early years care and education student choosing a picture book
Mode of Study
Part-time, Full-time
2 years full-time (Stanmore only), 3 years part-time
Start Date
September 2019


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. You can study at one of our partner colleges in Alton, Chichester, Eastleigh, Gosport, Southampton or Stanmore. (Stanmore College also offer this course full time over 2 years.)

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.

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

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.

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 degree course

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

Units currently being studied

Core units in this year include:

  • Curriculum Planning and Legislation
  • Inclusive Practice in the Early Years
  • Managing Individual and Group Activities
  • Perspectives of the Early Years Environment

Core units in this year include:

  • ICT - Early Years and Development
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Use of Information in Decision Making
  • Working with Parents

Core units in this year include:

  • Cognitive and Language Development
  • Practitioner Based Enquiry
  • Social and Emotional 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 units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Learning support

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 mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.


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 University and 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​

Entry Requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • A minimum of one Level 3 qualification, for example a relevant NVQ. Applicants are to be working in either a voluntary or paid early years setting for a minimum of 12 hours per week. To have at least one years experience working in an early years environment. Adult Literacy and Adult Numeracy level 2 or GCSE Mathematics and English language at grade C or above, or equivalent. Applicants who do not have Mathematics and English level 2 will be assessed as part of the application process. Formal qualifications, experiential learning and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) are also considered.

See the 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

Selection process
  • All applicants are subject to interview.

​Course costs

Tuition fees

Students at franchise colleges: 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.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

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

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 £75 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.


How to apply

Apply for this course using 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.