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On this work-based course you will attend St Mary's University 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.
Early Years Education video

Why study Early Years Education?

Early Years Education gives those already working in education the opportunity to gain a vocational foundation degree (FdA) by part-time study.

The programme 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 programme, 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.

Why St Mary's?

Successful completion of this programme 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 one-year enhancement undergraduate degrees:

Entry requirements

N/A UCAS points required

View alternative requirements

An A Level, NVQ Level 3 or equivalent is required. GCSE grade C or equivalent in English Language is also 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.

You will need to be employed in work with children and young people for at least half of the week (in either a paid or voluntary capacity). 

Please note: your headteacher 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.

For more information please email

Course content

Year one

  • Understanding the Early Years Core
  • Using and Applying Technology within the Early Years Environment Core
  • Professional Skills Development Part 1 Core
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development Core
  • Learning through Play in the Early Years Core
  • Working in Partnerships Core

Year two

  • Classroom Management in the Early Years Core
  • Communication and Language Literacy Core
  • Professional Skills Development Part 2 Core
  • Changing Policy and Practice in Early Years Education Core
  • Mathematics, Knowledge and Understanding Core
  • Physical Development 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.

Career opportunities

This foundation course is suitable for anyone working with young children, such as:

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

This foundation degree in Early Years Education supports people who wish to progress further with their own studies and future employment within education.

The Careers Service has more information on graduate careers and part-time work available during your course.

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.

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%
  • Work-based learning: 10%
  • Guided learning: 74%
  • Independent study: 6%

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, 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.

Fees and funding

2020/21 fees

  • Home/EU: £6,490
  • International: not available to international students

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

The UK Government has confirmed that EU applicants starting in 2020 remain eligible for 'home fee status' and can access financial support.

Additional costs

Your tuition fee 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 contact


A range of scholarships and bursaries are available to new foundation 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.


View all facilities

Further information

Teaching staff

Natasa Rutherford Natasa Rutherford
Senior Lecturer - Primary and Early Years Education

Visit the campus

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.

Early Years Education video

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

UCAS Application Timeline