FdA Early Childhood Studies - Bath Spa University

Early Childhood Studies


Foundation degree

Key facts

FdA Early Childhood Studies
Taught by
University Centre Weston
Course length
Two years full-time
UCAS codes
Institution Code: B20
Course Code: X315
Campus Code: C,WESTON

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our foundation programmes. See ‘Interested in applying’ for more information.

Learn the key principles of childcare and undertake a substantial placement in the early years sector.

  • Embed theory into practice by combining academic study with work placements.
  • Benefit from an innovative range of assessments that ensure effective recognition of your skills.
  • Learn from a lecturing team that maintains strong links with regional early years education providers.

Due to Covid-19, we have made some changes to teaching and learning for the 2020-21 academic year: we have blended high-quality virtual engagement with in-person teaching on campus when possible. Blended learning will continue to some extent in the 2021-22 academic year and we will continue to keep the situation under review in light of ongoing Government guidance. If you’re planning on joining us in September 2021 we will communicate with you about specific details of how your course is taught nearer the time.

This course offers an exciting pathway for those wishing to work with young children in educational settings.

You'll combine academic study with work-based learning, and undertake a variety of work placements in settings such as nurseries, reception classes, children’s centres and special educational needs facilities. You'll also develop an understanding of the theory and principles that underpin good practice in the early years sector.

"This degree helps you understand the challenges of childcare and gives you the confidence to overcome them. Applying the theory you are taught to practice is a valuable way of gaining experience."

Jemma, Early Childhood Studies (Foundation Degree) graduate

What you'll learn


This course combines work-based practice with academic study. You'll attend lectures and undertake a work placement in a suitable early years setting, leaving you well-placed to either embark on your career immediately or continue your studies on a related Honours Top-up degree.

You’ll gain a grounding in the key theories of child development and learning, alongside studies in regulations including the English Early Years Foundation Stage and Safeguarding. The programme’s distinctiveness also stems from its discussions on ethical, environment and holistic learning considerations in a childhood context.

Many students on this course aspire to further and postgraduate study and teaching roles, and you’ll also undertake a substantial individual project on a topic of interest to develop your higher academic research and writing skills.

Foundation degrees are Level 5 qualifications equivalent to the first two years of a full Honours degree.

Course structure

Year one

  • Curriculum and pedagogy: linking theory and practice
  • Introduction to early child development
  • Reflective practice in action
  • Supporting young children’s holistic health and wellbeing

Year two

  • Contesting childhood
  • Research in early childhood
  • Supporting children with additional needs
  • The child, family and society

How will I be assessed?

You'll be assessed via a combination of practical exams and coursework, with an assessment breakdown of 10% practical exams and 90% coursework. There are no written exams on this course.

How will I be taught?

You're also taught via a combination of lectures, seminars, workplace practice, presentations, case studies and group workshops. UCW’s Higher Education Library Plus (HE.LP) team also delivers a series of sessions on degree-level research and academic writing to all first-year students.

This course also has a work experience element totalling 250 hours.


Field trips

You’ll be invited to attend optional day trips and longer residential visits at an additional expense. Students from this course recently visited The Gambia.

Work placements, industry links and internships

Work-based learning is central to studying at UCW, and this course features a compulsory work experience element totalling 250 hours.

You'll also benefit from the expertise of expert guest lecturers. Students from this course were also recently invited to attend an Early Years Research Conference at UCW.


Students who pass this course often choose to progress to the one-year BA (Hons) Top-up degree in Early Years Education at UCW.

Graduates of this course are also qualified to seek management positions in the early years sector and may also pursue related careers in areas including child protection, community projects, family liaison or play therapy.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

This course is taught at UCW’s Knightstone Campus in the centre of Weston. Students on this course also have full access to the brand new learning facilities and extended opening hours on offer at the Winter Gardens on Weston seafront.


Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are no longer eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate.

UK students full time

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £8,500
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

2023/24 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2023
Year 2 Published Jan 2024
Year 3 Published Jan 2025

International students full time

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 N/A
Year 2 N/A
Year 3 N/A

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 N/A
Year 2 N/A
Year 3 N/A

2023/24 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 N/A
Year 2 N/A
Year 3 N/A

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

A minimum of CDD at A Level, or a BTEC Extended Diploma at MMP, or a related Access to Higher Education Diploma, or equivalent. Students with only two A Levels or alternative qualifications will be considered on an individual basis. Applicants are also required to attend an interview.

Interview and portfolio guidance

We invite a number of applicants to our interview days. You’ll asked to complete a short written task, and you’ll have an individual interview with a member of the programme team. We’re looking for your motivation to study the course, and also evidence that you keep up-to-date with developments in the sector outside of the Level 3 curriculum. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask any questions you have.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the apply now button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk

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