Early Childhood Development and Learning with Foundation Year BA (Hons)

Study level: Undergraduate
Foundation year
Student in the library wearing a 'raise them kind' sweatshirt.

The Early Childhood Development and Learning with Foundation Year BA (Hons) course aims to provide you with a solid grounding for building a career in early years provision.

Year of entry


CU Scarborough (Scarborough)

Study mode



4 years full-time
5 years sandwich

Course code


Start date

September 2023
November 2023
January 2024
March 2024

The information on this page is for 2022-23 entry and should be used as guidance for 2023-24 entry. Please keep checking back on this course page to see our latest updates.

Course overview

The strength of the course lies in preparing students, who are unable to follow the more traditional route onto a degree course in Early Childhood Development and Learning.

Students who successfully complete their foundation year will then progress onto the Early Childhood Development and Learning BA (Hons).

Success in this field demands creativity, empathy, logic and a great deal of knowledge alongside the ability to draw upon life experiences. As no two days are the same in this industry, this course focuses on policies, processes, best practices and practical learning to help you understand the key fundamentals of child development. Benefits include:

  • Opportunities to engage with students at other international universities and industry experts through initiatives like our Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) project2.
  • Conduct critical research with our highly-experienced staff.
  • Opportunity to take part in invaluable practical placements2,5 (if taking the Graduate Practitioner route).
  • Additional option to work towards obtaining Graduate Practitioner status in early childhood settings*.
  • Undertake an investigation into a topic relating to early childhood enabling you to make informed recommendations for future policy, research and practice.
  • You are encouraged to draw on your own personal experience and make links between your study at university, your personal experience and your professional practice in the field of early childhood.
  • You can explore a range of international perspectives on early childhood, which you can apply to your own research area.

*Subject to meeting all the competencies set out by The Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN), which includes securing and passing work-based assessed placements2. Successful completion of all modules (across all three levels) and assessed placements will lead to an Honours degree with Graduate Practitioner Competencies. Please check the ECSDN website for further information.

Why CU Scarborough

We offer a style of education which is flexible and designed to fit around your life, allowing you to benefit from a modern, forward-thinking higher education institution, reinforced by the quality and reputation of Coventry University. Wherever possible, we aim to provide career-focused courses, coupled with placement opportunities2 to help prepare you for the world of work. We are dedicated to making higher education accessible and enjoyable to everyone, so we keep our fees low and most of our courses cover one module at a time, so you have the opportunity to study topics in-depth and give assignments your full attention before moving onto the next.


  • The Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN)
  • Sector-Endorsed Foundation Degrees in Early Years Professional Association (SEFDEY)
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What you'll study

The foundation year aims to provide the skills and knowledge relevant for progression onto a degree in health, social work or social care in the statutory, voluntary or private sectors.

It sets a foundation for your journey to employment, creating great opportunities in health promotion and health development sectors through addressing health inequalities and tackling the damaging effects of smoking, alcohol, drugs and poor nutrition, in line with contemporary government initiatives.

Your foundation year is a common first year for other courses which could mean you will work alongside students doing similar courses to you which would widen your knowledge and exposure to other subject areas and professions. You may also have the potential opportunity to collaborate with other students, so you can share your insights and experience which will help you to develop and learn.

If you discover an interest in a specific subject you have studied, upon successful completion of your first year, you could swap degrees with another course in your common first year (subject to meeting progression requirements).

This course shares a common foundation year with Applied Psychology with Foundation Year BSc (Hons), Health and Social Care with Foundation Year BA (Hons), Primary Education and Teaching Studies with Foundation Year BA (Hons) and Public Health and Community Studies with Foundation Year BA (Hons).


  • The module is aimed at creating a culture of careful learning and self-reflection, where you will be encouraged to recognise the strengths and weaknesses and take ownership of your development. You will be introduced to a range of skills that will aid you throughout the programme and further study, such as time management, cultural awareness, resource management and interpersonal skills.

    You also have the opportunity to gain highly-regarded employment skills such as digital proficiency in Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint etc.), team management, communication, planning skills and more, alongside lectures on ethics, health and safety and technical skills, so that you receive thorough, full-circle training.


  • This introduction begins with exploration of health and social care services, roles and responsibilities of people working in this sector. You will understand the key influences that affect the provision and delivery of these services in UK contemporary society.

    This module also explores the role of multi-agency/disciplinary working, using real life situations to highlight the strengths and limitations of partnership working. A key part of working in health and social care is being able to assess the holistic needs of a service user and plan for their care using the care planning cycle. Concepts such as personalisation, empowerment, the Care Value Base, effective communication, equality and diversity, legislation, safeguarding and ethics will also be covered.


  • This module provides you with knowledge of the life processes in the body. In this exciting module, you will have the opportunity to undertake practical activities which require you to take measurements of the cardio-vascular system, the respiratory system and body temperature using non-invasive techniques.

    You will even investigate normal responses to routine variations in body functioning. Knowledge and understanding of the needs of service users, types of illness and disease is developed by exploring some of the more common disorders, their causes, symptoms and effects. Factors influencing changes in patterns of health and disease in a community are investigated and how the prevention of ill-health can reduce the occurrence of disease. Approaches and models used to achieve positive health in individuals are explored.


  • A sociological module, this topic focuses on developing your critical awareness of the impact social factors has on the life chances of individuals and groups in society. You will complete analysis of demographic changes, patterns of behaviour and lifestyle highlights of social groups. The inequalities in life chances of social groups has been a major focus of governmental, national and local initiatives following the release of the Black Report in 1980. You will begin to understand how social care compliments and supports the wider healthcare agenda. You will study the concepts of relative and absolute poverty and the impact of this within society. There will also be an opportunity to investigate domestic violence and depravation.


The second year has a child-centred approach, designed to introduce the key concepts and principles within childhood development and learning. Setting the framework for both academic and professional skills, you will look to gain an understanding of factors that impact upon learning and development from both individual needs to environmental influences for children between the ages of 0 to 8 years. Within the first year you will be introduced to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), alongside a number of other international curricula.

Students who successfully complete year two are eligible for a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Early Childhood Development and Learning.


  • This module examines fundamental core values and principles when working in early years settings, so that collaborative and supportive relationships are formed and sustained. You will develop an understanding of how effective communication is at the heart of early years practice. You will explore the importance of promoting inclusive relationships with children and families through equality, diversity and anti-discriminatory practice.


  • This module introduces the key concepts surrounding safeguarding, Adverse Childhood Experiences, resilience and wellbeing in the early years. You will learn evidence based neurobiological development and the importance of nurturing healthy lifestyles and behaviours. You will seek to develop an understanding of how external and internal influences can affect the ability of children to reach their full potential and gain knowledge of safeguarding policy and practice.


  • This module examines how the family unit has evolved over time and its impact on the developing child. You will explore the rationale for these social and economic changes and use this learning to analyse how the strength of a family can affect the development of healthy, happy and well-adjusted children. You will also study the role that home learning environments, family construction, parenting styles and cultural heritage play in shaping childhood.


  • This module focuses on advocacy for play and how adults can encourage children to become independent thinkers and problem solvers. You will explore why and how children play and the sensitivities. As an early years practitioner you should be instrumental in providing play opportunities to children, and therefore must understand its importance and the range of influences to promote quality and appropriate experiences for children.


In your third year, as the course progresses, you will continue to build on knowledge gained in year one to solidify core principles. Critical appraisal of childhood perception is introduced, alongside evaluations of diversity in development methods. You will analyse the role of statutory guidance for early years practice and legislation. Finally, you delve into the global sphere, interacting with students from international universities to understand global methods (subject to availability). This research is then used to compare different countries’ early years policies with the UK educational system.

Students who complete year three are eligible for a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Early Childhood Development and Learning.


  • This module examines approaches to the early childhood curriculum and how these curricula relate to a range of theories of learning and pedagogical approaches / practices.  We will encourage you to develop an understanding of early childhood education worldwide and how this is reflected in government policies and ideologies.  You will assess the value of different curricular and pedagogical approaches in promoting children’s learning and development and gain appropriate subject and pedagogical knowledge.


  • From Jean Piaget to Lev Vygotsky, theorists over time have developed different perceptions of childhood development. You will explore the evolution of teaching and learning methods in line with postmodern theorists and contemporary practices. This module is designed to develop your child theoretical knowledge and how it is rooted in children's social, cognitive and biological development.


  • The ethos of this module will be to look at early years for sustainable development, both as an active citizen and an educator, within the context of increasing consumption and diminishing resources. You will aim to develop conceptual knowledge about nature, the environment and sustainability in relation to contexts and theories of early years.  You will draw on literary, philosophical and scientific approaches to explore the relationship between education and nature.


  • This module is a desk-based research project that focuses on developing the analytical and personal skills required to research and assess children and families. You will learn a range of research methods such as qualitative and quantitative data, structured interviews, ethical research and observations.


There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur before your final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.


  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.


  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.


In the final year of Early Childhood Development and Learning BA (Hons) you will explore cultural diversification and management as well as delving into international perspectives of children. You will examine family structures and different environments, analysing and understanding diverse ethnic backgrounds and educational differences. You will be trained at an executive level, with the aim of learning the skills required to manage a nursery, including key components such as the recruitment of staff and the Management of Special Needs and Disabilities (SEND) requirements. By successfully completing year three you will be awarded a BA (Hons) degree in Early Childhood Development and Learning. If you also meet all the competencies set out by The Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN), which includes securing and passing work-based assessed placements2,5. Successful completion of all modules (across all three levels) and assessed placements will lead to a BA (Hons) degree in Early Childhood Development and Learning (with Graduate Practitioner Competencies).


  • With a critical mindset, this module will address issues regarding the effectiveness of policy and practice for the child and family around the world. Delving into wealth and poverty, child exploitation and the impact of conflict and migration on families, you will discuss how socio-economic and environmental incidents can affect the development of children.


  • This module supports the development of advanced professional skills and academic knowledge relevant to a graduate working in the Early Years Sector in the areas of leadership and partnership working. You will learn how the nature of leadership and management is examined within a theoretical context when leading and supporting others in practice within the Early Years Foundation Stage, uncovering issues associated with the changing early years workforce.


  • This module examines the concepts of inclusion, equality and diversity with reference to the experiences of some children in the early years. You will be involved in debating topics such as poverty, gender or ethnicity in order to consider how we might use different theoretical ideas and approaches to promote social justice and rights-based practice when working with children. Building upon understanding of inclusive practice, the focus is to develop your critical thinking skills within the early years setting as you examine and critique recent significant legislation and policy initiatives, reports and research.


  • This module is an accumulation of the theories, holistic knowledge and practices learned over the duration of the course compacted into a desktop research project of your choice. Choosing any subject covered over the course, you can work autonomously, conducting individual research.


We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

Your initial foundation year is focused on applied learning geared to high intensity teaching and study throughout the course. The delivery of course content is a blend of lectures, tutorials and online mediums.

After your foundation year, you will have the option to do either another three years full-time or another four-year sandwich course where you undertake a work placement or study year in a related field2.

Our teaching methods for the degree courses are varied depending on which course/modules you take, offering a number of teaching styles to suit the needs of our students, so in addition to lectures, we also utilise a blended learning approach, including online aspects, workshops and group work. We also operate an open-door policy, with additional availability via email and our current online learning platform, Aula.

Progression through the modules develops knowledge and skills, including communication (written and oral), study skills, research methods, project management, presentation and career development. We will also encourage you to consider your employability and/or entrepreneurial development.

Unlike traditional institutions, there are no end of year exams. Instead, learning is assessed through coursework and phase tests, which is more reflective of our learning model.

Teaching contact hours

The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 20 contact hours per week each year (excluding during placements and optional placement year). Additionally, you will be expected to undertake up to 30 hours of self-directed study, depending on the demands of individual modules.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, CU may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), CU may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2022/2023 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.

Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.


The learning outcomes of modules, assignments and projects will be clearly stated. Your work will be marked according to how well you achieve these learning outcomes and your final feedback will refer to each outcome, as well as providing an overall percentage grade.

Assessment methods vary and include, practical class and project performance, written practical reports, project thesis, oral presentations, tutorial tasks and assessments which take place at during or at the end of each six-week block.

Course Breakdown:

  • Coursework
  • Practical Assessment

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2022 entry.

40 UCAS tariff points. All Foundation courses require 5 GCSEs at A-C including Maths and English, and at least one A2 level or a BTEC equivalent qualification.

If you don’t fulfil the entry criteria your application may be considered on an individual basis, taking into account any work experience, other qualifications and/or any training you have completed. Speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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  • Is the student required to undergo a DBS check? Yes
  • Is the student required or likely to undergo a placement in a social and/or healthcare setting? Yes

Please refer to the full requirements in the disclaimer section5.

Are you eligible for the CU Support Scheme?

We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background.

CU Support Scheme

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each component area)

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

Speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Fees and funding

2023/24 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK TBC   Not available
International TBC   Not available

We pride ourselves on offering competitive tuition fees which we review on an annual basis. Course fees are calculated on the basis of what it costs to teach each course and we aim for total financial transparency.

For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see the University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of international scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


We spent £14 million on a new purpose-built, state of-the-art campus building in 2016.

It includes a library, IT suites, mock law court, engineering and science labs, cafe and lots of individual and group study spaces4. Next to us is Scarborough’s leisure village. The complex includes an Olympic legacy swimming pool, sports hall, fitness suite, all weather pitches and the new Scarborough Athletic football ground.

Careers and opportunities

During the degree part of your course, presentations, both in small groups (between 5 and 20) and individual, will also be used to ensure that students are effective communicators. This skill is valued by employers and vital for a career working with children in education or other contexts.

Reflective statements may also be submitted alongside a presentation to ensure that academic writing continues to be a focus throughout the course. All assessment will be designed to enhance student development, both personal, professional and academic, through the application of skills and the synthesis of theory and practice.

Opportunities to progress in your career during and beyond the course, with your study with us opening up a number of avenues for future career development in areas such as:

  • Teaching in early years and primary schools, educational leadership and management
  • Working in services relating to Inclusion and SEND, safeguarding
  • Children’s mental health, speech and language therapy, play therapy
  • Family support worker, social work
  • Early childhood education and care research, publication
  • Further studies in Early Childhood at postgraduate level

Where our graduates work

Graduates from previous Early Childhood Development and Learning BA (Hons) degree have gone onto work in:

  • Primary schools
  • Private day nurseries
  • Forest schools
  • Local authority
  • Further education colleges and schools
  • Child-minding

Further study

  • Early Childhood MA
  • Education MA
  • Leadership and Management MA
  • PGCE

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.


    Some of our degree courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.


    Satisfactory health clearance may be required. However, an enhanced criminal record disclosure will be required. As part of the health clearance checks you will be required to provide information about your immunity and vaccination status. You will also be required to provide information about your COVID-19 vaccination status. We therefore recommend that you are fully vaccinated including the COVID-19 vaccine. The information you provide will be used to determine your eligibility to go on placement(s). Placements are provided at the placement provider’s discretion. The University is therefore unable to guarantee the provision of placements or the location and type of placement offered.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2022/23 Contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the CU Group will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.