early years care and education student choosing a picture book
Mode of Study
Part-time, Full-time
3 years part-time, 2 years full-time (Stanmore only)
Start Date
September 2020


If you want to take your career as an early years professional to the next level, we’ve got the perfect course to get you there.

This Foundation degree (FdA) in Early Years Care and Education is for current and aspiring early years practitioners who want to get professional recognition with a university-level qualification. You’ll work with professionals to learn skills and knowledge that’ll serve you in a rewarding career helping children to realise their potential.

The 3-year course is part time and has around 4 hours a week of teaching in term time. So you can complete your studies alongside your job. 

After the course, you'll be more effective in your current role as an early years professional. You could also go on to do a Bachelor's degree such as our BA (Hons) Education Studies or use your Foundation degree to do training that leads to Qualified Teacher Status such as Early Years Teacher Training.


You can study this course us at our partner colleges – Alton CollegeCity College Southampton or St Vincent's CollegeStanmore College also offer this course full time over 2 years. While studying at our partner colleges, you can access our student support services and community including study support, the Students' Union and our library's online resources.

91% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2019)

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

What you'll experience

On this Early Years Care and Education course, you’ll:

  • Develop your skills and knowledge to become an effective early years professional, through practical activity and the study of theories and contemporary issues within education
  • Learn in supportive study groups, alongside other Early Years professionals from different backgrounds
  • Study alongside your existing role, whether you’re in a general or special educational needs setting, in a school or other education institution
  • Be taught by staff with heaps of experience, using dynamic and relevant teaching methods to help you get the most out of your studies
  • Discover practical ways to put the knowledge and skills you learn to work
  • Have the option to begin the course in year 2 if you already have sufficient experience or qualifications
  • Study at one of our partner colleges: Alton College, City College Southampton, St Vincent's College (part time) or Stanmore College (full time)

Wherever you choose to study, you’ll be a student of the University of Portsmouth, so you’ll have access to all of our facilities and support.

Careers and opportunities

Completing this Foundation degree opens up many career options.

What can you do with an Early Years Care and Education FdA?

You could progress to a relevant Bachelor's degree, such as BA (Hons) Education Studies. You could also go on to do teacher training through PGCE, SCITT or Early Years Initial Teacher Training programmes.

After you finish the course, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

What you'll study on this FdA Early Years Care and Education course

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits. You'll study modules worth 80 credits a year in the part-time mode.


Core modules in this year include:

  • Curriculum planning and legislation 
  • Inclusive practice in the early years 
  • Practice and pedagogy

Core modules in this year include:

  • ICT - Early years and development 
  • Safeguarding children 
  • Use of information in decision making 
  • Working with families 

Core modules in this year include:

  • Cognitive and language development
  • Practitioner based enquiry 1 & 2
  • Social, emotional and mental health development

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • group activities
  • seminars
  • tutorials

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to course events in the evenings and at weekends.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • case studies
  • reflective reports
  • essays
  • presentations
  • group work

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Entry requirements​

FdA Early Years Care and Education entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • A minimum of one Level 3 qualification, for example a relevant Early Years NVQ. Applicants are to be working in either a voluntary or paid relevant educational setting for a minimum equivalence of one day a week. 

See full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

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

Selection process
  • All applicants will need to attend an interview.

​Course costs

Tuition fees

Please contact Department of Student and Academic Administration on +44 (0)23 9284 5259.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees. So you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £100 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Contact our Housing Support Team if you need help and advice about accommodation.


How to apply

To apply for this course at your chosen location, use our online application form:

Our courses fill up quickly, so submit your application as soon as you decide which course you want to study.

Not quite ready to apply?

Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.


To start full-time at Stanmore College in 2020, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code - X310
  • our institution code - P80

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

Our courses fill up quickly, so submit your application as soon as you decide which course you want to study.

Not quite ready to apply?

Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.


Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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