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Foundation Degree in Early Years

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This programme is quality assured by Middlesex University and you will receive a Middlesex award on successful completion.


This course is taught at the AHED site in Winchester. It is also available at Queen's Park Academy in Bournemouth - please search course code H51H.

This course is currently undergoing revalidation for September 2022  - please be aware that there may be minor changes to the content outlined below.

Foundation degrees are the first two years of an honours degree programme, but they are also a qualification in their own right. Our Early Years course is quality assured by Middlesex University and you will receive a Middlesex Award on successful completion. Students studying a Foundation Degree can apply to do a "top-up" year to obtain a full BA (Hons) degree in Early Years. This course is also available at AHED.

Who is the course for?

This course has been designed for those working or wishing to work with children from birth, within the Early Years Foundation Stage, to the end of the Reception Year in Schools. It includes those working or wishing to work as nannies and child minders providing that the children being cared for are within the relevant age range. The course is aimed at those who have a level three qualification and / or sufficient employment experience who wish to develop their knowledge and understanding in the field of early childhood.

Support Assistants working in Reception classes need to consider their future employment direction as the Foundation Degree in Teaching and Learning Support may be more appropriate. Please note that prior agreement from the Head Teacher would be needed to ensure that students will be able to work with children in a key stage 1 or 2 class in order to complete the nine week module: Supporting National Curriculum Delivery (ED42) taught in year 1, term 2.

What are the aims of the course?

The course will provide students with the opportunity to examine policy, research and practice in early childhood education, provision and care. It will also enable you to research specific topics and themes directly relevant to your work. The course offers a flexible route towards higher education for people with varying levels of experience and will enable you to develop your professional career working in the childcare industry at a recognised level of independence and responsibility.

What does the course involve?

Our aim is to offer a flexible approach to learning. Our Foundation Degrees are classified as full time so that you can drawdown a student loan. College attendance is for one afternoon and evening a week (1:00pm –7:00pm). The overall hours that you attend the course are not dissimilar to what you would experience at University. We teach for 34 weeks per year whereas many university teaching years are much shorter than this e.g. Middlesex University teaches for 22 weeks per year.

We use a 'blended approach to learning' where students are supported through a mixture of formal lectures, seminars, online materials and one to one tutorial support. Personal tutorials and assessment coaching sessions are held at mutually convenient times outside taught hours. In year 2 you will be expected to take on an increased responsibility for your learning and become an independent learner making increasing use of online learning as well as formal taught sessions. As previously mentioned a blended approach to learning is adopted and some sessions may be delivered online via the colleges virtual learning environment, Moodle. Lecture and reading materials will be placed on the Moodle and each subject will have a discussion forum where you will be able to ask questions if you want to clarify an aspect of an assignment etc.

Do I need any previous knowledge or entry qualifications?

All eligible applicants will be required to undertake an interview. It is expected that you would have at least a level 3 Certificate / Diploma in Children’s Care, Learning & Development or Children & Young Person’s Workforce. Students under the age of 21 will be expected to have a BTEC National Diploma in Childcare or similar or 2 A Levels (64 UCAS points).

Mature students, over the age of 21, without traditional qualifications may also be accepted following Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) providing they can show appropriate levels of relevant ability and experience. They would need to make a claim for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as exemptions from parts of the degree programmes are possible. Claimants seeking RPL and RPEL must apply to the College and may be required to present a portfolio in support of their claims.

All students will require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check prior to the start of the course.

A requirement of the course is for students to be employed or working in a voluntary capacity in a relevant setting for a minimum of 100 hours throughout the course. Those currently not working will be given some support in finding a suitable position; however responsibility for this ultimately lies with the student.

What topics will I be covering?

Course structure and module chartSee course structure diagram for details of the modules you will study across the two year course. 

How much time do I need to spend on home study?

You should expect to complete a minimum of least 4 or 5 hours additional work outside attendance at college per week. If you are working, relevant additional work may naturally occur in your workplace.

What could the course lead to?

Students will have the option of applying for the BA Hons in Early Years to top up at Peter Symonds or local universities or choose to complete the BA (Hons) in Educational Studies, BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies, EYITT or BA (Hons) in Professional Practice via Middlesex University. Successful completion of this two year course will lead to a Foundation Degree in Early Years from Middlesex University.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment includes essays, reports, individual and group presentations, case studies, research reports and several work based assignments. These strategies are also designed to enable the development of key transferable skills into the workplace. There are no examinations.

The fee for this course for 2022 entry is £5,950 per year (two year course). For further guidance about tuition fees, funding and financial support click here.

Any queries should be directed to Paula Baker (Head of Curriculum) on

View Programme Specification or Module Narratives

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Courses Information

Foundation Degree in Early Years

Course Code: H21H
Course Dates: 19 Sep 2022 - 08 Jul 2024
Course Fees: £5950
Location: Weeke - AHED Centre

Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change. For degree programmes, please note that the fee showing is charged per annum.

For more information on fees and discounts please see our web site footer 'Enrolment & Fees' – 'Financial Support'.

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