Skip Navigation

Early Years Education and Leadership FdA

Support children’s learning and development from birth to five. Make a positive change in early years settings. On our foundation degree in Early Years Education and Leadership, you’ll develop the knowledge and tools to become the best practitioner you can be.


Course length: 2 years part-time
Start dates: September 2024
September 2025
Location: Edge Hill University
or Holy Cross College and University Centre (Bury)
Example offers: E (A Level) or P (BTEC) View full entry criteria
Subject(s): Education and Teaching
Faculty: Education
Department: Early Years Education
early years education leadership

Recent college or sixth form leaver? Currently working in an early years setting? Experienced early years practitioner or leader? Wherever you’re at in your career journey, this course is for you. We’ll support you to make a positive impact on babies and young children’s lives, their families and communities.

This unique foundation degree is designed to offer flexible entry requirements for all. Take the opportunity to gain a higher education qualification and boost your career progression. Our inclusive entry criteria means that we’ll consider three years’ experience in the early years sector instead of traditional entry requirements.

Already working in an early years setting? This course is ideal for you. Our flexible delivery mode is designed to suit busy working lives. With a maximum of six classroom-based sessions per year, you’ll be able to access the rest of your learning online with the support of expert tutors.

On this two-year foundation degree, we’ll teach you the theory and practice behind working or leading in the early years sector. You’ll build professional skills and confidence, preparing you for further success in your career or future learning. When you graduate, you’ll have the option to progress to our one-year BA (Hons) conversion degrees in Early Years Education or Early Years Leadership.

The course is mapped to Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies and meets the full and relevant DfE criteria to be counted in the staff:child ratios of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Holy Cross logo

What you'll study

In Year 1, we’ll help you to develop key personal, professional and academic skills. This will set you up to succeed throughout the course. We’ll teach you best practice and the principles of working with families and communities. And we’ll also explore the theoretical perspectives concerning early years education – including children’s wellbeing, communication, social and emotional development.

Compulsory modules:

Expand all
Children’s Wellbeing, Behaviour and Personal Social Emotional Development
Developing Personal, Professional and Academic Skills
Preparing for Research
Theoretical Perspectives on Early Years Education
Working with Families, Communities and Other Professionals
Young Children As Communicators

In Year 2, you’ll build on your knowledge of working with babies and children under three. We’ll also explore international perspectives of early years education. And we’ll consider the issues surrounding leadership and management in the complex early years sector. You’ll showcase everything you’ve learned in a small-scale research project, supported by your tutors.

Compulsory modules:

Expand all
Contemporary Issues in Early Years Education and Leadership
Developing and Leading Practice in the Early Years
Enabling Environments for Babies and Children Under 3
International Perspectives on the Early Years Pedagogies
Leadership in the Early Years
Researching Early Years Education and Leadership

How you'll study

Delivered through a combination of virtual study blocks with interactive classroom-based sessions, the structure of the course has been designed to enable you to become a graduate practitioner and gain leadership expertise while you work.

You will study through a combination of online and face-to-face sessions. Your online sessions will consist of sessions with your tutors, directed tasks and independent research.

Supported learning using the internet and Edge Hill University’s online resources is a major feature of the programme. No prior IT experience is necessary, as full support will be provided.

You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.

How you'll be assessed

You will be assessed through coursework which involves portfolios, written essays, presentations, self-evaluations and the completion of a small-scale research project.

There are no formal written examinations as part of the current assessment methods on this programme.

Who will be teaching you

You will be taught by a highly experienced team of early years lecturers and associate tutors who have extensive expertise and experience, as well as a passion for early years. All of the team are involved in current research and have actively contributed to projects including the development of the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Professional Qualification in Integrated Centre Leadership (NPQICL). Each member of the team brings a particular expertise and all are highly respected researchers and professionals.

Entry criteria

Entry requirements

Typical offer 16 UCAS Tariff points. No specific subjects are required.

You can achieve the required number of UCAS Tariff points from A Level Grade E, BTEC National Subsidiary Diploma (QCF) P, or T Level with an overall grade of Pass (E or above on the core).

Alternatively, you may be eligible to join the programme with a minimum of three years experience in the early years sector.

GCSE English Language and GCSE Mathematics at Grade C or Grade 4 or above (or equivalent) are desirable.

You must be working on a full-time, part-time or voluntary basis in an early years setting with children aged 0-5 years. A statement of support will be required from your current employer.

If you accept a formal offer from Edge Hill University you will be required to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure indicating that you meet the mandatory criteria of ‘Clearance to Work with Children and/or Vulnerable Adults’. If you already have DBS Enhanced Disclosure through your current employer, this will also be accepted. Further information will be sent to you after you have firmly accepted an offer.

How to apply

There is an online application process for this course.

Please choose the application form for your preferred intake date and mode of study.

Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

Did you know?

If you join a full time undergraduate degree at Edge Hill University, we will guarantee you the offer of a room in our halls of residence for the first year of your course.

Discover our accommodation


Faculty of EducationHoused in a state-of-the-art £9million building, the Faculty of Education at Edge Hill University enjoys a stunning setting from both its lakeside and piazza buildings.

Facilities in the lakeside building include a 300-seat lecture theatre, five well-equipped ICT suites, and 18 teaching rooms complete with the latest technology. The lakeside building is also home to a popular vegan and vegetarian cafe where students can meet to socialise and discuss their studies.

The nearby piazza building offers modern facilities including a lecture theatre and a number of seminar rooms.

If you choose to study at Holy Cross College and University Centre in Bury. You’ll be taught by Edge Hill lecturers and staff, and have access to a range of modern facilities, including recent building upgrades and refurbishments. There’s a range of study spaces and a coffee shop where you can relax before lectures. Holy Cross is especially proud of their library, IT facilities, modern classrooms and meeting rooms in the Mary Kelly building where the face-to-face sessions will take place.

Where you'll study

Faculty of Education


Tuition fees

UK Part-Time


a year

The University may administer a small inflationary rise in tuition fees, in line with Government policy, in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

Financial support

Subject to eligibility, UK students joining this course can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Government to cover the full cost of tuition fees. Please view the relevant Money Matters guide for comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals can ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please see our EU student finance page for further details.

Your future career

When you graduate from our foundation degree, you’ll be able to go straight into work within the early years sector. You’d be well suited to roles in:

  • free schools
  • academies
  • local authorities
  • children’s centres
  • play groups
  • nurseries
  • pre-schools
  • multi-agency/consultancy work

You might decide you’d like to continue studying, and you’ll be well placed to do that. You can join a one-year Level 6 conversion degree, allowing you to graduate with a full undergraduate degree. We offer two BA (Hons) conversion degrees here at Edge Hill, designed specifically for graduates of our foundation degree. Choose between Early Years Education or Early Years Leadership.

You might like to gain qualified teacher status and go on to teach in schools. Completing our foundation degree, followed by a one-year conversion degree, will set you up perfectly to apply for a PGCE.

Course changes

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, however our courses are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of professional bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

Track changes to this course

Discover Uni: Part-Time Study

Download our course leaflet