A student plays with a young child as she tips water from a toy boat into a sink full of water and floating toys.

FdA Early Years Education and Leadership

Immerse yourself in the learning and development of children from birth to five on a foundation degree that will enable you to become an effective early years practitioner and leader.

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    • Overview

      Course Length: 2 Years Part-Time
      Start Dates: September 2022, September 2023
      Subjects: Education and Teaching
      Location: Edge Hill University
      Holy Cross College and University Centre, Bury
      Example Offers: E (A Level) or P (BTEC)
      View full entry criteria

      This programme has been created for both new-to-role and experienced early years leaders and practitioners. If you work with children aged between birth and five years and are seeking a higher education qualification, then this course is for you. You will develop your knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice of working and leading in the early years sector, enhancing your employability and boosting your professional confidence. Equipped with a firm grounding in the theoretical knowledge of being an effective early years practitioner, together with an increased understanding of current practice, you will have additional opportunities to develop as an early years professional following graduation. This includes the option to progress to further study on conversion degrees in either Early Years Education or Early Years Leadership, depending on your preferred career path.

      Discover Uni: Part-Time Study

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      In Depth

      What will I study?

      Year 1 addresses various professional, academic and vocational issues common to all early years professionals and provides a firm foundation of study skills and research techniques. Gaining a greater understanding of theoretical perspectives on early years education and children’s well-being, behaviour and communication, you will be taught specific best practice techniques and principles related to working with families, communities and other professionals.

      Year 2 enhances your knowledge of working with babies and children under three years old. It also provides opportunities to explore international perspectives on early years education as well as issues relating to leadership and management in the early years sector. One of the key aspects of your studies will involve your engagement with a small-scale research project.

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

      How will I 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.

      Following an initial on-campus induction, you will engage in online face-to-face sessions with your tutors one afternoon per week. You will also be invited to attend on-campus sessions 5-6 times per year at the beginning of each module. Along with face-to-face sessions, you will be asked to complete directed tasks and carry out 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.

      How will I 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 me?

      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.

      A Great Study Environment

      Housed 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.

      Alternatively, you can 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.


      Expand All

      Year 1

      Compulsory modules:

      FEL1000Developing Personal, Professional and Academic Skills (20 credits)

      Developing Personal, Professional and Academic Skills provides you with an opportunity to develop your reflective and academic skills as an early years practitioner in the workplace. The module offers a relevant context to help you understand how relevant theoretical perspectives are implemented in practice. You will explore key workplace policies and regulations, with a particular focus on safeguarding, as well as evaluating current levels of knowledge and understanding of early years practice, and developing personal professional skills through the process of target setting and action planning. There will also be a focus on study skills, including academic writing, referencing, finding relevant sources of information, time management and resilience.

      Assessment: Coursework: 50%, Practical(s): 50%.

      FEL1001Theoretical Perspectives on Early Years Education (20 credits)

      Theoretical Perspectives on Early Years Education introduces you to the perception of babies and young children as competent and complex learners. The module will equip you with essential knowledge and understanding of the key theories, principles, processes and concepts relating to the education and development of young children, both generally and in specific developmental domains.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      FEL1002Children's Wellbeing, Behaviour and Personal Social Emotional Development (20 credits)

      Children’s Wellbeing, Behaviour and Personal Social Emotional Development recognises that children’s wellbeing is shaped by both internal and external systems that impact children’s learning throughout their lifespan. The module equips you with the necessary knowledge and understanding of the impact of wellbeing on the learning and development of babies and young children. You will be guided in identifying and explaining factors that can derail and disrupt development and learning in the early years, enabling you to gain skills in examining the physical, psychosocial and cultural theories and practices that underpin babies and children’s wellbeing. You will also explore different Early Years pedagogies in terms of managing children’s behaviour, as well as helping personal, social and emotional development.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      FEL1003Young Children As Communicators (20 credits)

      Young Children As Communicators focuses on the role of language and communication within the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and Key Stage 1 and the link between language and learning for babies, toddlers and young children. You will explore key theories about language and language acquisition within an evolutionary context and consider how social and cognitive development supports language development.  A key focus will be on strengthening your knowledge of language development to support early reading, as well as supporting children with EAL (English as Additional Language). You will be encouraged to develop and articulate your own strategies to support language development in children from birth to seven, while also considering how both indoor and outdoor environments can be planned to support effective language development. In addition to this, the relationship between language and reading and the role of the child, family and practitioners in language development will be examined within the wider social environment.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      FEL1004Working with Families, Communities and Other Professionals (20 credits)

      Working with Families, Communities and Other Professionals enables you to develop your knowledge and understanding of working in collaboration with parents and early years practitioners, including multi-disciplinary teams, in the context of an early years setting. The module will focus on the application of ‘team’ theory to early years settings allowing you to consider current practice from a critical perspective, as well as enhancing your understanding of the key aspects of working in partnership with children’s parents, families and communities.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      FEL1005Preparing for Research (20 credits)

      Preparing for Research helps you to understand and apply some of the key principles of academic research to different areas of the early years context as well as to identify and justify suitability of specific research methods and techniques. The module will also provide you with opportunities to explore a variety of currently published research papers and evaluate the impact of research findings on different aspects of early years practice. The aim is to enable you to identify your own research interests in preparation for undertaking your own research project.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      Year 2

      Compulsory modules:

      FEL2000Researching Early Years Education and Leadership (20 credits)

      Researching Early Years Education and Leadership enables you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding through engagement with a small-scale research project based on an aspect of early years education or leadership. The module provides deeper theoretical and practical insight into a relevant area of your own particular interests, while also enabling you to build on your research skills. Engaging in research will give you an opportunity to choose your own focus of investigation and use your learning experiences as a vehicle for undertaking this extended project. Investigation of one particular area of interest will also enhance your professional portfolio by enhancing your expertise in a specific aspect of education or leadership. An important additional element of this module will be the completion and submission of an ethical proposal.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      FEL2001Enabling Environments for Babies and Children Under 3 (20 credits)

      Enabling Environments for Babies and Children Under 3 helps you to understand the fundamental principles that underpin early years pedagogy for babies and children under three years old. The module explores a range of concepts from research and practice that are relevant to the learning and development of babies and very young children. You will critically examine and evaluate a number of key approaches to structuring and managing enabling environments within the early years context as well as developing your critical knowledge and understanding of the key aspects of child development for these specific age groups.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      FEL2002International Perspectives on the Early Years Pedagogies (20 credits)

      International Perspectives On The Early Years Pedagogies enables you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of early years pedagogies from an international perspective. The module enables you to critically analyse multiple perspectives on the conceptualisation of an early childhood pedagogy from a global dimension, as well as investigating how international approaches have influenced pedagogy within the English policy context. Focusing on some of the most currently influential international pedagogies including those from Italy, America, New Zealand and Scandinavia, you will consider your own pedagogy of early years and consider what might influence your understanding of how to develop learning environments and teaching strategies that conceptualise children as strong and competent learners.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      FEL2003Leadership in the Early Years (20 credits)

      Leadership in the Early Years is focused on the issues of educational leadership in the early years context. Building your knowledge and understanding of leadership and management, you will investigate the wider issues facing early years professionals in current social and political environment. You will examine the impact of social and political changes on the early years profession and critique the significant questions relating to the aims, values and principles of early years leadership and management both in theory and in practice. The module also introduces you to the theories of change management to enable you to respond to change in a positive and constructive manner. You will develop a theoretical understanding of the change process and how that knowledge can help you explore and design your own models of leading change.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      FEL2004Contemporary Issues in Early Years Education and Leadership (20 credits)

      Contemporary Issues in Early Years Education and Leadership considers some of the very specific challenges that young children might face during their lives in the UK and across the globe, focusing on the issues of children’s rights, safeguarding and relevant legislation. The module enables you to critically analyse current policies and frameworks. You will explore both theory and practice that are influenced by contemporary debates within education and leadership. You will also consider how these contemporary issues impact on how teachers and practitioners begin to develop their pedagogical approaches to the early years curricula.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      FEL2005Developing and Leading Practice in the Early Years (20 credits)

      Developing and Leading Practice in the Early Years enables you to enhance your knowledge and understanding of early years education and leadership. The module investigates further theoretical and practical approaches to the prime and specific areas of learning as well as the key aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) with a particular emphasis on different areas of learning, managing children’s transitions and principles of quality early years provision. You will critique Early Years curriculum assessment approaches through comparing and contrasting current research sources on different curricula.  The module enables you to investigate in detail children’s progression to Key Stage 1 and the requirements of the National Curriculum. The role of early years leaders will be discussed in relation to all aspects of early years practice.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.


      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.


      Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes 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 accrediting 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.

      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.

      Are there any alternative ways to meet the entry requirements?

      If you have the ability to study for a foundation degree but lack the necessary qualifications or confidence, our Fastrack: Preparation for Higher Education course could be for you. This free, seven-week programme provides a great opportunity to enhance your study skills and subject knowledge and demonstrate that you are ready to study a particular subject with us, in lieu of achieving the UCAS Tariff points in the entry criteria.

      Upon successful completion of a Fastrack course, you will be well placed to progress onto a corresponding Edge Hill University foundation degree, although additional entry requirements may apply and the availability of specific programmes cannot be guaranteed. For more information, visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/fastrack.

      Career Prospects

      What are my career prospects?

      You will graduate well placed to pursue a variety of exciting roles across the early years sector. These include working in free schools, academies, local authorities, children’s centres, play groups, nurseries and pre-schools, as well as multi-agency and consultancy work.

      Alternatively, you may wish to progress onto further study in early years education or early years leadership.


      Tuition Fees

      If you are a prospective UK student who will be joining this foundation degree in academic year 2022/23, the tuition fee will be £6,165 a year (subject to final Government approval).

      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.

      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.

      Financial Support

      Subject to eligibility, UK students joining this foundation degree can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Government to cover the full cost of tuition fees.

      For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students joining this programme in academic year 2022/23, together with details of how to apply for potential funding, please view our Money Matters 2022/23 guide at www.edgehill.ac.uk/undergradfinance2022pt.

      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 should ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please see www.edgehill.ac.uk/eufinance for further details.


      How to Apply

      There is an online application process for this programme.

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

      Visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/applydirect for more information about the application process.

      Visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/applydirect to access the relevant online application form and to find out more about the application process.

      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 www.edgehill.ac.uk/studentterms.

      Visit Us

      If you are considering applying to study at Edge Hill University, the best way to gain an insight into student life is to discover our stunning campus for yourself by attending an open day. You can view dates and book your place at www.edgehill.ac.uk/opendays.

      Alternatively, if you are unable to attend an open day, you can find out more about our full range of events for prospective students, including campus tours and virtual activities, at www.edgehill.ac.uk/visitus.

      Request a Prospectus

      If you would like to explore our full range of undergraduate courses before you apply, you can order a prospectus at www.edgehill.ac.uk/undergradprospectus.

      Get in Touch

      If you have any questions about this programme, please contact:

      Course Changes

      Expand All This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years.

      3rd June 2020 - Changes to Programme Delivery

      Changes to programme delivery mean that following an initial on-campus induction, students will engage in online face-to-face sessions with their tutors for one afternoon per week. You will also be invited to attend on-campus sessions 5-6 times per year.

      Covid-19 - Early Years Education and Leadership Essential Information

      Early Years Education and Leadership Course Statement

      Delivery for each module will consist of six hours of on-site teaching (delivered accumulatively, where appropriate) supported by a minimum of four hours of online learning comprising synchronous (seminar, tutorial) and asynchronous (lecture, discussion board) learning activities and academic support.

      Teaching and Learning at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, answers your questions and explains how teaching will work when you join us at Edge Hill University in September.

      Campus Facilities at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, explains how we’re preparing the campus for your arrival in September and the facilities that will be available.

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