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This course is designed for those working within the Early Years who want to develop and improve their professional practice in ways which will have a real impact on quality in the workplace.

The certificate explores principles of pedagogy within the particular context of Early Years provision. It unpacks the values that we hold as early years educators and how these impact upon the choices that we make in our work with children. The modules consider how we, as individuals, work in partnership for the best outcomes of the child and how our practice is influenced by policy. All modules are underpinned by principles of leading practice and how this can be done most effectively and ethically.

With a focus on the interrelationship of theory with practice, the modules will develop understanding of leadership roles as exemplary models and ‘change agents’ for improvement. There will be opportunity to develop reflective skills and build a sound base of self-knowledge and critical awareness.




Key Features

  • The course is suitable for Early Childhood graduates, but also those with alternative qualifications who wish to move into a lead practitioner role in Early Childhood. In such cases a commitment to understanding the unique approach of early childhood pedagogy is necessary.
Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry Requirements

Either a first or second class Honours Degree or evidence of equivalent professional experience and achievement. Individual previous experience of practice with children aged 0-8 years is essential. A significant element of this degree is critical reflection upon theory in practice, so current practice with children, although not essential, will be of great benefit.


Study options

The course can be pursued full or part-time. It can be completed as a stand-alone certificate, or as a component of a Masters in Education.

Course content

What will you study?


  • Policy Influence in the Early Years 
  • Communication and Collaboration in Leading Early Years Practice 
  • Effective Early Years Practice and Pedagogy
Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

The three modules that make up the PGCert are taught flexibly. All content is delivered online with the option of meeting your tutor for 1:1 tutorials. There are weekly directed study tasks and opportunities to interact with other students through discussion boards and with your tutors through an online journal. You will be directed to a wide range of resources for your independent study. Pastoral support is available through the personal academic tutoring system as well as the specialist support that is available through a variety of student and academic support services. Library services, in particular, are always on hand to support you in your study.


You are taught through a combination of wide range of learning and teaching activities, these include: weekly Online Learning Activities, critical analysis of theory, policy and evidence, opportunities for dialogue and discussion, personal reflection, 1:1 tutorials (face to face or via Skype), the sharing of student ideas through discussion boards for peer review and response. In addition to these activities there will be opportunities to attend workshops, taught sessions and conferences. 

A well as those methods of teaching mentioned above, meetings with personal academic tutors should be scheduled on at least 3 occasions during your course.

As this course is delivered flexibly, there are no mandatory face-to-face teaching hours, although, as mentioned above, a number of opportunities are provided.

Independent self-study

You are expected to undertake on average 15 hours of personal self-study per week. This may vary week to week, especially around assessment periods.

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 team includes Dr Carla Solvason, Samantha Sutton-Tsang and Alison Prowle.

Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and all course lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.


The course provides opportunities to check understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ tasks throughout each module. This may involve gaining individual feedback from your tutor through your private learning journal, or feedback from your peers via discussion boards. Each module has one formal or ‘summative’ assessment which is graded and will count towards the overall grade.

Assessment methods include analytical reflections on both theory and practice, critical analysis of theory, power point presentations of key ideas and essays.

The formal, summative assessment requirements for an individual student over the year of the course is: 3 x 3000 word assignments.


You will receive feedback on both informal and formal assessments. 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.


Where could it take you?

The breadth of this certificate provides opportunities for progression to roles as lead practitioners in a variety of children’s services, schools and settings, including leadership and management roles.


How much will it cost?


The current fees can be found within the tuition fees document on our figure out finances page.

How to apply