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Study Mode Distance learning
Year of Entry 2021/22

Early Years

Distance learning Teaching and Education

Develop your early years knowledge and skills on this work-based foundation degree.

Everything you need to know...

What is the fee? Home: £7,750 per year
International/EU: £13,995 per year
How long will I study? 2 Years
When do I start? September 2021

University of the Year for Teaching Quality, The Sunday Times Good Univeristy Guide 2020

Course summary

  • Develop your knowledge of the theory and research which underpins effective practice within early years education 
  • Strengthen your understanding of quality practice with babies, toddlers and young children
  • Study alongside your work and apply what you learn directly to your career
  • Develop high quality reflective practice and academic skills

This sector-endorsed distance learning course enables you to gain a foundation degree alongside working in an early years setting.

How you learn

All our courses are designed around a set of key principles based on engaging you with the world, collaborating with others, challenging you to think in new ways, and providing you with a supportive environment in which you can thrive.

The foundation degree is a full-time course where you engage in online and tutor/self-directed learning activities, allowing you to fit your studies around work and other commitments.

You must be working or in a long-term voluntary position within an early years setting during the course, as the emphasis is on work-based learning.

You learn through

  • Online presentations and resources
  • Online discussions
  • Making links between theory and practice
  • Tutor and self-directed study

Course leaders and tutors

Sarah Rawding
Sarah Rawding
Senior Lecturer In Early Years

My main teaching interests are focused on the holistic development of children within the early years and supporting practitioners to become confident and reflective … Read more

Applied learning

You will apply what you learn on the course to your current work, enabling you to build on your skills in practice. You also examine your own academic and professional development to ensure that you reflect on new learning which is embedded into practice. Assessments enable you to focus on specific areas of professional interest.

Future careers

This course leads onto

  • further study in early years, such as the BA top-up leading to postgraduate study such as EYTS and QTS
  • career progression in schools, nurseries and childminding

Where will I study?

You study this course online from any location

Equipment and facilities

You will have access to a range of resources and facilities as a student at SHU, including

  • online materials from our comprehensive library
  • Blackboard, our virtual learning environment
  • Other online resources

Entry requirements

All students

  • You must be working or volunteering in a relevant early years setting for at least two days per week for the duration of the course. All applicants should have at least one years full time equivalent experience working in the sector prior to starting the course.
  • Applications are welcomed from experienced practitioners, working in settings who have vocational level three qualifications such as BTEC or Cache diploma. Where applicants can demonstrate substantial experience in the sector we may accept a lower level of achievement at level 3 (such as NVQ).
  • GCSE English Language or English Literature at grade C or 4 or equivalent
  • GCSE Mathematics at grade C or 4 or equivalent
  • Level 2 qualifications at a lower grade may be considered where students can demonstrate suitable literacy skills through their practice
  • Whilst on the course you must be able to fulfil the academic demands including information/communications technology requirements.
  • If English is not your first language you need an IELTS score of 6.0 or above, with a minimum score of 5.5 in each skill.
  • Please note the University will only admit students who are aged 18 at the point of enrolment.

Additional information for EU/International students

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page. You can also watch a video guide on how to apply.

For details of English language entry requirements (IELTS), please see the information for 'All students'.


Year 1

Compulsory modules
Module Credits Assessment
Module: Children's Development Credits: 20 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Enabling Environments In The Early Years Credits: 20 Assessment: Practical
Module: Health And Well Being Credits: 20 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Outdoor Play In The Early Years Credits: 20 Assessment: Practical
Module: Play And The Practitioner Role Credits: 20 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Reflective Practice Credits: 20 Assessment: Coursework

Final year

Compulsory modules
Module Credits Assessment
Module: Adverse Early Years Experiences Credits: 20 Assessment: Practical
Module: Critical Perspectives On Child Development Credits: 20 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Inclusive Practice Credits: 20 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Safeguarding Children And Young People Credits: 20 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Working In Teams Credits: 20 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Working With Families And Communities Credits: 20 Assessment: Practical

Fees and funding

Home students

Our tuition fee for UK students starting full-time undergraduate study in 2021/22 is £7,750 per year.

† If you are studying an undergraduate course, postgraduate pre-registration course or postgraduate research course over more than one academic year then your tuition fees may increase in subsequent years in line with Government regulations or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) published fees. More information can be found in our terms and conditions under student fees regulations.

International students

Our tuition fee for International/EU students starting full-time study in 2021/22 is £13,995 per year.

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Financial support for home/EU students

How tuition fees work, student loans and other financial support available.

Learn more

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs for Teaching and education courses (PDF, 260.5KB)

Legal information

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and Student Regulations.

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Find out how you can update the information on this page.


How do I apply?

You apply for this course via our online application form.

Apply for September 2021

You can also use the application form above to apply for future years of entry. If you require an alternate version of the application form, please email

Not ready to apply just yet?

Why not come to our next open day? Open days are the perfect place to talk to staff and students, visit our campuses and get all the information you need. Alternatively, feel free to ask us a question.

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