September 2021

Early Years Foundation Degree

Foundation Degree, Undergraduate, September 2021

Key Details

  • X311 Course Code
  • 2-3 Years
  • 48 Typical UCAS Tariff
Early Years


Why study an Early Years Foundation degree at Newman University, Birmingham?

The Early Years Foundation Degree is a programme designed for those practitioners who work with or intend to work with, young children in public, private, voluntary and independent childcare and education settings.

It provides access to a higher level qualification and career development for people working as childminders or in group settings such as reception class, nursery, kindergarten, preschool, community crèche environment or children’s centres.

This programme is for any practitioner, working with young children in a public, private, third or independent sector setting who has a commitment to the aims of the course. It has been designed for those with relevant experience or working in the sector, as well as for those seeking progression routes into management positions in early years settings.

Who is it for?

  • Any practitioner, working with young children in a public, private, third or independent sector setting who has a commitment to the aims of the course
  • People with experience in reception, as a childminder or, in a nursery, pre-school setting, community crèche or children’s centre
  • People seeking progression routes into management positions in early years settings

Special Features

Module content has been informed by major research projects undertaken by Newman with funding support from the European Social Fund. There are opportunities to interact with other students, share experiences and enhance communication skills.


Full-time: Taught sessions will be on one day / and one early evening session.

Part-time: Taught sessions will be on one evening a week between 4.00-8.30pm.

Full-time and Part-time: In addition to the taught sessions you will need to spend at least two days or 10 hours a week volunteering or working in an appropriate early years setting.


A range of work-based assessment strategies will be used including portfolios, presentations, written reports and essays. There will also be directed study tasks regularly undertaken in your own time.

Progression routes

Even though you may have the skills and experience to progress in your career, you may find that the lack of a formal academic qualification holds you back at some stage. Studying for a foundation degree situates you in higher education and will prepare you for increased responsibilities within your current setting, therefore expanding your employment opportunities in early years.

There is also the opportunity to progress onto the top-up award, converting your Foundation degree to a full BA (Hons) degree, such as the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) or BA (Hons) Professional Practice. Completion of an Honours degree will support those wishing to pursue a career in teaching, although further study and qualifications are needed.

Studying and living in Birmingham

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.

Ask Us a Question

Faculty of Education events

Are you interested in working with children? Join us for one of our Faculty of Education events this July and speak to one of our academics on campus.

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Entry Requirements

Entry requirements are flexible but normally you will possess a Level 3 qualification, such as A levels, a BTEC or NVQ level 3, but each student is assessed on their own merits and we value your work-place experience.

A typical offer being, 48 UCAS points and GCSE English at Grade 4 (C) or above.

Students will need to obtain Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance once they have met the entry requirements and  by the start of their programme in September.  For more information on your DBS application please visit the How do I complete my DBS form advice page.

A statement of support from your current employer or the Head teacher/Manager of a setting where you can undertake a volunteer placement for a minimum of 10 hours per week (this can be obtained after you have been offered a place on the programme.

Practitioners who do not hold the qualifications outlined above will be considered on the basis of prior professional experience and related learning. For further details please contact Admissions.

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.

Applying Direct Option

You can apply direct to Newman University for the full-time route 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.

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

Fees per academic year:
Full-time UK students: £9,250 *
Part-time UK students: £4,700 *

* Fees shown are for 2021/22 academic year. 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, on enrolment and 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).


Full-time course modules

As a full time student, you will study a total of 120 credits each year. Credits are made up of mandatory modules and you may have a list of optional modules to choose from. Not every programme offers optional modules and when an optional module is available it will be clearly marked. All modules are listed below and you may not be required to complete all of these modules. Most modules are 20 credits and dissertations are 40 credits. Please note that not all optional modules run every year. For further information please email

Part-time course modules

As a part time student, the amount of credits you complete each year may vary. Credits are made up of mandatory modules and you may have a list of optional modules to choose from. Not every programme offers optional modules and when an optional module is available it will be clearly marked. All modules are listed below and you may not be required to complete all of these modules. Most modules are 20 credits and dissertations are 40 credits. Please note that not all optional modules run every year. For further information please email

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

Timetables: find out when information is available to students

As a part-time undergraduate student, you choose how many modules to study each year (up to a maximum of 6). To qualify for a student tuition fee loan you will need to choose at least 4 modules. A normal 3-year degree will take 4.5 years to complete if you take 6 modules per year. You will be taught alongside full-time undergraduate students.

The modules displayed are for the full-time route, for part-time modules will be split across the duration of the course.

  1. This module will introduce students to theories of learning and will relate these to their own experience of education and the workplace.  Generic key transferable skills, such as communication, information technology, problem solving, working with others and improving one’s own learning, will be introduced, practised and applied to work-based tasks. In addition, a range of activities associated with information skills will be offered.  The nature and demand of work-based learning will be analysed and compared to academic study, with reference to the role played by directed and self-directed study on this type of course.  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 student’s knowledge and understanding of child development and learning. The module will focus on language, cognition, physical and social and emotional aspects of development. It will provide students with theories of development and learning, and relate these to aspects of learning and teaching. Theorists considered will include, among others; Piaget, Bruner, Skinner, Vygotsky, Bronfenbrenner and Chomsky. It will also explore theories which focus on the impact of biological and maturational processes on human development. The role of the EY practitioner will be discussed in relation to supporting child development and next steps for child in their setting. We will also consider individual factors that impact on child development and learning such as health, environment, personality and self-esteem.
  3. 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.
  4. Children, parents and educators have the right to good quality in early childhood education services, 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( Article 2). This module will cover all the above elements because early years are logically and practically a good place to start to foster and strengthen children’s identities and to raise positive awareness of diversities. This module aims to challenge thinking, promoting all children and adults’ right to evolve and to develop in a context where there is equality and respect for diversity. Core element of the module will explore human rights and the UNCRC through key principles like dignity, fairness, equality, respect, power and autonomy. Identity and difference will be explored and examined in the broadest sense, highlighting the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world. The module will also move beyond essentialist approaches of multiculturalism, which in the past have all too often ignored socio-economic power relations.
  5. This module will introduce students to the term ‘transitions’ as outlined in the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge.  This term refers to changes between services e.g. from an early years setting to school or from home to a pre-school setting and also to particular and personal life changes such as family illness or death, family breakdown, fostering and adoption or leaving care. The impact of transition upon the social and emotional development of young children will be explored. The module will aim to explore the way in which young children experience transitions in their daily lives and to suggest ways in which the professional experience of practitioners can make the transition process a positive experience.
  6. 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 both indoors and out as well as considering Forest School. We will provide an introduction to some of the key theorists and look at play within the EYFS. We will also investigate the role of the adult in play.
  1. This module will focus on the cycle of planning, assessment and reflective practice. It will consider planning for play and the nature and function of assessing development. It will increase student awareness of the different purposes of planning and assessment, and the range of procedures and contexts in which assessments may be conducted.  The module will explore issues such as ‘fitness for purpose’, content, validity, reliability and manageability in the use of planning and assessment tools and encourage students to engage in approaches designed for the identification, intervention and monitoring of educational development.  Current issues in planning and assessment, relating to statutory requirements for accountability, value added purposes and evaluations are also discussed in the light of the professional use of assessment to promote optimal individual learning.
  2. 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, and Utilitarian 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.
  3. Students will explore a range of services and agencies, the regulations and laws that constrain them, and the issues that arise from the provision of services to children in both statutory and non-statutory settings. 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 developments. Students will also participate in activities that will enable them to consider their experiences of leadership and management in practice in order to begin to develop their own leadership and management strengths in multi-agency contexts. Students will be required to reflect on the nature and complexities of multi-agency work via a reflective account that draws on their own practice and their developing understanding of models for multi-agency practice.
  4. The module provides an over-view of some of the key methodological debates in educational and sociological research and the ways in which these debates influence selection of areas of investigation, research design, data analyses and interpretation.  The design of this module is predicated upon the belief that a self-critical stance is a pre-requisite for interpretive research but other traditions will also be considered. This module will allow students to develop skills and knowledge to suggest progression into honours level.  Students will develop an understanding of the principles, theory and qualitative and quantitative research methods and study designs.
  5. This Level 5 module will build upon the knowledge and workplace experiences of the students in the area of inclusion. It will begin by exploring definitions of the inclusion agenda, and by considering the legislative frameworks, and this will lead to an understanding of the inclusion ‘debate.’ Students will explore models of disability (social and medical), and will consider a range of strategies for supporting children with SEN and other specific needs. They will gain an understanding of how multi-agency working contributes to the support of children and their families. Finally, students will understand the additional needs of a range of culturally and socially diverse groups, e.g. Traveller children, looked-after children, pupils with EAL, white working-class boys, etc.
  6. 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. Therefore, this module aims to explore some of the complex issues involved in safeguarding children and the interventions designed to drive this agenda.