Early Years Foundation Degree

Explore the nature of childhood in contemporary society, linking social theory, policy and practice, while developing your academic and research skills UCAS Code: 8P22


2 Years
1 day and 1 evening per week
Theory & Practical

Course Info

The development of children and young people is at the forefront of policy and debate in today’s society. This 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 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 related occupations, this course is for you.

You’ll explore the nature of childhood in a contemporary society, alongside relevant social theory and research as well as drawing on current policy and practices in the field, including your own experiences. Modules across both years of study will support you in developing your academic and research skills to enable you to get the best out of the programme.

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


The programme is taught through a series of lectures, seminars, tutorials and interactive workshops. The programme has been recently updated to ensure that it continues to provide a good reflection of the current priorities and challenges within the sector, and gives you the knowledge and understanding to enhance your personal and professional practice.

You’ll have a personal tutor assigned to you throughout your degree to support your on-going development and wellbeing and ensure that your learning experience is positive.

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, Julie has over 30 years’ experience of working in the early year sector. Julie has worked at Calderdale College, as the Course Leader on the Foundation Degree for over 5 years, helping to develop the curriculum and bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom. Julie has worked as an Early Years Ofsted Inspector and as a Local Authority, Early Years Quality Improvement and Support Officer.  She has been involved in delivering and assessing professional training and teaching to the early years sector for over 20 years.  This includes teaching a variety of non-accredited and accredited early years courses from entry level through to level 5. Julie has worked in a wide range of roles within the early years sector including; as a Childminder, Early Years Practitioner, in a pre-school and as the Manager of a private day nursery. Julie has a professional focus on children’s mental health; she completed her MSc in Children and Adolescent Mental Health (Distinction) in 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 Pyschologyshe has previously worked in Primary education; 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. Alongside her teaching she is a trainer and assessor on apprenticeship programmesand 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 or an Access to HE diploma or substantial previous experience in the workplace.

Those wishing to continue onto Primary Teaching qualifications following the course will need to have Maths, English 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. 

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