September 2024

Early Years Foundation Degree

Undergraduate, Foundation Degree, September 2024

Key Details

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

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.


This course is subject to revalidation

  • 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

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 usually be on two days and one early evening session.

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.

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 Studies. Completion of an Honours degree will support those wishing to pursue a career in teaching, although further study and qualifications are needed.

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

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.

The University accepts appropriate T Levels as part of its usual entry requirements.

You will need a letter from your employer confirming you have current and valid enhanced DBS in place or you will require a new DBS if the letter can’t be provided. For more information on your DBS application please click here

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.

Full-time Direct Application Link 

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

Course Fees

The full-time course fee for September 2024 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).


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



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

  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. 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.  You will audit your 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 from 0 - 5. The module will focus on language, cognition, brain, physical and social and emotional aspects of development, including attachment. It will also consider issues of health and wellbeing, for example handwashing, dental health, immunisations and childhood diseases.  It will provide students with a range of theoretical perspectives and philosophical approaches to development and learning. The role of the EY practitioner will be discussed in relation to observing, assessing and supporting children’s development including planning next steps for children in their setting. It will also consider individual factors that impact on child development and learning such as interests, individual needs and health. The importance of working with others including parents/carers, colleagues and other agencies to support development will also be explored.
  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 the 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 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 2021). 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 for a total of 120 hours. Students will be required to identify and attend an appropriate setting/school/organisation/workplace locally which is to be 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 early years education and care. 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 student 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.  
  5. 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 ideas around play environments both indoors and out as well as considering Forest School. We will provide an introduction to some of the key theorists and pioneers, also exploring play within the EYFS. We will also investigate the challenging role of the adult within play.
  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. 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.
  2. 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 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 and safety of children and their families. Finally, students will understand the additional needs of a range of culturally and socially diverse groups whilst exploring how to support individual needs and behaviour of children.
  3. 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 explore 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.
  4. Students will explore a range of services and agencies involved in multi-agency working and the legal and regulatory framework in which they operate. They will be encouraged to critically reflect on the opportunities and challenges around supporting families utilising this model of working. 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. It will also consider the range of approaches and theoretical models that underpin multi-agency working and the challenges present in professional practice to working in this way to achieve meaningful outcomes for children and their families. 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.
  5. 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 management and organisation, including the consideration of the value of and ethical issues around practitioner research, It enables students to access, compare and critically analyse academic research, and ascertain how this impacts on policy and practice. This module will allow students to develop skills and knowledge to support progression into honours level. 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.
  6. This module builds on prior learning from ECF414 ‘Professional Practice in Early Years 1 and further explores the concept of quality practice through the lens of the current Early Years Curriculum, also taking into consideration the standards for the Early Years Educator (NCTL, 2013). The module requires students to continue to work in practice with children, families and other professionals. Students need to complete 120 hours in total. This module encourages students to reflect on prior learning and experience in order to prepare them for their next academic and professional progression.