FdA Early Years Childhood Studies

Our Foundation Degree in Early Years Childhood Studies at Alliance Learning could be your chance to progress your career while developing your academic skills and knowledge. Mostly work-based, the course aims to combine early years and children’s learning with the practical experiences you encounter in the workplace.

Key information



Mode of Study:



3 years


Alliance Learning

UCAS points:


Start date:


Course Details

If you’re currently working with young children in early years education or if you’re taking on a substantial voluntary role in the sector, our Foundation Degree in Early Years Childhood Studies at Alliance Learning could be just what you’re looking for.

The course aims to provide a solid foundation in early years education and integrate this knowledge with your real-life experiences in the workplace. You’ll be able to apply what you learn to practical situations from your working life. You can then use the experience to reflect on how it’s possible to improve the services you provide to the children in your care and their families.

During your studies, you’ll have the opportunity to develop your leadership skills and broaden your practical and theoretical early years knowledge. At the end of the course, we hope you’ll emerge with the confidence and the skills to take on additional responsibilities at work, as well as consider the possibility of further study – such as our BA (Hons) Early Years and Childhood Studies (top-up) degree course.

  • The course is work-based, giving you the opportunity to apply your newly acquired knowledge in your work environment, putting children and their parents at the heart of your learning.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to develop leadership skills and broaden your practical and theoretical early-years knowledge.
  • You’ll have access to university e-learning resources, an extensive e-library and the support of university librarians.
  • As an off campus student you also receive the support of a dedicated off campus team and resources, to help make you truly feel part of the university.
  • After successfully completing this course, you could take your studies to degree level with our BA (Hons) Early Years Childhood Studies (top-up) course.
  • The teaching staff are professionals who have worked in the early years sector and have substantial knowledge and experience in the field.
Key Features
  • Alliance Learning is a new, dynamic local partnership focussing on early years provision with the University of Bolton.
  • A link tutor provides academic communication between Alliance Learning and the University of Bolton academic school, so that the experience you receive as an off campus student is equivalent to an on campus student.
  • You’ll be encouraged to develop critical awareness of current issues within the childcare sector.
  • Early years employers are involved with monitoring and evaluation of the programme, both as workplace mentors and as students on the course.
  • The programme is designed around the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children’s Workforce, which is an external reference that ensures skills learnt meet a commonly accepted standard.
  • The course has been developed with the possibility of flexible delivery, to meet the needs of both you and your employer.
Professional recognition

Our FdA Early Years Childhood Studies was established in 2003 and is highly regarded by employers. The programme was originally endorsed by the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC). This professional body no longer exists and the UK government is currently in discussions with the sector regarding a new professional body and recognition.

  • 40 UCAS points. Please see our guide to the UCAS Tariff for examples of how to achieve these points.
  • Your Level 3 subjects must include a childcare-related subject; for instance, a BTEC Extended Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development. You should also have four GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) in any subjects.
  • If you don’t have the above qualifications, but possess considerable relevant vocational experience in the early years sector, then we’ll be delighted to consider your application.
  • You’ll also need employment or a substantial voluntary role in the early years sector, for a minimum of two days per week.
  • You'll be required to attend an interview as part of the application process.
  • This course involves working unsupervised with children and/or vulnerable young people and adults and you must gain an Enhanced Disclosure certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before starting your studies. Charges are payable to cover the cost of the DBS Enhanced Disclosure application and annual registration with the online Update Service.
  • If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details.
  • Please note that this course is subject to the University of Bolton's Fitness to Practise procedure.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.

Our Foundation Degree in Early Years Childhood Studies is designed to provide you with a strong foundation in the theories underpinning all fields of the early years sector, including play, care, health and education.

This qualification aims to develop your skills in communication, time management, team working, critical analysis, negotiation, problem solving and dealing with difficult situations. We’ll support you to develop your skills as a reflective practitioner and leader in the work setting or advance your existing career in the early years sector.

What can I do with this qualification?

Upon successful completion of this course, you can undertake a variety of careers including working in children’s centres, nurseries and primary schools, and other early childhood care and education settings. Some of the typical roles include early years teacher, nursery nurse, family support worker, learning mentor, teaching assistant and youth worker.

You may choose to go on and specialise within a particular area, such as special educational needs, or progress on to our BA (Hons) Early Years Childhood Studies (top-up) course.

Alternative career options

Foundation degree graduates can also use the qualification to enter a range of other careers, and for some of these roles, both relevant experience and/or postgraduate study may be required. Some of these careers include:

  • Counselling
  • Occupational therapy
  • Mental health
  • Social work
  • Teaching and education
  • Health promotion
  • Mentoring
  • Armed forces
  • Community support
  • Care home management
  • Health services management
  • Child protection
  • Children’s nursing
  • Educational psychology
  • Speech and language

Course fees

Home students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Home fee of £6,000 for the academic year 2021/22.

Important note regarding tuition fees for the 2021-2022 academic year: EU nationals who meet residency requirements (have settled or pre-settled status) may be eligible for ‘Home’ fee status. If you do not meet these residency requirements, overseas fees will apply. Irish citizens living in the UK or Ireland will be eligible for ‘Home’ fee status under the Common Travel Area arrangement. Please read the student finance eligibility 2021-2022 policy on www.gov.uk for information.

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

For 2021-2022 entry, the maximum government approved undergraduate tuition fee for UK students is £9,250 per year. The University is able to charge this fee subject to an approved Access and Participation Plan for 2021-2022 and its current rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework.


Click here for more information about the scholarships and bursaries available to University of Bolton undergraduate students.

For details of how to apply for this course, please choose your status from the options below:

You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or admissions@bolton.ac.uk

International applications are not possible for this course

As an international student you are not allowed to study this course because of the restrictions on your visa.

We offer a wide range of full-time courses in lots of different subjects, many of our courses start in September and January. If you would like to see what courses are available please visit our Course Search.

University of Bolton Group Partners

Bolton College
University Technical College
University of Bolton

The University welcomes applications from our group partners and progressing students so we try to make our application process as simple and as fast as possible. By selecting the link for your chosen course from the list shown below you will be taken directly to our online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this and ensure you upload all supporting documents such as certificates and your personal statement when you apply.

Please ensure when you are asked to add a contact email address you add your college/university email account address as well as your personal address. If you do not add your college address as your contact address we will be unable to identify you as a partner and you will be referred to apply via UCAS, which incurs a cost.

We look forward to receiving your application and you continuing your academic journey with us!

Each module begins with classes that introduce the course content. We then explore how to apply these concepts to workplace scenarios. In this way we help you to learn to apply your new found knowledge in practice. Tutorials form part of each module and you’ll receive support for your independent work. In addition, the practice trainer will develop your professional practice through observations in the workplace, feedback and one-to-one discussions.

A variety of assessment methods are used throughout the course, including essays, presentations, case studies, activity plans, reflective accounts, critical evaluations and, in the final module, an independent study related to an area of your practice.


The modules listed below may be a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules shown as part of the course.

  • Study Skills and Personal Development Planning
  • The Developing Child
  • Facilitating Children's Learning
  • Inclusive Practice
  • Social Policy for Early Years
  • Learning in the Digital Age
  • Developing Reflective Practice
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Managing Sessions with Children
  • Research Perspectives
  • Independent Study
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 100%
Level twoCoursework 100%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 30%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 70%
Level twoGuided independent study 35%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 65%


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up-to-date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason, we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Sandra Shaffi
Programme Leader, University of Bolton


+44 (0)1204 903728

Beccy Barnes
Partnership Manager, University of Bolton


+44 (0)1204 903263

Lauren Brophy
HE Co-ordinator, Alliance Learning


+44 (0)1204 696744

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton


+44 (0)1204 903903

Related courses

BA (Hons) Early Years Childhood Studies

Mode of study
3 Years
UCAS Points

The University of Bolton

FdA Early Years Childhood Studies

Mode of study
3 Years
UCAS Points

The University of Bolton

FdA Early Years Childhood Studies

Mode of study
3 Years
UCAS Points

Alliance Learning


Download the app for your smartphone from:

Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
RiSE pos rgb logo
TEF Silver QQA

Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
RiSE pos rgb logo
TEF Silver QQA