Early Years Foundation Degree FdA

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code:


  • Level:


  • Duration:

    2 years full time

  • Starting:


  • Fees UK 22/23:

    Full Time: £9,250
    Part Time: £1,500per 20 credit module

  • Location:


Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries

0300 303 2772


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 28/06/2022


  • 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, Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or an MA in Social Work.

    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.

    Please note the modules shown here relate to the academic year 22/23. The modules relating to the academic year 23/24 will be available from June 2023.

      • Module code: EYS1012
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to enable students to develop the underpinning knowledge necessary to understand the role of health in a child?s holistic development and inter-agency approaches in Early Childhood.
      • Module code: EYS1120
        Status: Compulsory
        This module introduces students to ethical principles and practice in the study of Early Childhood Education and Care. Students will be introduced to ethical procedures when working with children and families.
      • Module code: EYS1122
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide an introduction to the development of children with detailed reference to Early Childhood theories. Students will gain the underpinning knowledge necessary to enable them to develop a holistic understanding of all aspects of young children's development that will support all other studies on the programme.
      • Module code: EYS1124
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to develop students understanding of public health issues and the importance of identifying health needs of local populations to improve children?s health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. Students will interpret public health data and use the knowledge to inform their practice to improve overall health for children and families and holistic child development.
      • Module code: EYS1125
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to support student?s development as reflective practitioners. They will apply reflective approaches to their professional practice by making links between theory and practice. This will enable them to develop and improve their personal, academic and professional performance.
      • Module code: EYS1126
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to prepare students for academic study on the Foundation Degree in Early Years 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 professional and academic performance.
      • Module code: EYS2113
        Status: Compulsory
        Thr purpose of this module provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of children's aesthetic development. Students will be introduced to a range of creative and therapeutic approaches to working with children. Connections will be made with students practice and placement experinces.
      • Module code: EYS2118
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide students with an understanding of legislation, policy and contemporary issues related to living in a diverse society. Module content will focus on the features and impact of this diversity, allowing students to analyse a range of contemporary issues related to childhood.
      • Module code: EYS2119
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to focus on young children as active learners in the context of play. It builds on previous modules by examining theories of learning and how these translate into everyday practice. Understanding of the importance of factors influencing children?s learning and ethical research will be developed further.
      • Module code: EYS2122
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to develop students' knowledge of safguarding children with a specific focus on 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: EYS2123
        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.
      • Module code: EYS2124
        Status: Compulsory
        This module builds on and extends Professional and Academic Development and Developing as a Reflective Practitioner 1 to enable students recognise their own development of skills and competences required for effective reflective professional practice, evaluating strategic decision making, teamworking factors and change management.
  • 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 equivalent).

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

  • 2022/23 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 22/23 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • UK – Part Time: £1,500 per 20 credit module
    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
    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.

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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.