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Early Childhood (Professional Practice) BA (Hons)

What makes Early Childhood (Professional Practice) at Worcester special?

The early years of a child’s life are characterised by the wonder of discovery. This is when a child’s brain develops the majority of its neurons and is at its most receptive to learning. Our emphasis on professional practice means you will enjoy excellent opportunities to build your expertise through a range of placements in early years settings and the wider field of regulated early childhood provision.  There are also international opportunities available for overseas work experience and the course can support progression to social care, PGCE and other similar courses.

The degree has been approved as being ‘full and relevant’ by the National College for Teaching Learning – this means that after completing and passing the practice-based learning elements as well as the associated underpinning theoretical knowledge of the degree, students can be included in the Early Years Foundation Stage ratios after level 5 provided you have a GCSE pass in maths and English (or equivalent).


Read about Routledge authors Sandra Cheeseman (Macquarie University) and Rosie Walker (Senior Lecturer at The University of Worcester, Department of Children and Families) and their book Pedagogies for Leading Practice here.

Key features

  • Access to the expertise of the staff at the Department for Children and Families at the University of Worcester – we have a growing international reputation for publishing and research
  • Practice based learning is an integral part of the degree
  • Allocation of a personal academic tutor to support you in your academic work and as you make the transition to university life.         

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Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?


UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

Our UCAS tariff points for entry to this course are 88, however we are happy to have a conversation with you if you do not meet this requirement but have relevant experience.

GCSE English and Maths are a requirement at grade C/4 or above. If you are an international student you will need to have an equivalent qualification and a good level of English (ILTs 6.5).       

Please contact Nicola Stobbs via or 01905 542506.

Other information

You will need to have an enhanced application made to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Practice-based learning

Emma, Amber and Frances talk about practice-based learning at Worcester.

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Course content

What will you study?

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year 1


  • Theory into Practice
  • Professional Practice
  • Tuning into Children
  • Transmission to Transformation - Academic Study Skills within Higher Education
  • Parents and Professional – Positive Relationships
  • Planning for Enabling Environments      

Year 2


  • Theory into Practice
  • Professional Practice
  • The Developing Child in the Family, Community and Culture
  • Continued Academic and Professional Development


  • Children’s Communication and Language
  • Special Education Needs, Disability and Inclusive Practice
  • The Impact of Adverse Life Experiences
  • Expressive and Creative Arts in the Early Years; Engaging Children
  • Optional Language Modules

Year 3


  • Theory into Practice
  • Professional Practice 
  • Deconstructing and Reconstructing Childhood; Whose Childhood is it?
  • Professional Practice and Advanced Research (Independent Study)


  • Developmental Play
  • A Curriculum for Thinking Children
  • Children Becoming Literate
  • Contemporary Issues in Child Health Care Provision

During our first week of university staff made sure that we were not only academically prepared but took the time to get to know us as well. I was so nervous at first but the staff made all of feel very at ease and excited to start the course.

Daryll Crossfield, Level 4 BA in Early Childhood (Professional Practice)

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 lectures and seminars.  Seminars enable the discussion and development of understanding of topics covered in lectures.  In some modules, problem-based learning is used as a teaching tool. Some of your learning will be in groups giving you the opportunity to explore topics.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.

It is a mandatory part of the course that you complete 210 hours of practice-based learning each year of the course in a range of early years educational settings. 

Contact time

In a typical week you will have around 12 contact hours of teaching.  The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the final year you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study. 

Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • 4 hours of large group lectures
  • 8 hours of seminars of around 30 students
  • 3 x 2 weeks of practice-based learning each academic year

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 22 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 and presentations.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment and extensive electronic learning resources.   


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, presentations and a final year independent studies project.

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1: 5 x 3,000 word essays

Year 2: 5 x 3,000 word essays

Year 3: 4 x 3,000 word essays + 9,000 word Independent Study 


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework.  Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors 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 academic, visiting lecturers and professional practitioners. The teaching team for Early Childhood includes teachers, early years practitioners, social workers, a family law specialist and youth workers.

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 informed by the research we carry out. All of the lecturers within Early Childhood have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows, or Senior Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles. 


  • Niki_Stobbs

    Nicola Stobbs

    Nicola began her professional life as a primary school teacher.  During this time she wrote articles for “Practical Pre-school” magazine, joined Local Authority working parties, ran courses and was invited to contribute to the “National Primary Strategies.”

    Nicola undertook her MA in Early Childhood and researched ways of supporting children who are socially withdrawn.  She joined the University as a member of staff in the Department for Children and Families in 2012 and took on the role of Course Leader for the BA in Early Childhood (Professional Practice) in 2017.  She is committed to ensuring that students have a fulfilling experience as they prepare for work with children and families.


Where could it take you?


The care and developing of young children is a rapidly expanding area, offering graduates a wide range of career opportunities. Early Childhood (Professional Practice) BA (Hons) will equip you with the skills needed to find employment within the health, social care and education professions. You will also have a suitable foundation for a range of careers in social work, children's charities, nurseries, day-care centres, schools and the health service.

For example:

  • Supervisory roles within Early Childhood settings
  • SEND
  • Social care
  • Children’s charities e.g. Barnados
  • Day Care Nurseries, pre-schools and play- work
  • Family and Children’s Centres
  • Early education: Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA)
  • Health and welfare services
  • Local Authority Children’s Services
  • Postgraduate qualifications in Social Work, play therapy, teaching and research degrees.

  • Case study

    Lauren Clutterbuck, Early Childhood Student

    Starting university was the next big step to following my dream of working within the Early Years. I decided to take a gap year before starting university, however I was sceptical and nervous about the next year ahead. Having now passed my first year, I can honestly say that it was more fun than I expected, meeting new people who I now call my close friends and being greeted with the welcoming feel of the Worcester lecturers made university life much easier.

    My experience so far has been a learning curve, as I have overcome challenges within my own self-directed study, having to motivate myself to read more around my subject, whilst reflecting on my learning experiences to help with future development within my practice based learning.

    My first year at university has taught me that development is an ongoing process that must continue throughout my time in Higher Education, in order to come out with the best degree I can achieve. Many barriers have, and will continue to occur during this journey, thus making me realise that perseverance and resilience are key skills in succeeding throughout university.

    For me, staying on top my work throughout the year was the best thing I could have done. It meant that I always met the deadlines and allowed me to proof read and edit my work before submitting it, to remove any mistakes made. Therefore, this along with the few skills I mentioned would be my best advice to you when starting your course in September.

  • Case study

    Student view

    "The BA Hons Early Childhood studies is a very engaging course, we are provided with opportunities to debate concepts and ideas risen during in lecture which usually lead to insight debates between myself and my cohort.

    "We are required to complete a certain hours within placement and I feel if you go to placement with an open-mind and a willingness to learn and development, placement can be fun and so beneficial especially when it comes to discussion and assignment."

  • early-childhood-case-study

    Case study

    Student view

    "I chose Worcester because it is close enough to my home that I am able to go home when necessary but mainly because Worcester is beautiful, with the river and the cathedral the city is very inviting and welcoming and the university seems to be a centre aspect of the city, such as the hive.

    "You begin to feel like a member of this small community which is very nice especially as I come from Birmingham."

Prospectus cover - students outside our historic City Campus buildings

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How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international (non-EU) students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £12,400 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2019/20 will be £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module and £2,313 per 30-credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £102 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £165 per week (2019/20 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page

  • scholarship-winners-with-jackie-and-david-green


    Academic Scholarship Winners

    Here are some of our Early Childhood (Professional Practice) Scholarship winners for the last academic year, Kelly, Caitlin, Annie and Lauren, receiving their £1,000 prize from David Green, our Vice-Chancellor. The Scholarship winners achieved 5 grade As in their summative assessments.  We are so proud of our students for this amazing achievement.

  • emma-bailey

    Case study

    Emma Bailey, Early Childhood Student

    My name is Emma Bailey and I joined the University of Worcester as a mature student embarking on the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Professional Practice. I had initially planned on starting the following September but was offered a space in clearing so the move back in to education was a sudden one after 3 years solely working and looking after my young family.

    I naively (and arrogantly) thought the most challenging aspect would be writing academically and thought that due to my position in practice (in a home based childcare setting) that whilst the discussion might be interesting, my experience with children in the EYFS would leave little to be gained from the course other than the recognition that comes with being degree qualified.

    I was right about the discussion, I have thoroughly enjoyed the exploration of theory with passionate and hugely experienced professionals and really feel that upon leaving this course I will miss this level of provocation and insight as it has without a doubt enriched my practice. However, I have gained a far deeper understanding than I had ever anticipated, on aspects of practice that I had previously taken for granted, such as the many discourses of childhood or the meaning of the term ‘quality’.

    During my time on the course I became a Student Representative which allowed me to see the importance that UW places on the student experience and on improvement, I have participated in course management committee meetings and Student Representative clinics and have had the opportunity to volunteer at UW open days to speak with prospective students.

    This commitment to student experience was only illustrated further when I had my third child during my second year and I felt truly supported by the whole teaching team, allowing me to end my second year with grades that I am proud of. My son has also been welcomed warmly at institute wide planning meetings, enabling me to remain an active advocate for the student voice.

    The Centre for Children and Families have made me feel like one of the team, they have welcomed my contribution to their writing, and my speaking at events and made clear that the student researcher is as valuable as the academic writers we reference.

    Myself and 3 others of my cohort were invited to a celebratory evening where we gained an Academic Achievement Award and a scholarship of £1000 each for our attainment. This just highlights the emphasis with which the university celebrates success and hard work. I have also been supported through gaining the Worcester Award which consolidates work experience and personal development and without a doubt will come with another chance for celebration.

    I genuinely don’t want to leave UW, I feel completely at home here and have never known such an atmosphere of professional and personal development. People here ask you your aspirations and work with you in achieving them, providing opportunities to gain experience, for connecting with academics further afield and working closely in developing your employability far beyond giving you a qualification.

    Luckily for me there is such a thing as postgraduate education so I don’t have to leave just yet.


How do you apply?

Applying through UCAS

Early Childhood (Professional Practice) BA (Single Honours) X310 BA/EL


UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.


Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.



Apply now via UCAS

Get in touch

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

Admissions Office

01905 855111