BA (Hons) Early Years

Welcome to Early Years

Early Years programmes at University Centre Colchester are designed to be fun and rewarding whilst being tailored to your individual requirements with a variety of optional modules and routes to success that suit your interests and needs.

The course team consists of experienced lecturers and practitioners who guide you through your journey from enrolment to graduation.  The course offers assistance to find placements and supported visits to ensure you can graduate with a high level of both practical and theoretical experience in readiness for the job market.

We welcome all budding Early Years practitioners on board the programme and look forward to creating a positive and educated workforce within the sector. We care for our students in the same way you care for children which is why we feel passionately about developing and supporting you in your studies and career paths. Our dedicated and experienced tutors will enable you to really grow with the next generation!

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Course IntroductionModulesEntry RequirementsGraduate CareersAdditional

Early education represents a major area of public investment with the government currently investing £5.2 billion annually.

The first few years of children’s lives are crucial to their development and opportunities in later life – and the adults who work with them are ideally placed to make a difference.

This course offers a holistic approach to child development, the early years curriculum and safeguarding. It enables students to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of early years both through academic and practice based studies. Students also have the opportunity to undertake optional modules in areas of particular interest. Integral to this degree is the practical element gained through allocated placements; these support the development of the student’s skills of working with children and the understanding of the relationship between theory and practice.

This course will build on students’ knowledge of children’s development and learning, as well as developing an understanding of policies and practice in early years settings.

Reasons to study with us

  • We offer excellent work placement opportunities through our well-established links with early years providers
  • Develop your professional practice and work towards gaining Early Years Professional Status
  • Successful completion of this course allows you to progress to the Foundation Degree in Early Years

The course operates on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Each module is worth a specified number of credits, with most modules counting for 30 or 15 academic credits, with each credit taken equating to a total amount of study time which includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Most full-time students will take modules worth 60 credits per semester, with part-time students taking proportionately fewer credits per semester. A total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits are needed for an honours degree as a whole. Overall grades for the course and degree classification are based on the marks obtained for modules taken at levels 5 and 6.

Compulsory modules enable you to cover key subject knowledge whilst and optional allow you to develop your own interests. The number of optional modules you can take depends on the number of core modules at a given level. Our teaching is informed by research, professional practice and industry engagement and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline.

Course Structure Year One (Level 4) Year Two (Level 5) Year Three (Level 6)

BA (Hons) Early Years

64 UCAS points* and GCSE maths and English (grades A*-C). Students wishing to progress into teaching will also need GCSE science grade C. All applicants will be interviewed and required to demonstrate that they have relevant experience in working with children, and have good communication skills. They will also need to undertake a written piece as part of the interview. Satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)** enhanced check.

Mature applicants with significant work-based experience, or employed within the industry, will also be considered.

CertHE Early Years

An existing level 3 qualification which includes assessed practical competence. Mature students without formal qualifications, but with evidence of practical experience and relevant employment will also be considered for this course. All applicants will be interviewed and required to demonstrate that they have relevant experience in working with children, and have good communication skills.

They will also need to undertake a written piece as part of the interview. . Satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)* enhanced check.

To progress into teaching you will also need GCSEs in English, Maths and Science (grades A* – C).

*2017-18 UCAS Tariff
**Please note there is a charge of £44 for a DBS check

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0, with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Additional requirements:

  • You must provide evidence of having been in general education for at least 10 years and of having studied within the last five years
  • a face-to-face interview is required before an offer is made.

CertHE Early Years

Many students choose to continue their studies and complete the BA(Hons) in Early Years here at University Centre Colchester; this can be done either through the part-time or full-time route. Some graduates enter social work, play therapy, health and civil services or support within schools and the community. There are other opportunities to apply for more senior positions within their current work setting and in Sure Start Children’s centres. After graduating with an Honours Degree and having undertaken teacher training, some students enter primary school teaching.

BA (Hons) Early Years

Our graduates, after further training, go on to become primary school teachers, social workers and play therapists. There are other opportunities to work in Sure Start Children’s centres, senior posts in nurseries, or roles supporting children within the community, health and civil service.

Course Progression:

Professional training or progression to a Masters degree, teacher training or early years professional status. Postgraduate teacher training; Primary or Early Years.

Timetables: Timetables are normally available one month before registration. 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 of the week. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week.

Teaching and Learning: You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical’s. Seminars enable smaller group discussions to develop understanding of topics covered in lectures. You will use and have access to industry-standard software and facilities throughout your course.

When not attending lectures, seminars and laboratory or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, learning zone or technical learning resources, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations

Assessment: The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

 Feedback: You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

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BA (Hons) Early Years - Full Time
LevelLevel 6
LocationColchester
Duration3 Years
UCAS CodeBA (Hons) LX53 | CertHE LX54
Academic Year2018-2019
Study ModeFull-Time
CampusUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2018
Fee(s)2018-19: £9,250 per year
Course Structure

Although designed as a three year full-time degree programme, there are two named routes into the qualification. The Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) allows for study of the first year of the programme and the BA (Hons) route allows students to study the full qualification.

The CertHE can be used as a stepping stones towards an Honours Degree with progression allowed following successful completion of each stage.

The CertHE Early Years course introduces you to the development and learning of children aged 0-8 years. Case studies, presentations, practical projects and lectures allow you to develop the knowledge of policies and practice within early years settings. Students have the opportunity to learn and explore the various pathways available through a range of modules. By the end of the course you would have built the skills necessary to progress in your career or continue onto further study.
Early Years Modules offered

Year One (Level 4)

Module title: Introduction to Early Years Care and Education: Integrated Practice (15 credits)

What’s it about?

This module will introduce students to the professional world of childcare. They will learn about the range of settings in which the care and education of children 0 – 8 years old takes place, and the roles of the workers in those settings.

What do I learn?

You will learn about the EYFS, the National Curriculum and the structure of Early Years provision in the UK. Lectures will explore legislation, policies, practices, guidelines and procedures that you will experience within your Early Years placements.

What’s the assignment?

As part of this module the students will be seen and assessed in a practical observation during placement. Additionally, there will be a 2,500-word written assignment.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: The Holistic Approach to Child Development (30 credits)

What’s it about?

This module will support you in understanding how children develop and what you can do as practitioners to develop and meet their holistic needs. You will be developing skills in observing children and interpreting those observations.

What do I learn?

The module will teach you key theories and perspectives in child development. There will be detailed exploration into physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development of children and how to observe these within settings.

What’s the assignment?

This module has a written assignment of 6,000 words.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: Research and Study Skills (15 credits)

What’s it about?

This module will help you to build research and study skills that you can use within your own studies or professional practice.

What do I learn?

You will learn how to retrieve information from a variety of sources as well as exploring major social research methods and processes. The module will give you an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research, data collection, methodological approaches and ethical considerations.

What’s the assignment?

This module has a written assignment of 3,000 words in patchwork text.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: Safeguarding Children (15 credits)

What’s it about? 

This module aims to deepen your understanding of the issues around children’s welfare and how you can support children to safeguard themselves.

What do I learn?

You will engage in delicate discussions around child abuse whilst exploring the relationship between safeguarding children, current legislation, the family and the state. There will be an analysis of policies and procedures in children’s services and we will equip you with the listening skills to prepare for challenging circumstances.

What’s the assignment?

This module has a written assignment of 3,000 words in a report format.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: Difference and Diversity (15 credits)

What’s it about? 

This module will explore difference and diversity within Early Years settings. There will be a range of debates on inclusion, exclusion, disability, special educational needs and rights.

What do I learn?

You will identify sources of support, information and resources about managing diversity in Early Years settings and consider how they can be used. You will be discussing ethical issues related to the differences and reflect upon your own personal beliefs and values.

What’s the assignment?

A 3,000-word essay.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: Childhood in Society (15 credits)

What’s it about? 

This module will explore the concepts of childhood and how it has evolved over time across different cultures and societies. In addition, students will be expected to examine and challenge, where appropriate, their own pre- conceived ideas, attitudes and values about childhood.

What do I learn?

You will explore historical views of childhood, legislation that frames childhood in the UK, and the social construction of childhood. You will learn about current influences and factors that impact childhood such as poverty, homelessness, health, gender, class, disability and race.

What’s the assignment?

A 3,000 word essay.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: Outdoor Play – the root of learning (15 credits)

What’s it about? 

This module will explore play as a fundamental means to children gaining knowledge and skills and examines the role of the outdoors in this.

What do I learn?

There will be a mix of practical, playful activities in nearby outdoor space.  During this time you will explore different theories and philosophies that support children in outdoor play and why it is important for children.

What’s the assignment?

A 3,000 word essay.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Year Two (Level 5)

Module title:  Research Appreciation and Critiquing: Diet, Exercise and Learning (30 Credits).

What’s it about?

This module will concentrate particularly on developing, in the students, the ability to identify researchable problems, to critically analyse research approaches and methods of data collection and to evaluate published research. Emphasis will be placed on the discussion of ethics and power in relation to research relating to diet, exercise and learning.

What do I learn?

You will develop skills in identifying researchable problems/questions in relation to diet, exercise and learning inclusive of environmental factors. There will be opportunities to analyse the impact of different types of research activity on the development of policy and practice and key legislation. Through this analysis you will then be able to critically analyse and compare published research approaches. This will enable you to debate the ethical issues arising in research.

What’s the assignment? 

A report of 3,000 words. 

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title:  Play, the Curriculum and the Developing Child: Integrated practice (30 Credits) 

What’s it about?

This module is designed to give students a deeper understanding of the importance of play in young children’s learning, and how practitioners working with children 0-8 years of age plan and organise play opportunities that will facilitate the delivery of Early Years curricula. They will have the opportunity to join in with that planning and delivery in their placements. 

What do I learn?

You will analyse the elements of a chosen Early Years setting that support and encourage learning, comparing it with alternative Early Years settings. Therefore, it is important that you evaluate the importance of effective communication with young children. Within class discussion we will also debate the importance of differentiation and inclusion in planning the Early Years curriculum. This module also has a practical element: you will be asked to plan a range of play-based activities and evaluate the delivery of these activities. 

What’s the assignment? 

A 4,000-word portfolio and a practical assessment with a reflective evaluation. 

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title:  Health Issues in Childcare & Education (15 Credits) 

What’s it about? 

This module considers children’s health from several perspectives, from the promotion and maintenance of health to the impact that societal issues such as drug abuse and mental health within a family can have upon children. The emphasis will be multidisciplinary, combining health, politics, sociology, philosophy and psychology.

What do I learn?

You will report on research undertaken on social, economic and cultural influences on family health and access to health care. This will enable you to analyse key factors in the promotion of community health and health education to find patterns of need. Through looking at the impact of physical/mental health you will be able to evaluate the impact on the family and child development.

What’s the assignment?

A report of 3,000 words.

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title:  Introduction to Counselling Skills (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

This is an optional module for students with a particular interest in developing the skills and knowledge associated with mentoring, counselling and active listening. Importantly, you will develop an understanding of when the parent/carer would benefit from the support of professionals in the field and how to refer them on.

What do I learn?

Through class discussions you will debate the ethical perspectives of counselling and support for children, parents/carers and colleagues. You will analyse two therapeutic models that can be applied to support individuals in crisis. This will enable you to evaluate strategies for managing situations where individuals may need their support or the support of others

What’s the assignment?

Workbook (2,500 word equivalent) and video presentation.

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title:  Creativity in Children’s Learning (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

In this optional module, we will explore theories that empower us to be confident with children’s creativity: from the philosophical, Steiner and Malaguzzi, through art inspired Csiksentmilhalyi and Nicholson, to modern education thinkers such as Robinson and Craft. Woven into this rich mix will be the impact of the groundbreaking National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE) report and the context of the National Curriculum as we discover the facilitators and inhibitors to children’s creativity and arrive at an evaluation of the benefits of creativity in our society.

What do I learn?

You will analyse and evaluate historical and current attitudes to children’s creativity. Through class discussion we will debate the facilitators, motivators and barriers involved in nurturing children’s creativity within the structure of age appropriate curricula. From this you will be able to present and appraise a context for supporting children’s creativity that encompasses national strategies for education.

What’s the assignment?

3,000 word written report.

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives on Learning in the Early Years  (15 credits) 

What’s it about?

This module looks at the theoretical perspectives behind the different approaches to learning and teaching in Early Year’ settings. Students will be encouraged to think about the relationship between the individual, their learning styles, and the model of knowledge construction used in particular settings. 

What do I learn?

You will learn about different philosophies and views of learning and how you can apply, observe and reflect on these within practice. This will involve debating the nature of knowledge and how to construct this.

What’s the assignment?

This module has a written assignment of 3,000 words in patchwork text.

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: Domestic Abuse (15 credits)

What’s it about?

The nature and impact of domestic abuse and current responses by health and social care and the criminal justice system.

What do I learn?

You will learn about the different manifestations of coercive and controlling behaviour associated with domestic abuse and the impact on victims in relation to gender, age, culture and sexual orientation.  You will develop an understanding of different theories of domestic abuse with particular reference to patriarchal societies. You will appreciate the experience of survivors in the criminal justice system and evaluate current practice and services. 

What is the assignment?

3,000 word written assignment.

To see the module description, please click here.

Year Three (Level 6)

Module title: (30 credits) Planning and Delivering the Early Years Curriculum

What’s it about?

This module aims to consolidate students’ knowledge of the Early Years Foundation Stage and of the National Curriculum Key Stage 1, enabling students to use their knowledge to plan, lead and evaluate activities and learning opportunities in order to contribute to children’s development and learning.

What do I learn?

You will analyse the developmental and learning needs of children in their setting. You will critically evaluate how the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum Key Stage 1 meets the developmental and learning needs of young children. An examination of the potential impact of current policy, proposed changes to Early Years curriculum and the Early Years settings will be made.

You will plan and lead sequences of learning opportunities and activities which make a positive contribution to children’s development and learning, negotiating the implementation of these into the settings curriculum and evaluating these within the placement setting.

What’s the assignment?

6,000 word report.

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: (30 credits) Undergraduate Dissertation

What’s it about?

This module is designed to support students in the planning and implementation of an undergraduate dissertation based upon an area of Early Years practice of your choice. This will consist of either a literature review, extended essay or a research proposal.

What do I learn?

You will choose and define the scope of an appropriate area for investigation and development, acting autonomously with minimal supervision. You will produce a review of literature that demonstrates your ability to critically evaluate and analyse the selected research material. You will show a critical appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge specific to your selected research area and demonstrate a critical understanding of primary or secondary research strategies in answering your research question. Finally, you will critically evaluate evidence to justify and create recommendations in relation to these research strategies and consider implications for professional practice.

What’s the assignment?

An outline of research (500 words) and either a literature review or an extended essay or research proposal (7,500 words)

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: (15 credits) Advocacy 

What’s it about?

This module offers the opportunity for participants to explore the purpose, principles and models of advocacy. Advocacy is now embodied in legislation relating to children and people with mental health problems and is an important method of raising awareness on a variety of issues that may lead to improvements in policy, legislation and service development and delivery.

What do I learn?

You will identify and critique the purpose and principles of advocacy and critically examine and compare the various models of advocacy. You will critically reflect and review the role of advocacy in relation to children and people with mental health problems.

What’s the assignment?

3,000 word written essay.

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: (15 credits) Children’s Rights

What’s it about?

The legal position of children has been enhanced by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to encompass principles of protection, provision of services and participation. This module explores the different dimensions of children’s rights and their influence on the care and welfare of children and their families.

What do I learn?

You will analyse key concepts concerning children’s rights and critically evaluate the role of practitioners in fulfilling the rights of the child, whilst demonstrating a critical awareness of differences in the implementation of children’s rights across the world.

What’s the assignment?

3,000 word written essay.

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: (15 credits) Pan European Childcare and Education 

What’s it about?

By researching the care and education of the under eights in other European countries, students will compare and contrast the different experiences of young children and consider the implications for our own professional practice.

What do I learn?

You will research the Early Years child care and education of two other European states and critically evaluate the systems that you have researched in contrast with that in Britain today. You will analyse the implications of moving into a different care and education system on a child and on an Early Years worker, whilst formulating and justifying your own recommendations for a pan-European system.

What’s the assignment?

3,000 word portfolio.

To see the module description, please click here.

Module title: (15 credits) Management, Supervision and Organisational Behaviour

What’s it about?

This module is designed to introduce students to the importance of leadership, management and supervision principles in Early Years settings whilst considering how these principles will impact upon Early Years strategy and organisational behaviour.

What do I learn?

You will evaluate the application of the general principle of management to the Early  Years sector and understand the main factors that influence the behaviour of individuals and groups in organisations. You will think critically and analytically about change processes and the efficacy of various strategies aimed at the resolution of organisational issues and problems facing Early Years leaders. Finally, you will discuss the role of individual supervision both for the development of the individual practitioner and for the professional practice as a whole.

What’s the assignment?

3,000 word essay.

To see the module description, please click here.



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