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What makes Early Years at Worcester special?

The Early Years (0-8 years) Foundation Degree is a new and innovative course for people who are working, or who aspire to work, in the Early Years sector. This Foundation Degree is suitable for individuals who want to develop their professional practice to take on leadership and management roles within Early Years Education.

It is designed to fit around your needs and if you find it difficult to attend regular classes, but would like to develop your knowledge, understanding and skills, then this is the course for you.

This flexible degree option allows you to study online and meet face to face on a Saturday at the University eight times per year. Part-time/full-time opportunities to study face to face at a local college are also available on the Early Years (0-8) Foundation degree. It is only the University of Worcester that delivers the Flexible and Distributed Learning (FDL) programme.

Throughout the degree, you will be offered the opportunity to develop the appropriate professional attributes, knowledge and understanding required for the care and education of children within national and international contexts. This interconnected approach is reflected in a range of assignments designed to encourage you to consider a variety of perspectives and the development of critical skills in relation to theory applied to practice.  

A recording of a 'Coffee and Chat' session will introduce you to the Foundation degree, give you the opportunity to hear from current students and find out more about working in the field of Early Years.    

Has your L3 qualification been affected by a lack of placement opportunity during the Covid pandemic or do you have a ‘knowledge only’ L3 qualification?

Our FdA Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) is recognised by the Department for Education and Ofsted as providing you with a qualification that meets the full and relevant criteria necessary for you to be included in the ratios within an Ofsted registered setting. Assessed Practice hours, completed as part of the FdA Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) will support your future employment by providing you with the opportunity to gain a full and relevant qualification by the time you graduate. This pathway is suitable for students who may have studied A Levels or subjects not related to Early Years Education.

Please contact Samantha Sutton-Tsang for further information.



Key features

  • 96% of students in work or undertaking further study upon completion of their degree 
  • Enhancement of your academic and professional development whilst you work
  • Provides theoretical insights on your professional practice and develop your leadership potential
  • The professional practice pathway has 'Full and Relevant' status with the Department for Education
  • Flexible learning means that during a normal week students are able to engage in their learning activities at a time that suits their personal situation. This is supported through 8 online learning activities released during the year for each module that is studied, together with 8 Saturday workshop sessions and 2 Summer School days.
  • Early Years conference in February   
  • Opportunity to progress to a BA Top-up degree and to Early Years Teaching
  • International opportunities available 

Register your interest

Enter your details below and we will keep you up to date with useful information about studying at the University of Worcester.

Pathway options

This foundation degree is designed to be flexible, dependent on your career aspirations and you are given a choice of pathways: 

  • Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) pathway. This pathway has 'Full and Relevant' status with the DfE and allows you to meet the Early Years Educator (EYE) standards and achieve 'Full and Relevant' status by the end of your course. This is important to employers as it lets them count you in EYFS staff:child ratios at level 3.
  • Early Years (0-8) pathway. This is the best pathway for those who already have a 'Full and Relevant' level 3 qualification. It enables you to further develop your professional practice within early years or to progress to a teaching career.
Joanne Knight

Joanne Knight

Jo studied the FdA Early Years (0-8 years) Professional practice, Flexible and Distributed Learning.

“I have really enjoyed these past two years studying FDEY, especially the journey it has taken me on. Sharing experiences and personal stories has changed my focus and inspired me further to be an advocate for all children, especially children with SEND and mental health difficulties. I was able to research and focus upon topics which were significant to myself.

It has also made look at my own practice and the environment around the child in our setting. The course has given me the confidence to explain my opinions and make a difference to the children I teach. I was fortunate in my setting to be able to put some of my ideas into practice, creating a natural loose parts area in the classroom and improving our forest school area.
In this past year I have changed my job to work alongside children with SEND to extend my knowledge and improve my own practice before I go on to further my career. This is something I would have never thought of doing before starting the course but in a term, I have already learned so much.”

Lauren Morton

Lauren Morton

Lauren studied the FdA Early Years (0-8 years), Flexible and Distributed Learning.

“I really enjoyed how flexible the course was as it made it easier to complete alongside working full time. The online learning activities were really informative and the reading lists provided were super helpful when completing the tasks. All of the face to face sessions are well taught and contained so much valuable information. Even though most of the course is distance learning, all of the tutors are on hand to provide extra support should you need it. I have made some great friends over the last two years who have shared some of the same experiences as me. This has also made me look at my work from perhaps a different perspective. I found the small-scale research module (FDEY2004/5) so helpful and have loved researching into a topic which I have a passion for.”

Bradley Layton

Bradley Layton

Bradley studied the FdA Early Years (0-8 years) Professional practice, Flexible and Distributed Learning.

“I worked in hospitality for over five years, but when lockdown hit, it got me to reconsider what I wanted to do with my career. I had previous experience working with children and managed to find this course that would allow me to work around my work schedule.”

“I hope to become a primary school teacher as I am hoping to complete my top-up course to give me an undergraduate degree which will get me one step closer to achieving my goals.”

“I found the psychology behind working with children very interesting. I am often very anxious of how people perceive me so having the knowledge has helped me to develop my morale compass when it comes to being a practitioner. I started this course having very little knowledge or experience of working with children but having the knowledge from university and experiences in placement have really helped me to get closer to achieving my goals.”

Rhian Witts

Rhian Witts

“I originally went to University in 2019 to study psychology, however I dropped out after a few months. I then took a gap year working at a care home and then decided to give University another try but this time living at home. I got myself a full time paid job in a nursery.

Halfway through the course I moved away to Brighton so I faced the challenge of long distance study. This was at times difficult to get back to attend the university. However, the staff were really helpful and I was able to join online whenever I couldn’t attend physically due to the small group of students in my cohort.

The skills that you learn on the course are so practical and have really helped me in practice. I definitely feel that I am a better, more empathetic and considerate practitioner because of this course. I loved the freedom that came with a lot of the modules, which allowed you to focus on a key area, for example I focused a lot of my studies on inclusive practice which was very useful and enjoyable. As well as this, through the course I created a group of friends which helped to support me during my studies.

My number one piece of advice would be to ask questions and talk to people if you are unsure. Ask as many questions as you can, email your tutors. I had several 1:1 tutorials which I found so useful and helpful and would definitely recommend.”

Meghan Gellatly

Megan Gellatly

Megan graduated from Early Years Foundation Degree, Flexible and Distributed Learning Pathway, Full time 2021.

"Studying for the Early Years Foundation Degree at the University of Worcester has been fantastic. The course is well organised, well-resourced with knowledgeable lecturers. I have truly enjoyed every second of studying full-time over two years" said Megan.

"Working full time and completing a full-time degree comes with its fair share of work, however, the outcome is so worth it. This course allows you to work alongside completing a degree, this is a fantastic way of gaining a higher-level qualification while working.

One thing that always sticks with me is that you have all the assignment deadlines before you start the course. This allowed me to plan and ensure that I was prepared for the year. 

Applying my newfound knowledge to practice has been a highlight throughout. I have been able to reflect upon my practice to enable positive change, observe children's learning and development and understand that safeguarding is about doing the right thing, not just about doing things right and so much more.  I have been able to see first-hand the positive effects of the course on my own learning and development and how this has created great and meaningful experiences for children." 

Sally Eldridge - Early Year foundation degree graduate

Sally Eldridge - Preschool Manager

I enrolled on the Foundation Degree to gain further knowledge within a new role. Although I developed into a confident practitioner, there were several challenges to overcome such as studying alongside a full time job and having a hectic home life (3 children, 2 dogs and a husband). Being Dyslexic was also an issue, but I received great help and support from the University. 

The Foundation course provided me with a deeper understanding of child learning and development, and given me greater confidence to deal with children, parents, and multi-agencies and to talk in front of an audience. I enjoyed it so much, I went on to complete and achieve a 2:1 in Integrated working with children and families BA (Hons).     

young man with a beard and a dark top

Dale Ramsey - Ofsted Inspector and Nursery Operations Manager

My journey began when I worked as an apprentice Early Years Educator alongside my full-time college studies. This is where I realised I had a passion for offering children inspiring experiences and opportunities to enhance their learning and development. I was keen to explore the impact that I could have on this aspect in a leadership or management role. My biggest challenge was in balancing a full-time job and studies, however, by being proactive with time management and work load planning, I was able to overcome this.

The course has developed my professional confidence massively and encouraged me to be an extremely reflexive practitioner, leader and inspector.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

32 UCAS Tariff points

  • Minimum of four GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above
  • All entrants have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 (formerly grade C) in the GCSE examinations in English Language or English Literature and Mathematics. Alternatively, we offer an equivalency test if you don’t have the required GCSE grade or Level 2 equivalent to apply for the FdA Early Years (UCAS Code X312).
  • Where a student does not already hold a GCSE or level 2 qualification equivalent in English and/or Maths qualification, they must present evidence of this before the end of Level 4 to remain on the FdA EY (0-8) (Professional Practice) pathway (UCAS code X313) to achieve the DfE ‘full and relevant’ status. The DfE have a published list of acceptable Level 2 qualifications.
  • Acceptable qualifications include a minimum of 1 A Level or an equivalent Level 3 qualification, for example the CACHE Diploma or EdExcel BTEC National Diploma in Children's Care, Learning and Development
  • Through our non-standard entry route we welcome applications from experienced and mature practitioners who do not have the above qualifications.
  • Further information can be obtained by contacting the Admissions Office on 01905 855111

Other information

A current Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) is required.

You will also be subject to the usual prohibition list and criminal record checks.

If you have lived, studied or worked 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.

T Levels may be used to meet the entry tariff requirements for this course. Find out more about T levels as UCAS tariff points here.

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Course content

Course content

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. 

Year 1

  • The Developing Child
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Playful Pedagogy
  • Introduction to Work-Based Learning or Theory for Early Years Educator Foundation Graduate    

Year 2

  • Childhood, a Global Perspective
  • Policy into practice
  • Safeguarding children's welfare in the Early years and Integrating our work with other agencies
  • Small scale practice-based enquiry and future progression or Early educator small scale practice-based enquiry
Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

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.

To support the transition, 2 summer school days are planned to introduce new students to the university, their peers and flexible learning. 


This mode of delivery involves a blended learning approach. You will be able to organise your own learning during the week to fit in with work and personal commitments. This will be supported through a combination of face to face workshops and Online Learning Activities. It is expected that you will engage in a significant amount of independent study time online, supported by the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Blackboard. Students choosing to study in this mode require a basic level of ICT competence and computer and software which enables access to information via the VLE and the web.

In addition, contact with personal academic tutors through the online classroom will be scheduled twice a year. You also have an opportunity to arrange additional meetings with tutors either face to face, online or telephone.

You will be expected to engage in practice-based learning for a minimum of 385 hours per year as a full-Time student, or 257 hours per year as a PT student. This equates to approximately 3 days a week for full-time students and 2 days per week for part-time. This can be in the form of paid work or as a student placement.

Contact time

Students studying through the Flexible and Distributed Learning mode of delivery will have 6 hours of contact time per module, delivered through 8 Saturday Workshops, and 18 hours of directed teaching delivered through 8 x Online Learning Activities (OLA) released throughout the year.

It is expected that students will spend 21 hours per week (PT) and 28 hours per week (FT) on independent study linked to the OLAs and independent reading and research. In addition, each module will have 24 hours of tutor-supported directed study throughout the year. Summer school activities support transition onto, and progression within, the degree.

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 6 hours of personal self-study per module per week. Typically, this will involve completing OLA activities and independent reading and research related to specific modules. The Resource List identifies key readings, together with OLA recommendations and signposting during F2F sessions.

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.

Teaching staff

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 degree is delivered through a partnership which includes senior academics, UW registered lecturers and practice professionals.

Teaching is based on research; 30 per cent of course lecturers and partnership team members 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.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ assignments. Each module has one or more formative assessments for which feedback is received but these do not count towards to overall module grade.

Each module also has one, or two, ‘summative’ assessments. These are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Each type of assessment, both formative and summative, are supported by Assignment Briefs which clearly identify the task and the assessment criteria that are to be met on completion of the assignment. A comprehensive assessment criteria grid which has been developed by the team, based on the University’s generic descriptors, is included in the feedback process for both formative and summative assessments. Assessment methods include a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, presentations and a final year practice-based research project. 

Students will be assessed using a variety of methods including essays, workshops and presentations.

Formative feedback is provided through responses to academic and practice-based learning activities, including reflective journal entries. Interactive face-to-face and online learning and teaching approaches, including student evaluation of learning, provide further opportunity for timely formative activity. It is designed to encourage students to reflect and develop their responses and writing prior to summative assessment.

The form of summative assessment (for each module) is determined by its appropriateness in allowing the student to demonstrate they have understood and can meet the learning outcomes with potential for achievement across the full range of grades.


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.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

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 degree is delivered through a partnership which includes senior academics, University of Worcester registered lecturers and practice professionals.

Teaching is based on research; 30 per cent of course lecturers and partnership team members 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 or through the respective FE college website.  

Here are a few of the current members of the department who teach on this course:

Samantha Sutton-Tsang smiling at camera

Samantha Sutton-Tsang

Samantha Sutton-Tsang is a Senior Lecturer for the Department for Children and Families and Quality Co-ordinator for the Institute of Education.

Currently Course Leader for the Foundation Degree in Early Years (Flexible and Distributed Learning), and Technology Enhanced Learning Lead within the Department.

Samantha lectures on the BA (hons) Integrated Working with Children and Families and Foundation Degree in Early Years and has previous experience lecturing on the BA (hons) Early Childhood Studies (Professional Practice), FdA Collaborative Working with Children, Young People and Families as well as leading the Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) programme.

Before joining the Department for Children and Families at the University of Worcester, Samantha taught in an FE college to teach Early Years and Health and Social Care programmes.  Whilst at the college, Samantha was also course leader and delivered the Foundation Degree in Early Years, to enable students on Early Years pathways to progress onto Higher Education within the FE college. 

Samantha 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, she has worked in a range of early years settings during her training and undergraduate studies at the University of Worcester. 

Michelle Malomo

Michelle Malomo

Michelle Malomo is a Senior Lecturer in the Department for Children and Families within the School of Education. Michelle lectures on a number of courses within the Department for Children and Families. She is the Partnership Co-ordinator for the Foundation Degree in Early Years. 

Michelle is a qualified Early Years and Playwork Practitioner with experience in both the private and voluntary sector. Her experience includes management with the Early Years sector youth and children’s development work within the voluntary sector. Michelle has worked in a range of settings and has been responsible for the development of social action projects with children, young people and families.


Simone Acton

Simone is the Education Administrator for the FdA in Early Years and Leading Culture Change in Safeguarding PG Cert. She also provides administrative support to academic staff within the Department for Children and Families teams, who run these programmes as part of their wider roles.

Simone is the central point of contact for staff, students and a range of external organisations including partner colleges. She is responsible for ensuring the efficient management of all administration relating to the FdA in Early Years and Leading Culture Change in Safeguarding PG Cert as well as making significant contributions to the management of programme quality.

lecturer sitting back in her chair

Janet Harvell

Having originally trained as a junior/secondary teacher Janet became interested in the early years when she became involved in the local preschool setting as a parent, volunteer helper and committee member. This then led to becoming an Associate Manager of a 44-place day nursery. During this time Janet became an assessor and verifier for NVQs in Early Years and also worked as a freelance Ofsted Early Years Inspector.

Janet has lived, studied and worked abroad (Zambia, Malawi, Hong Kong, USA and Saudi Arabia) and from this comes a passion for raising awareness and understanding of the impact that different cultures have on children and families.


Emma Bailey

Prior to commencing her PhD, Emma worked as a Primary Teacher in a local First School and continues to work closely with several educational settings throughout her studies. She teaches on a number of undergraduate courses at the University and is a member of the Social Pedagogy Research Interest Group.

Prior to this she was a leader of a small Early Years setting.

Olivia Storey

Olivia Storey

Olivia became a qualified lecturer in 2008 and taught in FE colleges for over 13 years. During this time, she has been an Essential Skills Co-ordinator and Lecturer, Course Leader and Lecturer for the National Certificate, National Diploma and Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care and Lecturer in Early Years and Teacher Training. She then moved to the University of Worcester in 2021 and is a Lecturer on the Foundation Degree in Early Years and the BA (Hons) Integrated Working with Children and Families.




FdA Early Years (0-8 years) graduates should have knowledge of the education and care of children from birth to 8 years, giving foundation for a range of careers working with children, families and other professional disciplines, including social work, health services and children's charities. Many of our students go onto leadership and management roles with careers working in children and family support services, early years education and care.


Some examples of what past students are doing now:

  • Higher Level Teaching Assistant
  • Early Years / Children’s Centre manager
  • Early Years Improvement Advisor
  • Family support worker
  • Parenting support worker
  • Project workers
  • College placement officer
  • Play development officer
  • Inclusion mentor
  • Charity support worker

Those graduating from the degree programme may apply to study for an Honours degree in Integrated Working with Children & Families BA (Hons) Top-up degree or other related subjects.

From this, it is possible to apply for a Masters programme or PGCE (Qualified Teacher Status) course providing you have the required entry requirements. It is also a suitable basis for a range of careers in social work, children's charities, early years settings, schools and the Health Service.


Two students are walking next to each other and smiling

Careers and Employability

Our Graduates pursue exciting and diverse careers in a wide variety of employment sectors.

Find out how we can support you to achieve your potential

"I just want to say as an older student on the flexible pathway the support you give students is tremendous and I would recommend studying at Worcester to everyone"

Zoe, FdA EY FdL student


Fees and funding

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard fee for full-time home and EU undergraduate students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £16,200 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 enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the academic year 2024/25 are £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20-credit module, £2,312 per 30-credit module, £3,083 per 40-credit module, £3,469 per 45-credit module and £4,625 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for essential books, stationery, printing and photocopying.

Travel costs for placements vary depending on the location of school or setting and your mode of transport.

DBS ( Disclosure and Barring Service) - Students must have a current Enhanced DBS to be able to work in practice. The cost and process of an application can be found at

Students will need to apply for a new one if they are not already signed up to the DBS update service.


All eligible students should be entitled to a student loan to cover the cost of their fees. Find out more about student finance.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Chestnut Halls' at £131 per week to 'Oak Halls' at £221 per week (2024/25 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How to apply

Applying through UCAS

X313 Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) pathway

X312 Early Years (0-8) pathway

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.             


Part-time applications

Please make part-time applications to study at the University of Worcester via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Admissions office on 01905 855111 or

Apply online FdA Early Years - Flexible & Distributed Learning (0-8) - (Part time) FdA Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) - Flexible & Distributed Learning (part-time)

Get in touch

To find out more about the course, contact the University of Worcester:

University of Worcester
Admissions Office
01905 855111

Samantha Sutton-Tsang
Course Leader FdA Early Years (0-8)/Fda Early Years (0-8) (Professional Practice) FDL  
01905 855398 

Michelle Malomo    
FdA Early Years Partnership Co-ordinator    
01905 542075

Simone Acton
Partnership Administrator
01905 855036