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Early Childhood (with Foundation Year)

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About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Education and Childhood
Four years
Programme leader:
Rebecca Kingsley-Jones
Key fact:
Designed for those who want to work in a professional capacity with or for children, this course provides an excellent foundation for careers with children or further study.

Page last updated 4 July 2017


Why Early Childhood?

BA(Hons) Early Childhood is an intellectually demanding and enjoyable course looking at the issues affecting children between birth and eight years old. You will link theory to the practice of working in an early years setting and gain an in-depth understanding of the social, psychological and philosophical factors related to young children's lives, learning and development.

Why study this course?

This course examines issues around children's place in society, education, special educational needs, child development, the development of identity, reasoning, language, and children and technology. In your final year, you will write a dissertation based on your own research with children.

We will encourage you to draw on and evaluate the voices of children, parents and educational professionals alongside theoretical perspectives. You will work both collaboratively and independently, developing key communication and interpersonal skills, learning how to work effectively with others, organise information and ideas, and present your ideas clearly and confidently.

Real-world experience

Real-world work experience is central to the course. You will spend a minimum of 10 days in early years settings in Year 1 and 20 days in Year 3, with a further focus on exploring professional roles in Year 2. Your observations of the children you work with will form part of the assessment process.

In addition, most of our students undertake paid or voluntary work with children throughout the course. We certainly encourage these activities, which provide invaluable experience and add to your CV. We ensure that timetabling allows sufficient time for other commitments.

Where it can take you

This degree is excellent preparation for those wishing to progress to managerial careers in childcare/educational settings, children's services and family support. A significant proportion of our students go on to study for an early years or primary postgraduate teaching qualification, or for a Master's degree in, for example, play therapy, speech and language therapy, social work or psychology.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



In the Foundation year (Year zero), the content is designed to develop your academic skills. It also raises awareness of the relevance the disciplines which span the arts, creative and cultural industries will play in your future, professional lives.

The four modules will have three hours of teaching each week (12 hours of scheduled class time in total).  Students will develop their understanding of learning theories with reference to research, policy and practice as related to childhood and education in the UK. 

Foundation year (Year zero)

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • What is English?
  • Learners and Learning
  • Childhood and Educational Landscapes
  • Guided Study.

You will study the Foundation year alongside students from other Arts, Creative Industries and Education courses and so you may transfer to another course in one of these areas at the end of a successful Foundation year.

The normal expectation is that you must pass all Year zero modules before progressing to Year one.

Year one

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Children in Society, Past and Present
  • Exploring Play in Early Childhood
  • Working with all Children and exploring SEN (with experience in EY settings)
  • The Developing Child.

Year two

You will study the following compulsory module:

  • Responsibilities, Leadership and Professional Futures.

In addition, you will study three of the following optional modules:

  • Comparative Early Childhood Policy and Provision
  • Technological Childhoods
  • Children Making Meaning
  • Learning from Intercultural Dialogue*

Final year

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Researching Ethically with Young Children
  • Dissertation - including experience in Early Year settings
  • Emerging Languages and Identities
  • Development of Reasoning.

*only available if you are undertaking an ERASMUS experience.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up-to-date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

We use a variety of methods of teaching including formal lectures, seminars and workshops, tutor and student led study groups, one-to-one tutorials and online support. All students are expected to develop their ability to work independently and learn collaboratively with their peers; being able to self-start, work with others and problem solve are very important and marketable graduate skills. We will provide you with all the support and encouragement you need to help you to succeed.

For more details see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Find out more about our academic staff, their teaching expertise and research interests.

Learning and Teaching

This is a full-time course, but we timetable to ensure that students have sufficient space in their week for other commitments, including work related learning.


We use a range of assessment types, including presentations and written assignments.  Currently only one year 3 module involves an assessment under exam conditions.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.



Placements are central to this degree. You will take part in at least 30 days of formal placement activities. Learning about children's interactions and their preoccupations in a real-world setting will give you the opportunity to gain insights into working with or for young children, complementing and enhancing your academic studies. You will use these experiences in your research and your final-year dissertation.

Depending on arrangements with partner universities, you may be able to apply for a period of study abroad during Year two. 

Study facilities

Our modern, purpose-built facilities offer high-quality teaching rooms, excellent IT facilities, equipment that can be loaned out, and an open learning area. Many of your course materials and books and other reading will be available online. Friendly staff are always on hand to help when needed.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.

Student views

Hear what our students think about their time at UWE.

Work independently/time management

All students are expected to be able to motivate themselves and learn independently, as employers regard this as an important graduate skill. We actively encourage you to learn independently by providing you with the support and help needed to study effectively on your own and manage your time well.

Communicate effectively

Studying Early Childhood involves understanding the philosophical, social and psychological context of young children's learning and development. The modules you study will give you the opportunity to improve your capacity to write and speak well and to understand diverse approaches to early childhood in a range of cultural settings. The assignments that you carry out will encourage you to make use of a diverse range of media and improve your ICT skills.

The course encourages learners to critically compare a range of perspectives on early childhood, drawing on sources such as children's voices, parental voices, educational voices, as well as theorised perspectives. The ability to understand a range of voices and to critique diverse perspectives provides a sound footing for work with, and on behalf of, children in care, educational and policy settings and in the wider workforce.   

Interpret data and articulate ideas successfully (problem solving)

Early Childhood requires a disciplined approach to argument and data based on a variety of perspectives. This means that you need to be able to deal with competing and sometimes conflicting accounts of childhood and understand the theoretical and empirical basis of these differences. By developing your ability to process and critically evaluate information, you will develop your skills to assess the reliability of information, to understand complex and controversial material and to interpret it sensitively and well.

Develop interpersonal skills

Whether you choose to work in education, Early Years settings, children's support services or in the wider world of business, the Early Childhood course will help you develop excellent interpersonal skills, through the practical collaborative tasks you are required to undertake. Both empirical and library based tasks are undertaken and presented individually and collaboratively.

Develop IT skills

You will learn how to use ICT packages for writing, reporting and presentational purposes, as well as for keeping up-to-date on policy developments and current research and debates via the Internet.


Careers / Further study

This multidisciplinary degree is excellent preparation for those wishing to progress to managerial careers in childcare/educational settings, children"s services, and family support. A significant proportion of our students go on to postgraduate courses, including training for early years and/or primary teaching and Early Years Teacher Status. Other Early Childhood graduates go on to take a postgraduate degree in, for example, play therapy, speech and language therapy, social work or psychology.

Award-winning careers service

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Be inspired

Read why Jade and Paisley chose to study Early Childhood at UWE Bristol.

Useful links
Read about careers in teaching and education.


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee11750
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1469
Offshore-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Offshore-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit) 1156

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year80

Supplementary fee information

Further information about fees and funding.


Students starting this course in September 2017 should follow this link to view their joining instructions.

We automatically send a message via your Welcome website plus an email to notify you once your joining instructions are available. It is important that you regularly check your Welcome website for new messages about your Registration and Enrolment. If you have not received the email please contact our Applicant Experience Team by email at so we may check that we have the correct address.

For more information about joining the University, please see our New Students pages.

Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 64
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, in English Language, or equivalent* Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of two A-Levels.
  • Relevant subjects: Childhood studies and psychology and sociology are particularly relevant. We also accept the CACHE Diploma in childcare.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; no specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

*If you do not meet the GCSE entry requirements, we will accept equivalency tests that are of a standard equivalent to GCSE grade C or above.

All offers will be subject to satisfactory health checks.

Disclosure of Criminal Background - Applicants who are offered a place must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and will be required to complete a Disclosure Application Form. All information will be treated in confidence and only taken into account when absolutely necessary.

We recognise the individual nature of each application and the standard offer should be viewed as a guide. We will consider applications on the basis of evidence of personal, professional and educational experience which indicates an applicant's ability to meet the demands of the degree.

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

Students who expect to achieve a higher tariff score may also be interested in our BA(Hons) Early Childhood course.

UWE Bristol's International College
If you do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

How to apply

Please apply through UCAS.

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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