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St Mary's University

Early Years Education FdA

Start date


UCAS code



2 years

UCAS points


The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023: Top 10 for Student ExperienceThe Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023: Top 5 for Teaching Quality

This is a work-based early years degree, on which you'll attend St Mary's one day a week whilst employed in work with children and young people for at least half of the week (in either a paid or voluntary capacity).

  • Attend St Mary's University one day a week throughout this work-based course. For those wishing to enrol in September 2024 classes will be held on Monday and the course will start on Monday 9th September 2024.
  • Progress on to the BA Hons in Primary Education QTS Work Based Route degree programme

Our Early Years foundation degree gives those already working in education the opportunity to gain a vocational qualification through part-time study.

The course provides opportunities for people working directly with children, or those working in other educational support roles, to build their knowledge and experience through study at higher education level. The degree, which will help to enhance your understanding of your current professional role, can be completed in a minimum of two years part-time study.

This course aims to build self-confidence in the workplace and at home. The current emphasis on the development of the school workforce as a whole has been one of the driving forces behind this degree. 

Early Years Education will open up a range of opportunities in the education sector, especially within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Why St Mary's

Successful completion of this early years degree leads to the award of a foundation degree in Early Years Education.

There is then an opportunity for you to progress to one of our enhancement undergraduate degrees:


Carolyn Porter

Programme Director - Work-Based Route Programmes

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Course content


The modules listed below are the modules that were available to students in the 2023/24 academic year and are illustrative of what may be offered for 2024/25. 

Please note: it is possible that a module listed on the website will not be able to run due to reasons beyond our control. For more information please refer to our course information disclaimer.

Entry requirements

We are committed to recruiting trainee teachers who have the 'ability to work in a way that promotes the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.' The interview process will cover the suitability of applicants to work with children and young people.

An A Level, NVQ Level 3 or equivalent is required. 

You must have been employed in a primary school or an Early Years Foundation Stage setting (in either a paid or voluntary capacity) for a minimum of 2.5 days per week for at least one year. You will need to continue to be employed in this capacity during the programme.

List of free level 3 qualifications available to eligible adults

The UK government website has a list of places where students can find colleges that offer free level 3 qualifications which in turn will allow them to apply to St Mary's.

We will make you an offer if you are within the tariff band range and you meet subject-specific requirements (where applicable).

For undergraduate programmes we will take into account subjects studied at Level 3, your GCSEs (or equivalent) profile, relevant non-academic achievements outlined in your personal statement, references, and your motivation for study.


UCAS points


GCSE grade 4/C (or equivalent) in English Language is also required. 

We offer GCSE equivalency tests for those who need to improve their GCSE grades.


We are committed to recruiting trainee teachers who have the 'ability to work in a way that promotes the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.' The interview process will cover the suitability of applicants to work with children and young people.

Head teacher supporting statement

Your head teacher will need to complete the Supporting Statement Form in order for us to confirm your place on the course. We will notify them of your application, but feel free to send them the link.

UCAS Personal statement support

Create your UCAS personal statement through our online builder and we'll email you a copy of your completed version at the end.

Further Information

For more information about entry requirements please email

Fees & funding

Tuition fees





Funding Information

*Please note: tuition fees are subject to an inflationary increase each year, meaning if your course runs over more than one academic year you may pay an increased fee for each subsequent year of study. Tuition fee increases for returning students will be capped at the higher of 5% per annum or the rate of Consumer Price Index inflation in the United Kingdom.

For information about financing your studies - please check the fees and funding section.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme.

Additional costs could be incurred depending on optional modules chosen and other projects undertaken.

For further information about additional costs please see our additional costs webpage


Find out more about our range of scholarships and bursaries available to undergraduate students.

Living costs

A guide to your living costs has been created by our Student Funding Team.

Accommodation costs vary depending on whether you opt for an en suite room and on-site catering. Take a look at our accommodation options and the prices you can expect to pay.

How the degree is taught

Contact time - 84%

Independent study - 16%

*Contact time includes 74% of guided learning

Teaching methods

You'll be taught on our beautiful and historic campus located in Twickenham, London.

The course is taught using a range of teaching methods including presentations, discussions, small group work, observations and practical work-based activities.

You are expected to bring your own work experiences into the discussions and to relate this to the academic theories to which you will be introduced.

A virtual learning environment will support you throughout the course with an appropriate range of resources. Tutorials will be used throughout the programme to support your learning experience.

Class sizes are no more than 36 students per group.

Assessment methods

All assignments are designed to develop your knowledge, understanding and use of transferrable skills in teaching children, linking the theory with the practical. 

A range of assessment methods are used through the early years degree. These may include both group and individual presentations, practical visual presentations (posters, leaflets, 3D display, use of green screen) essays, case studies and portfolios.


We adhere to the university’s policy of providing feedback on assessments within 15 working days.

Career opportunities

Who should study a foundation degree in early years?

If you're currently in a career in early childhood education this early years foundation degree will be suitable for you. This includes anyone working as:

  • Teaching assistants
  • Student Learning Assistants (SLAs)
  • Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs)
  • Early Years or Special Educational Needs Practitioners

This early childhood studies course supports practitioners who wish to progress further with their own studies and future employment within education. This includes roles as becoming an early years teacher, as well as other early years jobs.

Early years jobs

Early Years TeacherEarly Years Room LeaderEarly Years Unqualified TeacherEarly Years Teaching AssistantReception Teaching AssistantEarly Years Nursery workerEarly Years PractitionerEYFS Practitioner

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