Skip to content Exit mobile menu

Your next steps...

Open days

Apply now

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
  • Progress on to the BA Hons in Primary Education QTS Work Based Route degree programme

Why study Early Years Education?

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:

Follow us

Course lead

Carolyn Porter headshotCarolyn Porter
Programme Director - Work-Based Route Programmes

Return to sub navigation

Entry requirements

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.


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.

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.

Return to sub navigation

Course content

Year one

  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core

Year two

  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core

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.

Return to sub navigation

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.

The Careers Service has more information on careers and postgraduate study options available to Early Years Education students who have started their studies at St Mary’s.

Early years jobs

Some examples of job roles and areas of work for graduates of Early Years Education include:

  • Early Years Teacher
  • Early Years Room Leader
  • Early Years Unqualified Teacher
  • Early Years Teaching Assistant
  • Reception Teaching Assistant
  • Early Years Nursery worker
  • Early Years Practitioner
  • EYFS Practitioner
Return to sub navigation

How the degree is taught

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.

Teaching breakdown

Learning on the course is made up through a combination of:

  • Contact time: 10%
  • Guided learning: 74%
  • Independent study: 16%

Independent study is a key feature of your degree and is crucial to furthering your knowledge.

You will receive your timetable a week before teaching is due to start at the latest.

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 three weeks.

See how your final degree mark is calculated...

Compensated passes

Please refer to the information on compensated passes throughout your degree as outlined in the academic regulations.

Return to sub navigation


View all facilities
Return to sub navigation

Fees and funding

2023/24 fees

  • Home: £6,620
  • International: not available to international students

*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


A range of scholarships and bursaries are available to new undergraduate students. This includes:

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.

Return to sub navigation

Further information

Return to sub navigation

Visit the campus

Upcoming open days

Attending an open day is a fantastic opportunity to get an insight into what life is like as a St Mary's student. During the day you'll have the chance to:

  • Speak to current students to hear about their experiences so far
  • Meet your future academics to put a name and a face to who you'll be learning from
  • Take a tour of the University and the on-campus accommodation options
  • Get involved with activities going on across campus as you explore new surroundings

Book your place now

Campus tours

There are plenty of opportunities for you to explore the campus, even if you can't make it to an Open Day. We run campus tours every Wednesday at 12pm. If you'd like to join us for one of these tours please register your place for your preferred day.

Virtual tour

We know that for it's important to you to see where you'll be living and studying before you make your decision. However, we also know that for many people it's not always easy to make it to the campus.

That's why we've developed a virtual tour of campus, allowing you to explore that facilities and the beautiful views that we have to offer.

Launch the virtual tour

Return to sub navigation

UCAS Application Timeline