FdA Early Years Childhood Studies

Our Foundation Degree in Early Years Childhood Studies could be your chance to progress your career while developing your academic skills and knowledge. Mostly work-based, the course aims to combine early years and children’s learning with the practical experiences you encounter in the workplace.

FdA Early Years Childhood Studies

Course details

If you’re currently working with young children in early years education or if you’re taking on a substantial voluntary role in the sector, our Foundation Degree in Early Years Childhood Studies could be just what you’re looking for.

The course aims to provide a solid foundation in early years education and integrate this knowledge with your real-life experiences in the workplace. You’ll be able to apply what you learn to practical situations from your working life. You can then use the experience to reflect on how it’s possible to improve the services you provide to the children in your care and their families.

During your studies, you’ll have the opportunity to develop your leadership skills and broaden your practical and theoretical early years knowledge. At the end of the course, we hope you’ll emerge with the confidence and the skills to take on additional responsibilities at work, as well as consider the possibility of further study – such as our BA (Hons) Early Years and Childhood Studies (Top-up) degree course.

  • UCAS points: 64
  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: FdA
  • Duration: 3 years

Course highlights:

  • The course is work-based, giving you the opportunity to apply your newly acquired knowledge in your work environment, putting children and their parents at the heart of your learning.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to develop leadership skills and broaden your practical and theoretical early-years knowledge.
  • After successfully completing this course, you could take your studies to degree level with our BA (Hons) Early Years Childhood Studies (Top-up) course – which is available part-time at the University or full-time at Accrington and Rossendale College.
  • The teaching staff are professionals who have worked in the early years sector and have substantial knowledge and experience in the field.

Key features:

  • You’ll be encouraged to develop critical awareness of current issues within the childcare sector.
  • Early years employers are involved with monitoring and evaluation of the programme, both as workplace mentors and as students on the course.
  • The programme is designed around the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children’s Workforce, which is an external reference that ensures skills learnt meet a commonly accepted standard.
  • The course has been developed with the possibility of flexible delivery, to meet the needs of both you and your employer.

Entry requirements

  • UCAS points: 64
  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: FdA
  • Duration: 3 years

Your Level 3 subjects must include a childcare-related subject; for instance, a BTEC Extended Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development. You should also have four GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) in any subjects.

If you don’t have the above qualifications, but possess considerable relevant vocational experience in the early years sector, then we’ll be delighted to consider your application.

You’ll also need employment or a substantial voluntary role in the early years sector, for a minimum of two days per week.

You'll be required to attend an interview as part of the application process.

This course involves working unsupervised with children and/or vulnerable young people and adults and you must gain an Enhanced Disclosure certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before starting your studies. Charges are payable to cover the cost of the DBS Enhanced Disclosure application and annual registration with the online Update Service. Find out more

If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details. Find out more

Career opportunities

Our Foundation Degree in Early Years Childhood Studies is designed to provide you with a strong foundation in the theories underpinning all fields of the early years sector, including play, care, health and education.

This qualification aims to develop your skills in communication, time management, team working, critical analysis, negotiation, problem solving and dealing with difficult situations. We’ll support you to develop your skills as a reflective practitioner and leader in the work setting or advance your existing career in the early years sector.

What can I do with this qualification?

Upon successful completion of this course, you can undertake a variety of careers including working in children’s centres, nurseries and primary schools, and other early childhood care and education settings. Some of the typical roles include early years teacher, nursery nurse, family support worker, learning mentor, teaching assistant and youth worker.

You may choose to go on and specialise within a particular area, such as special educational needs, or progress on to our BA (Hons) Early Years Childhood Studies (Top-up) course.

Alternative career options

  • Counselling
  • Occupational therapy
  • Mental health
  • Social work
  • Teaching and education
  • Health promotion
  • Mentoring
  • Armed forces
  • Community support
  • Care home management
  • Health services management
  • Child protection
  • Children’s nursing
  • Educational psychology
  • Speech and language

Professional recognition

Our FdA Early Years Childhood Studies was established in 2003 and is highly regarded by employers. The programme was originally endorsed by the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC). This professional body no longer exists and the UK government is currently in discussions with the sector regarding a new professional body and recognition.

Fees & funding

No fee information is currently available, please contact Student Data Management on 01204 903059 or SDMenquiries@bolton.ac.uk for more information

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

How to apply


You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or admissions@bolton.ac.uk


International applications are not possible for this course

As an international student you are not allowed to study this course because of the restrictions on your visa.

We offer a wide range of full-time courses in lots of different subjects, many of our courses start in September and January. If you would like to see what courses are available please visit our Course Search.

Teaching & assessment


Modules listed below are a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules as part of the course.

  • Study Skills and Personal Development Planning
  • The Developing Child
  • Facilitating Children's Learning
  • Inclusive Practice
  • Social Policy for Early Years
  • Learning in the Digital Age
  • Developing Reflective Practice
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Managing Sessions with Children
  • Research Perspectives
  • Independent Study

Teaching, learning and assessment

Each module begins with classes that introduce the course content. We then explore how to apply these concepts to workplace scenarios. In this way we help you to learn to apply your new found knowledge in practice. Tutorials form part of each module and you’ll receive support for your independent work. In addition, the Practice Trainer will develop your professional practice through observations in the workplace, feedback and one-to-one discussions.

A variety of assessment methods are used throughout the course, including essays, presentations, case studies, activity plans, reflective accounts, critical evaluations and, in the final module, an independent study related to an area of your practice.


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (100%)
Level Two Coursework (100%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (30%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (70%)
Level Two Guided independent study (35%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (65%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • Course type:
  • Start date:
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
  • UCAS points:
  • Duration:
    3 years

Contact us

Sandra Shaffi
Programme Leader
Email: S.Shaffi@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903728

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Email: enquiries@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903