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Fully funded training to qualify as an Early Years Teacher

Bursaries up to £5,000 and early years employers receive £7,000.

At Worcester you will be taught by a multi-disciplinary team who are all research active with regular publication outputs. The Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYTT) programme works in partnership with employers to develop and enhance student experience.

We provide networking and CPD opportunities available during training and additional opportunities for further study after training with individual training plans and developmental needs supported.

Key features

  • Aimed at degree holders who wish to become specialists in early childhood and development (0-5 years)
  • Work alongside your studies by taking the Graduate Employment Based (GEB) route with additional £7000 funding for employers to support your training
  • Study alongside voluntary placements with the Graduate Entry (GE) route. Trainees on this programme may be eligible to a bursary
  • The opportunity to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Leading Early Years Practice (awarding 60 credits towards Masters level)
  • Explore wider pedagogical and practice elements to enhance your prospects in leading the early years profession
  • Once you have qualified as an Early Years Teacher, you will continue to have access to personalised support from the University of Worcester
Man with children playing together

Graduates with specialist early years training make a positive impact on the quality of settings and ultimately improve children’s outcomes. We want to support the sector to grow the graduate early years workforce.

Early Years Workforce Strategy, 2017

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Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

All entrants need to:

  • be resident in England.
  • have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade C/4 in the GCSE examinations in English, mathematics and a science subject. We offer equivalency tests in these subjects, please contact for more information.
  • hold a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification.
  • take part in a rigorous selection process designed to assess suitability to teach in the early years.
  • pass the government’s numeracy and literacy Professional Skills Tests prior to entry.
  • If you have lived overseas for three months or more in the last five years a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country of residence will be required. Further information and guidance associated with additional costs are available from the Home Office. You will also be subject to the usual prohibition list and criminal record checks.
Professional skills tests

All applicants for teacher training courses need to take the numeracy and literacy professional skills tests as part of the application process. You will need to ensure you have passed them both before the start of the course.

The tests are required in addition to your mathematics and English GCSEs, and are designed to show that you have the basic levels of literacy and numeracy needed to teach to a national standard. They will not test your knowledge of the curriculum or how to teach.

The first attempt at taking your skills tests in each subject is provided free of charge.

Support we offer

We offer free skills tests workshops if you have accepted a place on the course. If you are unsuccessful on your first attempt of the skills test then we will also provide one-to-one support in both numeracy and literacy.

Find out more about our skills tests workshops and support.

Entry pathways

Graduate Employment based route (12 Months)

This route is intended for early years graduates who work within a registered early years setting, have a broad experience of the sector and whose practice reflects most of the requirements of the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years).

Graduate Entry route (12 Months)

This route is specifically designed for career changers: those people who have a first degree outside of early years, have never been employed within the early years sector and who are ‘new comers’ to the early years workforce.

If you are looking for a career change, or are already working towards your career change into early childhood, then this could be the route for you to become part of the early years workforce.

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Course content

What will you study?

Below are the available routes to Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS). For more information do contact us.

Graduate Entry route (12 Months)

Your programme will be composed of 120 days placement experience in two early years settings and a KS1 classroom and study under the direction and guidance of University tutors. During this time you will be given the opportunity to gain a postgraduate certificate in Early Childhood Studies.

Graduate Employment based route (12 months)

Within this route you have a you work in partnership with staff at the University to develop a personal learning plan to support you in developing your skills and knowledge to give you the opportunity of meeting the requirements of the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years) required to complete your EYITT programme.

Roberto's journey to early years teaching

Teaching and Assessment

How will you be taught?

Teaching and Learning

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.  A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.


You are taught through a combination of a combination of interactive workshops, focusing on Subject, Skills and Knowledge during lectures and seminars, alongside the Postgraduate Certificate in Leading Early Years Practice.

Interactive workshops take a variety of formats and are intended to enable the application of learning through discussion and small group activities. 

Seminars enable the discussion and development of understanding of topics covered in lectures and are focused on developing subject specific skills and applied individual and group project work. 

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 2 occasions in the academic year to review academic performance and the optional submission of assessments for the Postgraduate Certificate in Leading Early Years Practice modules.

It is a requirement of the course to complete 120 days of assessed practice with the 0-5 year age range. This is divided into 3 blocks throughout the academic year.


Contact time

In a typical week you will have around 12 – 24 contact hours of teaching.  The precise contact hours will depend on the Initial Skills Audit completed at induction and the identified needs of the individual to attend Subject Skills and Knowledge workshops.

Typically contact time will be structured around:

  • 12 hours of interactive workshops
  • 12 hours of lecture and seminar activities of around 15 students


Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake a minimum of 6 hours of personal self-study per week.  Typically, this will involve completing online activities, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing coursework assignments (if submitting for the Postgraduate Certificate in Leading Early Years Practice) and presentations, and preparing the Evidence File for meeting the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years).

A range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources, supports independent learning. 



The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ assignments.  Each module has one or more formal or ‘summative’ assessments, which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.  

Assessment methods include a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance in practice and presentations.

For the award of Early Years Teacher Status, students must complete all necessary documentation and provide evidence of practice and assessments in practice within their Evidence File.


You will receive feedback on practice assessments (as part of the Early Years Initial Teacher Training Programme) and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework (as part of the optional submission for the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Leading Early Years Practice).

Feedback on assessments in practice is available and a record is kept within the Student’s Evidence file. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with Personal Academic Tutors, Module tutors and Setting Experience Tutor as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Meet the team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience.


Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Teaching is based on research and consultancy and 56 per cent of University lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.

  • michelle-rogers-education-universit-worcester

    Michelle Rogers

    Michelle has worked in Higher Education for the past fourteen years, both in FE College and as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Worcester where she is Course Leader for the Foundation Degree in Early Years (Flexible and Distributed Learning). During her time at University Michelle has been involved with curriculum development and designing online learning environment. More recently she has lead the development of a flexible and distributed pathway for a Foundation Degree and is currently collaboratively designing an online Top-Up Degree.

  • samantha-sutton-tsang

    Samantha Sutton-Tsang

    Samantha is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies within the Institute of Education. She is a qualified teacher having previously taught in primary schools, working with children in the Foundation Stage, key stage 1 and key stage 2. In addition to primary education, Samantha has worked in a range of early years settings during her training and undergraduate studies at the University of Worcester.

  • Sue_Baylis

    Sue Baylis

    Sue has worked with children and their families or carers in a range of statutory and private organisations in education and social care over the last 25 years.

    Over her career Sue's interest in children with autism grew and she worked for 6 years specialising in supporting children with ASD at a nursery assessment unit in Worcester City Centre. Sue’s values and beliefs are grounded in giving children positive experiences, a sense of self-worth and valuing their contribution.

  • Niki_Stobbs

    Nicola Stobbs

    Niki started work as a primary school teacher with a year six class, later moving to year one and becoming responsible for creative play throughout the school. After a maternity break she began working in a pre-school setting and was promoted to manager during which time she wrote articles for “Practical Pre-school” magazine, joined a Local Authority working party to produce the “Nursery Profile/School Transfer Document and ran a course entitled “Creating a Stimulating Learning Environment.”

    As her experience grew in early years she undertook more qualifications, completing her masters and EYPS.

  • nicola-watson-education

    Nicola Watson

    Nicola began her career as a teaching in the primary sector. She then went on to train and practice as a solicitor, during this time she became interested in Alternative Dispute Resolution and trained as a Lawyer Mediator working for many years with separating couples.

    In 2001 Nicola returned to teaching working mainly in Early Years but also in Key Stage 2, Art and SEN. During this time Nicola drew on her experiences as a mediator and became particularly interested in methods of teaching of social development. This formed the basis of her dissertation during her M.A. studies.

  • Karen Appleby

    Over the years Karen has had a range of roles within the Centre for Early Childhood including course leadership, Partnership Co-ordinator for the Foundation Degree in Early Years (delivered in collaboration with 8 partner colleges) and leadership role as Principal Lecturer.

    Karen’s teaching interests focus on children’s learning and development, communication, language and literacy. Her professional interest in reflective practice continues to inform her teaching, research and publications.

  • karen-hanson

    Dr Karen Hanson

    Karen completed her doctoral research into supporting students to develop a reflective disposition. This action research study enabled Karen to understand the significance of previous experiences and environmental influences upon undergraduate students. 

    Karen is particularly interested in the transition periods within different phases of education and understands how important it is to use a variety of perspectives through which to plan appropriate learning environments.


Where could it take you?

Every child deserves the very best care and education and the first five years of life are critical in children's development. High quality early years provision is important to help children achieve their potential, working in partnership with parents and families. Such a level of provision requires a highly motivated and well-trained workforce who like and want to be with children.

Early Years Teachers will have evidenced that they are innovative, reflective, and practical, with commitment and drive to improve outcomes for all children and raise the quality of early years provision. You will have evidenced that you have leadership skills and personal qualities able to influence changes in practice. You will be able to raise expectations, whilst supporting others to achieve their potential.

Early Years Teacher is a new status and awareness and recognition is still building. In time it is expected that as an Early Years Teacher you will gain the recognition you deserve and have the satisfaction of knowing that others understand your level of knowledge and understanding. You will also significantly enhance your career development prospects as Early Years Teachers may open the door to diverse opportunities for leadership and management in a range of early years settings.

Early years teachers inspire and encourage learning and provide children with the best possible educational start

Early Years Workforce Strategy, 2017

  • Case study

    Employer's perspective

    "My EYT is passionate, caring, reflective and a strong leader of practice but the rest of my staff team also display these qualities so why employ an Early Years Teacher (EYT)?

    "The benefit to my business of employing an EYT is that I know she has demonstrated her beliefs and practices to experienced mentors and assessors, encouraging critical self-scrutiny and deep personal reflection. This ‘laying bare’ of her practice has given her a professionalism, confidence and self-belief in her knowledge, skills and abilities and she has developed a deeper understanding of what she does and why she does it. 

    "I employ an EYT in my setting because she shares my ethos of care and she can explain her reasoning and passion to others, including Ofsted. The child’s best interests are central to everything we all do but, as an active researcher, she offers a hands on leadership to my team, not only by demonstrating exemplary practice but because her motivation and enthusiasm is infectious and we have developed a reinvigorated community of learning and development for our children (and adults) as a result of employing her.

    "Early Years learning and development strategies are in a state of constant change but employing an Early Years Teacher has offered a professionalism, confidence and enthusiasm to my team that I was finding difficult to instil by myself."

    Jacky Avins
    Nursery Manager, Little Growbags

  • Case study

    Graduate's perspective

    “I started the EYITT study as I wanted to gain a qualification to increase my knowledge in leadership in Early Years. I was passionate to learn more about how to implement and lead change in the Early Years Profession. I was discussing further study options on a childminder forum and heard great feedback from previous EYITT and the benefits of the course to childminders. The opportunity of a funded position available was a bonus to my financial situation too.

    “At the start of the course I was a qualified 'Outstanding' Ofsted registered Childminder. Then due to an unexpected house move and relocating, my EYITT mentor head hunted me for a position at her nursery as an Early Years Teacher.

    “The journey to complete the EYITT study was in all honesty a rollercoaster of a ride. But one looking back now, you would want to never end. There was a few tears at the start and a few 'How am I going to juggle all this?' moments but the support I received from the University of Worcester, my mentor and the parents I childminded for was incredible. I was able to complete all three masters modules alongside the EYITT training and gained a greater depth of knowledge that I now use in everyday practice. Whilst on the course, you get to make some great long lasting supportive relationships with other EYITT students. Even now, qualifying we are all still in touch supporting each other and sharing good practice.

    “The mentoring opportunity the university provides was a great experience. The university was able to support me by finding a mentor who had not only completed the course themselves but who also worked with early years children every day. This allowed for 'real' conversations/emails and understanding when I was facing practical challenges.

    “Overall I had a great experience at the University of Worcester and came away achieving more than I thought I would. I am especially enjoying my new role as an Early Years Teacher based in a day nursery.”

    Natalie Rainbird-Hitchins, Early Years Teacher

  • Case study

    Employer's perspective

    "Early Years settings need Early Years Teachers! In order for children to achieve excellent outcomes, they need excellent staff to support them to reach these.

    "Our setting has had the benefit of having EYT students on placement and then the privilege of employing one of them afterwards. The knowledge and skills that an EYT brings with them is invaluable. It has a huge impact on the provision for the children and also the professional development of the rest of the staff team.

    "I would encourage anyone with a passion for Early Years to undertake this excellent training at the University of Worcester."

    Alyson Burton,
    Nursery Manager Duckling Day Nursery


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How much will it cost?

Funding - Graduate Employment based route

The National College for Teaching and Leadership fund the course fees.

Employers* will receive £7,000 to help them support their employee whilst they are on the EYITT programme.  Suitable events which this sum might cover are as follows:

  • supply cover whilst your employee attends the university on the GEB programme
  • travel costs for your employee to attend university/placements
  • attendance at short courses your employee selects to fill any gaps in knowledge or skill that have become apparent
  • time spent on personal reading and research necessary to meet the standards
  • visits to, or short placements at other settings where your employee can gain necessary top-up experience
  • time spent by your employee in direct preparation for assessment (writing up their tasks, collection and collation of the evidence file etc.) and/or:
  • salary enhancement for your employee whilst they are on their programme/one-off payment award on achieving Early Years Teacher Status

For more information about funding visit Get Into Teaching.

*Please note that sole traders and business partners are not eligible for an employer incentive, they are classed as self-employed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). If the early years business is a limited company the owners and those working for the company are not classed as self-employed and can be eligible for an employer incentive

Funding - Graduate Entry Route

The National College for Teaching and Leadership funds the course fees. 

A bursary is available to trainees with the following degree classifications:

  • First     £5000
  • 2:1       £4000
  • 2:2       £2000

For more information about funding visit Get Into Teaching.


How do you apply?

To apply please download and submit an application form.

Before completing the application form please read the accompanying guidance notes

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

EYITT Programme Administrator

01905 855526

EYITT Course Leader

Samantha Sutton-Tsang
01905 855398