Foundation Degree

3 years

£3,750 per year

Student Loan Compatible

Mon, Aug 31st, 2015


Apply Now

Guide to applying

Search again

You may also like:

FdA Early Years, Playwork and Education

Anglia Ruskin University VLE

Course overview

This Foundation degree provides those who are already working with children with an opportunity to develop professional understanding, knowledge, and key skills while still working. The course enables practitioners within the children's & young people's workforce e.g. early years practitioners, teaching assistants and play workers access to higher-level qualifications.

This degree will appeal to you if you have an interest in gaining in-depth understanding of how opportunities of learning influence growth and development within different age-ranges and settings. You will explore aspects of physical, social, emotional and cognitive development and current policies and practices, using examples drawn from the UK and elsewhere.

To foster a sense of the growing links between childcare, playwork and education now delivered in a range of settings, many lectures are taken in common with students from other disciplines. This practice provides opportunities to recognise and value your shared experiences and expertise, with fellow students. Other lectures, seminar and tutor groups will be unique to the Early Years, Playwork and Education students.

The focus is very much on gaining theoretical understanding and the professional work-based skills required to succeed within Early Years, Playwork and Education contexts, and on giving you the skills required to continue to develop in order to meet the demands of a fast-changing environment. At the end of the course opportunities exist for progression onto a full BA Hons top-up programme.

Additional course information

On successful completion of your course you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of principles and practice underpinning the integrated approach to the widening children's workforce and how they have developed
  • Demonstrate an understanding of Early Years, Playwork and Education, play and school based value and belief systems, including those relating to anti-discriminatory practice, equality of opportunity and safeguarding
  • Plan, develop, implement and evaluate the curriculum and pedagogy for children and young people, including those with special needs
  • Evaluate and discuss roles, norms and cultural aspects relating to the role of the family and the adult (including the student's own professional role) in children's and young people's development and learning
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current and emerging theories and principles relating to the development of children and young people, the links with play and its value in development
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the integrated nature of the Children's Workforce and how that impacts on a range of professional roles and service provision.

Each mode of learning is 3 years part-time, running from September to December and January to May.

Online learning - online discussions, tasks and independent research to support the content of the modules. This online involvement would require 20-30 hours participation per week. You will work individually and with your colleagues in discussion and sharing good practice. This degree will appeal to you if you have an interest in young children's learning and development.

The emphasis is on work-based learning and will concentrate on supporting the underpinning activities you undertake in your workplace. You will be supported by a tutor and colleagues.

Course detail

Level 4 core modules

Learning and Development
Foundation Degree students entering higher education will need specific study skills to enable you to maximise your learning potential and take advantage of opportunities available both in the academic setting and the workplace. The module is intended to be both preparatory and supportive - building a strong foundation for learning and later development.

Play, Health and Well-being
This module explores the links between lifestyle factors such as diet and activity level and health outcomes. You will examine play, health promotion campaigns and initiatives, and their very latest impact in policy and research. With opportunities to reflect upon your own attitudes toward health and wellbeing you will consider the role that practitioners play in supporting children and their families to develop life-long positive approaches to their own health and wellbeing.

Researching Childhood
This module aims to support you in your exploration of the child's world by providing you with an active understanding of the research process. Through an exploration of the qualitative and quantitative paradigms, and the methods used in research, you will develop an understanding of the importance of the link between research and practice in early years education.

Work-based Learning 1
In this module, you are expected to demonstrate a degree of autonomy in the management of your learning. You will analyse and evaluate relevant theoretical underpinning and interpret information and evaluate argument.

Level 5 core modules

Supporting Children's Learning This module is about the ways in which children play and learn, and the means by which adults can mediate and support their experience. The emphasis is upon bringing together theory, practice and research in order to understand the active ways in which children play and learn; reflect upon experiences offered to children in different types of settings; and think through optimal ways of enriching childhood and facilitating holistic development.

Safeguarding Children
This module will enable you to develop an informed understanding of the complexities inherent, both past and present, in the notions of abuse, protection and prevention. Through engagement with a relevant and diverse literature, you will develop your awareness of the challenges presented by incidences of actual or suspected abuse, as expressed in existing legislation and policy frameworks.

Embracing Diversity
This module introduces a key ethical approach to the childhood studies, and an area which you need to incorporate into your thinking if you are to be successful contributors to any setting offering services to children and young people. Disability, differences and special educational needs will be explored in relation to the debates on inclusion and exclusion, needs and rights, and the importance of seeing every child as an individual.

Work-based Learning 2
You will be encouraged to continue your exploration of your professional/occupational practice, along the strands developed previously, as a source of learning. You will be expected to demonstrate a greater degree of autonomy in management of your learning and demonstrate a more detailed knowledge of relevant theoretical underpinning and be able to analyse and evaluate both information and argument.


There are no formal written examinations. Each module will be assessed using methods such as short presentations, assignments, reflections on observations or work-based tasks. A mentoring programme and regular tutorial opportunities will support you in the course work.


You will have access to Anglia Ruskin University's extensive digital library. This means that you can download all the learning materials you need, enabling you to study whenever and wherever suits you. You will also be able to visit our on-site libraries in Cambridge and Chelmsford.


You will have access to a suitable children's and young people's working environment.


Work placements

As a Foundation degree, all modules contain elements that are either work related or work based or both, including two modules of work-based learning.

Associated careers

This award will equip you for a career in childcare and education as a senior practitioner. It is a nationally recognised award for Early Years practitioners offering progression routes onto an Honours degree.

Career Advice

Our Employability Service is here to help give you the best chance of landing the job you want. We’ll help you improve your skills and bulk up your CV to improve your career prospects.

As a distance learning student, you’ll still benefit from help and advice on CV writing, interview techniques, job hunting, and general careers advice. 

To find out more please visit our careers advice page.

Entry requirements

Main requirements:

  • Level 3 Childcare Qualification
  • GCSE grade C or above in English Language
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.0 ( Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University

Alternative qualifications accepted:

  • UCAS Tariff points acquired from BTEC Level 3 Diplomas are accepted
  • Access to HE Diplomas at overall Pass grade are accepted
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 24 points is accepted
  • UCAS Tariff points from the Irish Leaving Certificate are accepted
  • UCAS Tariff points from Scottish Highers are accepted
  • UCAS Tariff points from Scottish Advanced Highers are accepted
  • 120 UCAS Tariff Points from A level (or equivalent)
  • Appropriate Level 3 Integrated Qualifications Framework (IQF) Qualification (CWDC) with current or recent experience in childcare.
  • Level 2 English qualification (GCE, GCSE grade C or above, CSE grade 1 or Level 2 Adult Literacy).
  • Access to a suitable children's and young people's working environment. A minimum of 400 hours working in a suitable children's workforce environment - this is flexible and the breadth of students' expertise/experience will be considered.
  • Commitment to the work experience component.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Entry requirements listed are for September 2015/January 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

Please note we do not accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they are combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.


Anglia Ruskin University VLE