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Early Years Foundation Degree (Part-Time)

Explore the nature of childhood in contemporary society, linking social theory, policy and practice, while developing your academic and research skills

3 Years
2 evenings per week
Theory & Practical

Entry Requirements: Level 3 in Childcare or Early Years or Access to HE Diploma

Course Info

The development of children and young people is at the forefront of policy and debate in today’s society. This newly refocused course will provide you with the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of child development and other factors that shape children’s lives from birth.

A key difference between this and other programmes of study is that we help you to develop your understanding from the perspective of children. So, if you’re looking to progress into teaching, working in early years, social care, child and youth policy work and other occupations relating to children, young people and families, then this course could be for you.

You’ll explore the nature of childhood in a contemporary society, referencing relevant social theory and research as well as drawing on current policy and practices in the field, including your own experiences. Newly developed modules across both years of study will assist you in developing your academic and research skills to support you in the transition to higher education.

Key topics include the study of childhood through the perspectives of psychology, sociology, philosophy. The voice of the child is a strong focus throughout the course, along with educational theories and development, inclusivity, and safeguarding.

We’ll help you to develop as a critical thinker; being able to understand and challenge current approaches and policy.

The  modules you’ll study are:

Level 4

  • Academic and Professional Development
  • Exploring Practice
  • Safeguarding Children and Families
  • Inclusivity
  • Approaches to Pedagogy
  • Birth to Five

Level 5

  • Academic Research and Professional Development
  • Communication and Collaboration in the Early Years
  • Leading Early Years Practice
  • Contemporary Issues
  • 21st Century Play
  • Environmental Influences on Behaviour

Important Links:

  • Click HERE for the programme specification
  • For a full list of the University Centre’s regulations and policies please click HERE
  • Click HERE for The Open University Regulations for Validated Awards


Your teaching will include tutor- and student-led sessions, with discussions, activities, group-work, seminars, and one-to-one tutorial opportunities. You will be in an enriching and immersive learning environment, which will enhance your development as a critical thinker. 

One of the key strengths of our teaching at the University Centre is the amount of time we dedicate to supporting you as an individual student to help you get the best out of your programme. One-to-one tutorials with your tutor are important as they allow you to raise any particular issues you may be facing. Your tutor will be as supportive as possible in helping you work through these issues. 

Lecturer Profiles

Course Leader – Level 4: Julie Jones, BA (Hons), EYT, has 30 years’ experience of working in the early year sector including as an Early Years Ofsted Inspector, as a Local Authority Advisor, childminding, in pre-school, managing a private day nursery, and teaching and assessing early years and early years management apprentices. With a professional focus on children’s mental health, she has been involved in delivering professional training and teaching for over 15 years, teaching a variety of non-accredited and accredited early years courses from entry level to level 5. Julie will be completing an MSc in Child and Adolescent Mental Health in September 2021. 

Course Leader – Level 5: Karen Lumley, BSc (Hons), PGCE, MSET, has over 20 years’ teaching experience, with much of that time spent working at the University Centre teaching on the foundation degree. With a degree in Pyschology and with extensive experience of working with young children in Primary education, other previous work includes working at the Halifax Women’s Centre, supporting women suffering domestic violence, and leading non-accredited local community courses on areas such as self-esteem and confidence building. She is currently working towards completing her MA in Psychology.

Lecturer: Clare Dean, BA (Hons), EYPS, has over 18 years’ experience including as manager of a private early years setting and safeguarding lead. Her professional focus on Autism and Leadership & Management has led her to work with the local authority multidisciplinary team and quality improvement team on supporting children with additional needs, and pioneering work implementing various government and local initiatives. With extensive experience of delivering accredited and non-accredited professional training courses from entry to level 2, her background also includes volunteering in Romania with children and families with complex needs and in Italy in a Reggio Emilia setting.

Entry Requirements & Interview Process

Applicants should have a pass in a relevant Level 3 award. Those wishing to continue onto Primary Teaching qualifications following the course will need to have Maths and Science at GCSE Grade C or Grade 4 also.

There are no appointed placements undertaken in this course however there is the expectation that potential students either be in full- or part-time employment or volunteering, undertaking at least 12 hours’ voluntary or paid employment per week in an early years setting.

Applicants who demonstrate that they have met the academic requirements, thought about the appropriateness of the programme, have a clear idea of their progression route and have the relevant personal skills and qualities will be invited to interview.

The University Centre actively supports claims for Recognition of Prior Learning. You must show how the learning you have already completed matches the learning that is required on the programme you are applying for.