of action and reflection linked to students’ future practice.
  7. This optional module will explore the philosophical and educational debates around the inclusion of children with additional learning needs and disabilities in mainstream settings in the England It will provide the opportunities to critically explore the historical perspectives of Inclusion but also examine how this is currently portrayed within the media past and present. This module will further consider the issues for practitioners in supporting children and families, within the wider global context of human rights. It also examines the dominant voices of society around disability and allows for critical consideration of the impact of this on children and families.