FdA Early Years and Education

Develop your understanding of the theoretical and practical elements of working with young children on this two-year foundation degree course.

The course is a great option for existing Early Years practitioners or those who are looking at joining the sector whilst working with children.

All students can gain a CACHE Licence to Practice, which will enhance employment opportunities in a variety of roles within a nursery, primary school setting, children’s centre and with councils and hospitals.

The lectures and assessment tasks will enhance your knowledge and experience of the Early Years, through teaching and discussion on a wide range of topics; from child development and learning to international perspectives and professional practice.

Alongside lectures, you will learn on the job through participating in placement activities. Therefore, you are required to have a position (paid or voluntary) in an Early Years or Primary School setting.

By the end of the course you will have the knowledge to work within and support a variety of Early Years and Primary School settings. Alongside this comes an increased understanding of relevant legislations and curricula, the importance of providing high-quality care and education to young children, and an awareness of how you can enhance young children’s experiences to support them in reaching their potential.

The 2018 National Student Survey (NSS) which measures student satisfaction on courses had a NSS results of 100% for the FdA Early Years and Education degree.

The courses at University Centre Peterborough are studied in smaller class sizes compared with other universities, a typical class size is under 30 students.

Applicants are required to have gained a minimum of 400 hours work experience within a early years setting before starting the course. During the course you must participate in a minimum of 12 hours paid or voluntary placement every week during your studies.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: We acknowledge that the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on the availability of placement opportunities and for some applicants this may affect their ability to fulfil the entry requirement of completing 400 hours of pre-entry experience prior to commencing the course. We would like to reassure applicants that we will take this into consideration when reviewing applications and strongly encourage anyone with concerns that they are currently unable to fulfil the placement entry requirements to still apply for the course, where we can consider your experience on an individual basis.

48 UCAS points:

  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma (Pass)
  • A-levels (DD)
  • BTEC (PPP)
  • Cambridge Technicals (PPP)
  • Access to HE (45 credits)

Students who do not have the above qualifications can contact our admissions team on 01733 214466 or email admissions@ucp.ac.uk to discuss equivalent qualifications or relevant work experience.

You must have GCSE English language and mathematics at a minimum of grade C or grade 4.

We accept A-level General Studies and AS-levels when combined with other full qualifications.

If English is not your first language you will require a recognised Level 2 English language qualification or an IELTS score of 6.0 (with 5.5 minimum in each skill) or an equivalent English Language qualification.

An enhanced DBS check is required.

An interview may be required before an offer can be made.


We can accept a wide range of overseas qualifications and use UK NARIC to compare qualifications. For advice about overseas qualification conversion call the Admissions Office on 01733 214466 or email admissions@ucp.ac.uk.


To find out more about UCAS tariff points and how they work, visit ucas.com/tariff-calculator. The tariff points for qualifications can be added together. We accept a wide range of qualifications such as A-levels, BTEC, Cambridge Technicals, International Baccalaureate (IB), NVQ Level 3, Access to Higher Education, Scottish Advanced Highers and Level 3 Apprenticeships.


APCL relates to learning completed through an earlier course of study. If you have previously completed a course which is relevant to your proposed course you should make this clear when you apply. For this to be eligible for consideration you must be able to provide certification, which shows your success in a final assessment for that course. Learning must be completed in the last five years or further evidence of updating will be required. Simple participation in a course or an attendance certificate is not sufficient.


We offer students flexibility in their studies, by recognising learning they may have completed elsewhere before they apply. The Accreditation of Prior Learning process ensures that we can take this into account when determining the modules you must study. It is important that you identify any relevant prior learning when you apply. If your previous study specifically relates to modules on the course you wish to undertake we may approve a reduced programme of study, thus shortening the time it takes to obtain your award. Where this relates to learning completed through an earlier course of study, this is called Prior Certificated Learning, and where learning has been achieved through relevant work or experience, this is referred to as Prior Experiential Learning. Claims must be approved before you commence a course.


It is important to understand that the APEL process does not award academic credit for experience alone, but for learning which can be shown to have been achieved through that experience. Students are required to prepare an individual case for the credit arising from their learning experiences. This normally means that a student receives support in the preparation of a portfolio, which evidences their claimed exemptions for entry. This portfolio of evidence is then submitted for assessment and the possible award of academic credit. Alternative methods of assessment of evidence may be available but needs to be discussed with the Admissions team or Course Leader.

You must take modules worth 120 credits at each level of the course. Each module is worth a specified number of credits.

Year one for full-time students (Level 4)
  • Play, Health and Wellbeing: The Reflective Practitioner Role (30 credits)
  • Practitioner Research of Children and Young People (15 credits)
  • Academic Skills in Education (15 credits)
  • Child Development and Learning (30 credits)
  • Work-based Research: Environment and Practice 1 (30 credits)
Final year for full-time students (Level 5)
  • Safeguarding and Risk Management of Children and Young People (30 credits)
  • International Perspectives of Child Learning (30 credits)
  • Inclusive Practice and Diversity in Learning (30 credits)
  • Work-based Research: Environment and Practice 2 (30 credits)

A typical 15 credit module is 150 hours which includes 36 hours of tutor led delivery and 114 hours of recommended independent study.  A typical 30 credit module is 300 hours which includes 72 hours of tutor led delivery and 228 hours of recommended independent study.  A full-time student should expect to undertake 30 additional hours per week during term-time.

When studying this course at University Centre Peterborough, we will timetable your lectures as one full day a week over two semesters per year.

We are able to offer this convenient timetabling to our students as we are a smaller institution so we can timetable our staff and resources more efficiently.

Over the duration of your course, teaching will be delivered by the following methods:

Year one for full-time students (Level 4)
  • 50%     Lectures
  • 25%     Seminars
  • 25%     Workshops
Final year for full-time students (Level 5)
  • 50%     Lectures
  • 25%     Seminars
  • 25%     Workshops

There are two semesters per year and each semester is up to 15 weeks which includes up to 12 teaching weeks and 3 assessment weeks.

If studying full-time you will be in classes, seminars and tutorials for approximately 15 hours per week and will spend the rest of your time in independent study and extra-curricular activities including work placement if not embedded in your course. We recommend that full-time students allow an additional 30 hours per week for additional study.

The campus is open Monday to Friday throughout the whole year and open until 9pm from Monday to Thursday during term time. You will also have 24/7 access to a virtual learning environment (VLE) with e-books, journals and abstracts plus teaching resources and interactive tools.

Timetables are available at least one month before registration and you can refer to the academic calendar for examination weeks and resit periods.

The days of the week you study may change each year and in some circumstances one of the full days might have to be split into two half days, but we aim to keep these as full days where possible.

Throughout the duration of your course you will be assessed by the following methods:

Year one for full-time students (Level 4)
  • 60%     Coursework
  • 40%     Group Activities
Final year for full-time students (Level 5)
  • 60%     Coursework
  • 40%     Group Activities

We will provide, by the beginning of the first week of each semester, a current module guide with all the information you need for each module, including details of assessment tasks, the deadlines for these tasks, the required format and any relevant guidance.

Formative assessment opportunities are written into all module plans to provide students with on-going feedback.  End of semester assessments will have formative opportunities in weeks 9 or 10 of the semester.  In addition revision sessions will be held in week 12.

When a student has achieved 120 credits at level 4 and 120 credits at level 5 they become eligible for a foundation. The award classification is determined by calculating the credit weighted arithmetic mean of the module results for all modules at level 5. The following classifications are determined by the above calculation:

70%+         Distinction
60-69%     Merit
40-59%     Pass
0-39%       Fail

A student who has achieved FdA Early Years and Education may choose to apply for the level 6 BA (Hons) Education Studies Top-up course as a new student in order to achieve a second qualification. On achievement of 120 credits at level 6, their final BA (Hons) degree classification will be by calculating the credit weighted arithmetic mean of the module results for all modules at level 6 only.

Applicants must be working in or have access to a suitable children’s environment (paid or voluntary) and commit to working a minimum of 12 hours paid or voluntary placement every week during your studies (for 24 weeks per academic year).

In both years you will undertake Work Based Research modules based on your work placement.

The CACHE Licence to Practice is incorporated into the FdA Early Years and Childcare course to enhance your employment opportunities and support you in obtaining a wide variety of roles within the Early Years sector. This includes roles within a nursery, primary school setting, children’s centre and with councils and hospitals.

Students could receive two qualifications on completion of the two year course - FdA Early Years and Education from University Centre Peterborough and the CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator).

After successful completion of the FdA Levels 4 and 5, you have the opportunity to complete the BA (Hons) Education Studies (Top-up) course to obtain a full honours degree with a further year of study.

Just some of the future careers for graduates after completing the course include:

  • HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant)
  • Playworker / Play Specialist
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Early Years / Primary School Teacher (on completion of Top-Up year and QTS)
  • Education / Nursery Management

Benita Mclachlan

The course leader for the FdA Early Years and Education course a University Centre Peterborough is Benita Mclachlan.

When you have chosen a course to study at University Centre Peterborough, your next step is to make an application.

All FULL-TIME APPLICATIONS must be made to UCAS via a web-based tracker system – www.ucas.com (the institution code for University Centre Peterborough is P56).

All PART-TIME APPLICATIONS can be submitted directly to University Centre Peterborough. You can download and complete the following form then email to admissions@ucp.ac.uk, or send it through the post, or visit us in person.

Before you apply, please check that you meet the entry requirement which is listed on the course information pages.

If you have any questions about making an application contact the Admissions Office on 01733 214466 or email admissions@ucp.ac.uk.

When to apply

We advise you to make an application for your chosen course as soon as possible to secure your place. We will process your application within 1 to 5 working days so you know if you have been successful and received an offer.


  • Applications for the majority of courses will be made by 6pm on 15th January 2020.
  • If you have not made your application by this date you can still apply to University Centre Peterborough at any time afterwards.


  • If you missed the first UCAS deadline, you can still apply through UCAS Extra from 25th February to 5th July 2020.
  • This also gives you the opportunity to add University Centre Peterborough as an additional choice if you have used all five choices and are not holding any offers.


  • From 6th July 2020 you can apply via UCAS through Clearing.
  • This is open to those who have not yet applied or students who have waited until they have received their grades. However, you do not need to wait until you receive your grades before applying through Clearing.
  • If you have applied and been accepted at another university and want to change the course to study, you still have the opportunity to change to study at University Centre Peterborough.
  • If you don’t get the grades you expected, don’t panic. Just contact University Centre Peterborough during Clearing and we will let you know very quickly. We are used to helping students at this time of year so you can feel assured that you receive the best advice and support.

Application drop-in sessions

  • If you would like help or have questions about your application, then you are welcome to come to arrange an apppointment to meet with a member of the Admissions team. Simply contact the Admissions Office on 01733 214466 or email admissions@ucp.ac.uk.
  • If you would like us to help you with submitting your UCAS application, please ensure you bring along copies of your qualification certificates, have a Personal Statement prepared (email it to admissions@ucp.ac.uk prior to your visit or bring it on a USB device), and a debit/credit card to make an online payment for the application.

Types of offer

When you make an application, you will receive one of the following offers:

  • CONDITIONAL OFFER: You will have to meet certain conditions before the start of the course (such as achieving your exams with a certain grade). We will specify these conditions when making you an offer. When you achieve these grades your place will then be confirmed.
  • UNCONDITIONAL OFFER: You already meet the entry requirements for the course (i.e. you have achieved the grades already) and we are happy to offer you a place without conditions.
  • DECLINE: Unfortunately, we are not able to offer you a place at this time. We will advise you why you were unsuccessful on this occasion and we can give you advice on alternative courses for progression.

Applicant days

  • We will be holding Applicant Days for new students in March and April 2020.
  • These are open to students who are holding a Conditional Offer or Unconditional Offer and give you the opportunity to meet other students, academic staff and participate in subject sessions.
  • If you are still deciding on where to study then these days can be a great chance to see if studying with us is right for you.

Key Facts

Institution code
Accredited by:
Anglia Ruskin University

University Centre Peterborough

Duration and Delivery

Full-time 2 years (1 full day a week over two semesters per year)

Start Date
September 2020

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for full-time undergraduate students starting in 2020/21 will be £8,000 per year, which is lower compared with many other universities.

There may be additional costs for this course which are not covered by the tuition fee.

Additional Notes

Click here for terms and conditions 2020/21 including our complaints policy.

Register your interest

FdA Early Years and Education

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