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Early Years Foundation Degree FdA

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code:


  • Level:


  • Duration:

    2 years full time

  • Starting:


  • Fees UK:

    Full Time: £9,250
    Part Time: £1,465 per 20 credit module

  • Location:


Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries
0300 303 2772

TEF Gold. Teaching Excellence Framework.


This course will give you sound theoretical and practical knowledge including children’s rights, child health and wellbeing, family and cultural contexts, and the principles of inclusive practice. It is made up of both taught and work-based elements through which you can apply your knowledge to real work contexts.

Updated 14/05/2021


  • 100% overall student satisfaction, NSS 2020
  • For those already working in an early years setting
  • Delivered as day release
  • Specialist focus on young children
  • Allows you to work while studying
  • On successful completion you can apply to top-up your qualification to a full honours degree
  • HP Laptop and software included with this course for eligible students.*  (*See eligibility criteria, terms and conditions apply)

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Course Content

  • This course has been designed to contribute towards achieving the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goal: SDG4 Quality Education.

    This Foundation Degree in Early Years recognises your knowledge and experience as a practitioner working with young children and babies from birth to the age of eight. It can also be the first step towards gaining a BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies and subsequent progression to Early Years Teacher Status (0-5), Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or an MA in Social Work.

    This short film explains more about the course:


    The focus of this course is to give you an understanding of a variety of contexts relating to young children and their families, with sufficient appreciation of reception and Key Stage 1 so that you can plan transitions effectively.

    Our tutors are experienced professionals from a variety of fields within education, health, inclusion and social care. You will study the Early Years Foundation Stage in some detail, to develop your theoretical knowledge and critical analysis skills.

    Throughout the course, we promote the importance of children’s rights, their family and cultural context and the principles of inclusive practice.
    We recognise that students on the FdA are usually experienced practitioners returning to learning, so a key focus for the first year is developing your academic writing and study skills.

    In the second year, we emphasise the collaborative aspects of early years practice, particularly looking at inter-agency co-operation. You will be assessing and recording children’s development in an early years context, planning and managing sessions, creating Individual Education Plans and so on.

      • Module code: EYS1110
        Status: Compulsory
        This module will prepare students for academic study on the Early Years Foundation Degree and will support many aspects of their work-based learning. It will encourage a reflective approach by making links between theory and practice helping students to develop and improve their own performance and support them in managing their time effectively.
      • Module code: EYS1111
        Status: Compulsory
        This module provides an introduction to the development of children and young people with particular reference to the early years of childhood. Students will gain the underpinning knowledge necessary to enable them to develop a holistic understanding of all aspects of young children's development as well as techniques for observing and recording in the workplace which will support all other studies on the course.
      • Module code: EYS1112
        Status: Compulsory
        This module enables students to gain the knowledge and skills to promote a holistic approach to child health and an understanding of the role of parents and the community in the promotion of child health; this underpins multi-agency approaches to work within a variety of early years settings.
      • Module code: EYS2109
        Status: Compulsory
        This module builds on and extends Professional and Academic Development from level 4 and helps students develop the skills and competences required for effective professional practice decision making teamwork and leadership and prepares students for further progression to leadership roles.
      • Module code: EYS2110
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to explore children as active learners. It builds on previous modules by examining theories of learning and play and how these are translated into practice. Students will gain the underpinning knowledge of pedagogical documentation necessary to understand the significant role of play in children?s development. Other features include the role of the adults how to liaise with parents and early years professionals to support learning and help children through periods of transition. A focus on current curricular frameworks and the importance of planning and managing play and learning opportunities will be integral to the module.
      • Module code: EYS2111
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to develop students' knowledge of children's rights multi professional work and the legal and policy framework underpinning these. It will develop essential skills and knowledge necessary for safeguarding and protecting children from abuse in multi professional contexts.
      • Module code: EYS2112
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to give students a sound understanding of the issues relating to children developing in a diverse and evolving society. There will be a focus on the practical implications for the inclusion of all within early years settings.
  • Participants must be in employment in an early years setting for at least 16 hours a week and have at least a year’s experience of work in early years contexts. They must also have a positive reference from their employer or head of Early Years setting. They will have appropriate levels of numeracy and literacy to support children and have an NVQ level 3 in early years or related subject or equivalent qualification. A typical offer would be DEE at A Level or MPP at BTEC, in addition to having a C/4 or above in GCSE English and Maths (or in an equivalent qualification such as functional skills).

    For information on how to apply to study with us, please see our How to Apply page.

  • 2021/22 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 21/22 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • UK – Part Time: £1,465 per 20 credit module
    2020/21 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 20/21 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK and EU Full Time: £9,250
    • UK and EU Part Time: £1,450 per 20 credit module
    Additional Costs

    During the programme you may have the opportunity to join a study trip. Previously, students have visited Hungary to immerse themselves into different kindergartens. Typically, the cost of this trip will cost no more than £400. Students normally allow an additional £100 – £250 for their expenses.

    Scholarships and Bursaries

    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

  • On successful completion of the Early Years Foundation Degree FdA, you may be eligable to apply to top-up your qualification to a full honours degree with our Early Childhood Studies (Top-Up) BA (Hons).

  • At the University of Northampton, everything we do, from funded trips to paid internships, is to give you everything you need to make a difference when you leave.

    If you join this degree at Northampton you will receive a laptop when your course begins. The laptops are built to a bespoke custom specification ideal for use in the seminar room, collaborative group work or studying at home.

    To check out the full list of perks visit our Student Perks page.

  • How often do I come on to campus?

    This is a two-year, full-time course, with taught sessions one day per week, starting in early September.

    Are there opportunities abroad?*

    This year a group of Early Years students had the opportunity to visit a European country with their tutors to immerse themselves in different types of kindergartens. One of our students, Amy shares her story.

    How am I assessed?

    There are no exams on this course. Instead, assessment is continuous, through practical and audio visual projects, presentations and essays.

    *All trips subject to national and local Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions. See our situation updates page for more on the University’s response to Covid-19

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Careers and Employability

This degree is excellent preparation for careers in an Early Years setting. Foundation Degree graduates typically go on to become leaders or managers of nurseries. You have the option to top-up to a full honours degree in Early Childhood Studies and continue onto a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), Early Years Teacher Status course or the School Direct route into teaching.

The Foundation Degree in Early Years can open up a variety of careers.

Early Years News

The status of early years practitioners has moved several steps up the professional ladder, thanks to a network of experts that includes a University of Northampton (UON) lecturer.